Julie Powell, the food writer who rose to prominence with her blog-turned-book-turned-movie, "Julie & Julia" — in which she tried to prepare all 524 recipes of Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" — has died at the age of 49, her publisher confirmed.
"It is with gratitude for her unique voice that we will now remember Julie's dazzling brilliance and originality. We mourn her loss with her husband Eric and her family," Judy Clain, Powell's editor and the editor-in-chief of Little, Brown, said in a statement. "We are sending our deepest condolences to all who knew and loved Julie, whether personally or through the deep connections she forged with readers of her memoirs. She was a brilliant writer and a daring, original person and she will not be forgotten."
The New York Times reported she died Oct. 26 at her home in upstate New York. Her husband, Eric Powell, told The Times the cause of death was cardiac arrest.
In 2002, while working a temp job and living in a small New York apartment, Powell came up with the idea to take an old copy of Julia Child's most famous cookbook and attempt every recipe, all in a single year, as an untrained home cook. She documented her experiment — the trials, errors and victories — on a blog for Salon.com titled the "Julie/Julia Project."
Powell's writing quickly gained a following. While she'd write about her adventures searching for hard-to-find ingredients and putting complicated meals together, Powell drew in readers with the bits of her personal life that she'd include.
"The stuff about my life was just kind of squeezed in there, but it became the thing that the readers of my blog were more interested in, or at least as interested in," Powell said in an interview with Salon in 2005. "The personal part made it more interesting for me, too, because the project became like the spine of my life, and everything else was built around it."
Three years after launching the blog, Powell collected the posts together into a memoir, "Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen," published by Little, Brown & Company. It later came out as a paperback titled "Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously."
The book sold well, and in 2009 it was adapted into the movie "Julie & Julia," starring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep, and directed by Nora Ephron.
Also in 2009, Powell published her second and final book, "Cleaving: a Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession," in which she discussed her apprenticeship at a butcher shop and the infidelities in her marriage.
She credited her blog for helping her to stop running away from making decisions, and trusting her choices.
"For me the idea of making my own choice and seeing it through to the end — even though there was no logical reason to do it — wound up being a freeing thing rather than a constraining thing," she told Salon in that 2005 interview.
Powell is survived by her husband, brother and parents.
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