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Julie & Julia food writer Julie Powell dead at 49 after suffering a cardiac arrest: Early 2000s blogger’s attempt to cook the entirety of Julia Child’s famed Mastering The Art of French Cooking in a year became a best-selling book and movie

  • Powell’s Julie/Julia Project established her as one of the web’s first food bloggers
  • She wrote a best-selling book which was adapted into an Oscar-nominated film
  • Powell died at her home in Olivebridge, upstate New York, her husband has said

Food writer Julie Powell, whose blog about cooking every recipe in Julia Child’s 1961 ‘French Cooking’ book was turned into an Oscar-nominated movie, has died aged 49.

Powell rose to fame in the early 2000s when she began a blog about her attempt to cook every recipe in Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Volume 1.

The project established her as one of the internet’s first food bloggers and she went on to write the book Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen in 2005.

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The late writer and director Nora Ephron adapted the book into an Oscar-nominated feature film, starring Meryl Streep as Child and Amy Adams as Powell.

Julie Powell, whose hit Julie/Julia Project blog was made into a hit movie, has died aged 49

Julie Powell, whose hit Julie/Julia Project blog was made into a hit movie, has died aged 49

The Oscar-nominated movie starred Amy Adams as Powell and Meryl Streep as Julia Child

The Oscar-nominated movie starred Amy Adams as Powell and Meryl Streep as Julia Child

Powell died at her home in Olivebridge, upstate New York, on October 26 of a cardiac arrest, her husband, Eric Powell, told the New York Times.

Powell was born Julie Foster on April 20, 1973, in Austin, Texas.

Disillusioned with her low-level administration job after moving to New York and seeking a creative outlet, Powell launched her Julie/Julia Project in the nascent era of internet writing.

She detailed her kitchen adventures using spiky humor in a direct, diaristic tone.

The project involved cooking all 524 recipes from Child’s 1961 French Cooking classic from her tiny, broken-down apartment in Long Island City, Queens that she shared with her husband.

The self-deprecating drama of her mishaps and disappointments both in and out of the kitchen struck a chord with a crop of primarily Gen X readers. 

The book based on her successful Julie/Julia Project blog went on to sell more than 1m copies

The book based on her successful Julie/Julia Project blog went on to sell more than 1m copies

Powell died aged 49 after suffering a cardiac arrest at home in Olivebridge, upstate New York

Powell died aged 49 after suffering a cardiac arrest at home in Olivebridge, upstate New York

Meryl Streep, who played Julia Child in the book's film adaptation, was nominated for an Oscar

Meryl Streep, who played Julia Child in the book’s film adaptation, was nominated for an Oscar

The blog gained hundreds of thousands of views at a time when many people still used dial-up internet. 

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Within a year of launching on Salon.com, it had around 400,000 page views and thousands of regular readers.

The book which followed sold more than a million copies, mostly of the paperback version, which had the title Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously.

Powell’s project inspired scores of food bloggers who followed, its template and tone apparent in the later successful web and social media projects of cooks including Dorie Greenspan, Ina Garten, Deb Perelman and Alison Roman.

‘I was shocked to learn this morning of the passing of Julie Powell, the original food blogger,’ Perelman tweeted Tuesday under the account of her famous social media and cookbook brand, Smitten Kitchen.

‘Cooking through Julia Child’s books, she made Child relevant to a new generation, and wrote about cooking in a fresh, conversational, this-is-my-real life tone that was rare back then.’

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