I loved Julie Powell’s first book “Julie and Julia” (which we all know by now thanks to the Meryl Streep and Amy Adams film) is about a woman who spends a year cooking from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child and blogging about it. What made Julie so irresistible to me was that she tried so hard. I loved her imperfections: her not so impressive job, her crappy apartment, her salty language, her penchant for TV and strong drinks. And I loved her husband, Eric and how much he cheered her on and believed in her and picked her up when she was falling apart.
Her follow up book: “Cleaving” centers around Julie’s apprenticeship in butchery. Much like Julie and Julia, we get the detailed and not so pleasant facts about carving up an animal: lots of organ meat talk, way too much information for me on the parts of a side of beef and the slaughter of animals. So I sort of skimmed through these parts. (Some of it was fascinating, and I admired her dedication to the craft). And I did find myself craving a steak so I can’t say it turned me Vegan.
In between the play by play of carving up a pig, the reader learns about Julie’s obsession with D. (D. should be for Dirtbag), who she cheats on Eric with for 2+ years and then mourns for him like a lovesick teenager. Eric knows about it and doesn’t leave her. Julie doesn’t leave Eric.
Instead, she leaves for the Argentina, the Ukraine and Tanzania, (a little “Eat Pray Love”-ish but not nearly as deep). Just when I was about to give up on finishing the book, it was kind of fun to learn about the Ukraine and the people of Tanzania.
I know Julia Child thought Julie’s language was a little too salty and she declined to meet her in person. I remember thinking that Julia was a little old fashioned. Now I think I am with Julia.