Over 500 Recipes In 365 Days

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For some, whipping up a simple chicken dish might seem daunting. But that would not be the case for Julie Powell.

In the past year she has made all 524 recipes in Julia Child's classic, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking."

With the project complete, she will visit The Early Show Tuesday to talk about the culinary feat.

About a year ago, Powell was a secretary at the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., and she says she was a miserable, as well as a frustrated writer. The project, according to Powell, was as much about writing as it was about food.

She decided to take on a project as a creative outlet — a big one. She decided to cook all of the 524 recipes in Julia Child's 1961 classic "Mastering the Art of French Cooking."

She wanted to cook all the recipes within a year. She began on August 25, 2002, and finished one year later on August 25, 2003. Powell, however, did not cook in chronological order from Child's book. Powell says she skipped recipes in order to have variety in her diet. And she worked within chapters in order because they are designed to begin with simple recipes that build up to more complicated ones.

Powell had to make 11 to 12 dishes a week. On the weekends, she spends all her time in the kitchen and makes eight dishes per weekend.

As if cooking 524 recipes weren't enough, she also documented her endeavor on the Web site salon.com. She's developed quite a fan base and if she misses a day jotting down her adventures in the kitchen, they let her know they are not happy.

Powell says before beginning the culinary project, she was an enthusiastic amateur cook who thought taking the challenge would be a great way to teach herself how to cook. She chose Child's book because, Powell says, there's nothing to compare to it as far as giving a novice a foundation for cooking. Powell explains her project was born out of gratitude.

Powell says she is a writer and not a chef. So, she hopes to use the opportunity given to her to write about food.

Powell shared one of her favorite dishes, baked cucumber, on her visit to The Early Show.

She says it is a simple recipe that takes little time to prepare.

Baked Cucumber

Peel the skin off the cucumber and scoop out the seeds.
Then slice them into small sticks. Throw in some butter and spice and bake it for an hour.