Julie Powell, a bestselling author who chronicled her efforts to prepare every recipe in Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” which later inspired the movie “Julie & Julia,” died Oct. 26 at her home in New York. She was 49.
Her death was confirmed to the New York Times by her husband, Eric Powell, who said the cause was cardiac arrest.
Powell’s book was turned into a 2009 film directed by Nora Ephron, with Meryl Streep playing Julia Child and Amy Adams in the role of Powell herself.
CNN has reached out to the influential food writer’s publisher for comment.
“Julie & Julia” began as a blog on Salon.com in which Powell, seeking an outlet from her humdrum life as a temp in downtown Manhattan soon after 9/11, embarked on a home-cooking odyssey to successfully pull off all 524 recipes in Child’s classic French cookbook over the course of one year in her small Astoria, Queens kitchen.
The resulting memoir, “Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen,” came after the blog gained a loyal following that was eager to share in Powell’s successes and failures as she endeavored to prepare challenging dishes like Boeuf Bourguignon and a deboned duck for Canard en Croûte.
Since the success of that bestselling book, Powell went on to write one more in 2009, “Cleaving: a Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession.”
More recently, she returned to Salon earlier this year to write a series of commentary pieces about the Food Network series “The Julia Child Challenge.”
“She truly made her own lane,” Salon senior writer Mary Elizabeth Williams, who previously managed Open Salon, the platform that hosted Powell’s blog, said of the writer. “We were lucky enough to be the conduit.”
At the center of Powell’s blog, and later the acclaimed film that used it as a base, was the writer’s admiration for Julia Child’s cooking and way of life.
“Julia taught me what it takes to find your way in the world. It’s not what I thought it was,” Powell wrote. “I thought it was all about — I don’t know, confidence or will or luck. Those are all some good things to have, no question. But there’s something else, something that these things grow out of. It’s joy.”