Gourmet's 50 Women Game Changers in Food: # 50: Julie Powell

No doubt the name of our final game-changer is familiar; we've all either heard about or seen the movie Julie and Julia, based on the book, which was based on Julie's blog.

Fittingly, Julia Child was our first game-changer and so Julie Powell is our last. 

I want to thank Mary from One Perfect Bite for hosting this amazing and educational series.  I also want to thank all of you, who took the time to wade through extra long posts and comment when I know what busy lives you lead.

Good blog friend Val from More Than Burnt Toast has kept a list of everything we've done in these 50 weeks. Wow! I'm putting the link HERE so you can go back and check recipes. I'll also add it to my sidebar. Thanks, Val!

Researching the 50 women has been an extraordinary and enlightening experience and these women have inspired us to extend our comfort zones to include cuisines from around the world. It's also been fun meeting other bloggers and reading their take on the Game Changers and the recipes each has chosen to feature. I've been so impressed with all of them.
I sincerely hope that you've enjoyed meeting Gourmet's 50 women Game Changers too.   

Kudos to you, Mary! 


Julie Powell was born in 1973 and raised in Austin, Texas. She attended Amherst College, graduated in 1995 with a double major in theater and creative writing. With an eye for adventure Julie and her husband to-be, Eric, moved to New York City, where Julie  worked a variety of temp jobs. She and Eric married; he was an editor of 
Archaeology magazine.

During Julie's last job with the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (which was responsible for distributing funds post-9/11) she created a unique blogging project, "The Julie/Julia Project". This was a blog chronicling her attempt to cook all the recipes in Julia Child's famous cookbook,
Mastering The Art of French Cooking. This was a huge undertaking for two reasons: Julie barely knew how to cook an egg and she had a small poorly equipped apartment in Queens. 

Her blog audience slowly grew and it resulted in a book deal for Powell with Little, Brown and Company. Powell reformatted the work she had done on her blog and crafted the 2005 published book Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen . (The book was later retitled Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously)

Julie's popularity led to a movie deal for an adaptation of her story in 2009, making the movie we're all familiar with, based on her weblog. Julia Child was reported to have been unimpressed with Powell's blog, believing her determination to cook every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a year to be a stunt. Child's editor, Judith Jones, said in an interview:

"Flinging around four-letter words when cooking isn't attractive, to me or Julia. She didn't want to endorse it. What came through on the blog was somebody who was doing it almost for the sake of a stunt. She would never really describe the end results, how delicious it was, and what she learned. Julia didn’t like what she called 'the flimsies.' She didn't suffer fools, if you know what I mean."

Shortly after she finished writing Julie & Julia, in which she speaks adoringly of her "sainted" husband, Eric, Powell and her husband both had affairs that nearly destroyed their marriage. 

Powell's second book, Cleaving: a Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession details the effects on her marriage of the affair,  as well as her experiences learning the butcher trade. Powell calls her affair "the thing I used to pull my marriage apart for a while, but I do not recommend infidelity as a way of dealing with marital problems. It did turn out to be the thing that made us examine what exactly was going on and rebuild our marriage."

She and Eric are still together. They have no children. 
With her marriage on firmer ground, Powell is ready for a new challenge: She's writing a novel.

"Fiction was what I always wanted to write, but it's early days on that," Powell says. As for the story line, "food plays a big role. It's sort of about our various neuroses about food. My glib description of it is that it's a post-apocalyptic comedy of manners set in New York." 


This final post certainly gave us a multitude of recipe choices! All of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. :) I chose to feature a very simple dish, using an ingredient I love. Fresh, crisp leaves of Belgian endive are most often found in tossed green salads but also commonly used as a vehicle for dips. Unfortunately, it's a pricey little vegetable, but a little goes a long way. I add some endive to my salad every day. You'll find after 2 hours in the oven, the whole cigar-shaped heads result in a slightly bitter, yet buttery flavor and a silky texture. Braised endive, an easy side dish that goes beautifully with fowl or veal, gives you a chance to surprise your guests and it's great for the holidays, a welcome counterpoint to cranberry sauce and the sweeter side of the buffet table. 

Endives Braisees ala Flamande

From Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

12 endive -- wash & trim
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp butter

Arrange endives in single layer in casserole. Add salt, water, juice, and
butter. Spread waxed paper over to keep them moist and to prevent burning.
Cover and simmer slowly on top of stove for 20 minutes or until almost tender
and liquid reduced to half. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit over the endive. Bake in 325° oven for 2 hours or until pale golden and almost all liquid is gone.

