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Food is muse as writer cooks up success

by Dave Cathey Published: August 5, 2009
For someone who didn’t start in the kitchen until age 37, Julia Child’s culinary influence is truly remarkable. She was the Muhammad Ali of the kitchen, going about her business in her own way and garnering the affection of the world. Without her, there is no Food Network. Without her, there might not be public television as we know it.

While her good friend James Beard brought French cuisine into American restaurants, Julia Child brought it into American homes. Foreign countries have conquered France, but they’ve never been able to make friends with the French. Julia did.

Her love of France and its cuisine was captured in her first cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” The textbook-size tome included more than 500 recipes.

Julie Powell, a former Austin, Texas, resident in New York City, was on the verge of 30 and in a rut in 2002 when her husband suggested she start a blog. Unsure what a blog was or what to focus on, Julie turned to the copy of Julia’s masterpiece, which she’d stolen from her mother’s house.

The Julie/Julia Project blog was born: one year to prepare every recipe in the book and live to blog about it. The blog became a book called "Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen.”

The book, retitled "Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously,” is half the inspiration for "Julie and Julia,” a major motion picture that opens Friday.

by Dave Cathey
Food Editor
The Oklahoman's food editor, Dave Cathey, keeps his eye on culinary arts and serves up news and reviews from Oklahoma’s booming food scene.
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