Join Mary from One Perfect Bite and all the other participants in this fun series.


  1. Beautiful post, Barbara! It was a memorable and enlightening journey through the Game Changers!

  2. Bravo!! I enjoyed meeting some new food "characters" through your Game Changers posts.

  3. I enjoyed your posts on all the game changers, very informative and fun to read. Well done, Barbara! The endive dish looks delicious.

  4. Scrumptious! I could eat endives all the time.



  5. This endives dish looks stunning and delish!

    Choc Chip Uru

  6. This has been a great series, and I've really learned a lot from it. Thank you!

    I must admit that I didn't care for this book, nor for the way she portrayed herself. But I did enjoy learning a little more about Julia Child, who truly was a pioneer.

  7. Barbara, it has been such a pleasure to step through the list of game changers with you. I love the recipe you have chosen to end the series and will be back to see all that you feature as soon as your posts hit my reader. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Hugs and blessings...Mary

  8. Great job, Barbara. I've enjoyed the whole journey with you and learned much. I have a love-hate with Julie and feel some of what the great editor said in the quote. She came across as a bit of a creep sometimes. The movie softened it a bit because the actress has a natural sweetness but the movie belonged to Julia/Streep who just exploded on the screen... loved her.

    I enjoy braised endive. It really is a perfect side dish when you are doing a rich old fashioned main course. The slight bitterness cuts through rich sauces beautifully.

  9. Lovely endives, Barbara! I'll miss this group, but look forward to the next! Happy weekend.

  10. It is quite appropo to end this series with Julie Powell. What an interesting journey she has experienced. I would have never thought to braise endives. They look perfect for a side dish to a special meal.

  11. I have really enjoyed this series and am sad to see it end. I knew Julia did not approve of Julie. I enjoyed reading Judith Jones quote. While I loved the movie and laughed all the way through, I don't think Julie lived up to the reputation and the importance to the food world that the other 49 ladies did and was quite surprised she was included at all. However on the bright side, perhaps she introduced the great Julia Child to people who would have otherwise not known her.

    Braised endives, while a bit of an old world dish, are truly fabulous and something everyone should try.

  12. This HAS been a fun series. I have amazed at the different direction people have gone in when choosing recipes to represent each game changer ... it will be a real challenge to find another project that allows for such different posts!

    I've missed a few posts, but have so enjoyed the ones I was organized enough to post promptly!
    Thanks for all your insight, Barbara! Beautiful foods and beautiful posts!

  13. I'm sorry to see this end. It's been quite educational!

    I loved Julie's blog and read it back in the day. Loved her book about the blog, but wasn't impressed with her second book...

    endive looks wonderful!

  14. I love how you ended this! Belgian endive is not used enough. Parting is becoming sweet sorrow. I am glad to have met you and will continue to visit!

  15. What a wonderful post Barbara. Thanks for going on this journey with me.

  16. It's hard to believe you're a 50 already! Great series and another great post, Barbara. I've only made cooked endive once - with duck confit. It was amazing so I can imagine how delicious this would be.

  17. Your endive dish looks incredibly delicious! This has been a fun journey and am sad to see it end. It was great getting to know you through your blog.

  18. What a wonderful series, and what a fitting way to end. Loved learning about these inspirational individuals!

  19. Such a wonderful write-up on Julie...and delicious end-dish! I haven't had endive in a few years now (!?), but I'm thinking next time I do, it'll have to be this version. Look incredible! It's been great getting to know you through this series :D

  20. One dish I particularly like is braised celery. Another braised vegetable—this sounds worth trying. It's been a fun affair, and I hope to see you around in the future.

  21. This endive dish is the perfect way to finalize this culinary trip Barbara! Looks perfect!

  22. nice choice! i don't think i've ever eaten endive, but i do know this--people who pronounce it "on-deeve" drive me crazy! :)

  23. I'm so sad that the 50 Game Changers series is over! I suppose that it had to come to a close sometime. I've read the Julie/Julia book and loved it. Diidn't know that the title was changed. I hhave the hard back edition. The movie was marvelous, too, though mainly form Meryl Streep who is always amazing. Somehow the Julie plot didn't take off as well in the movie. I had heard about Julie's marital problems so it's great to hear that they've worked things out. The funny thing about her book is that he apartment in Queens was only a few blocks from where we used to live in Queens, so I recognized a lot of the references to local food shops. Small world!

    So Barbara, what's your next multi-blogger project? Can't wait to read all about it!



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