Julie & Julia, Week 4

Welcome to the fourth and final discussion of Julie & Julia. (Available to download as an ebook or audiobook.)

Were any of you surprised that Julie was actually able to finish the challenge in a year? I was really surprised. I definitely thought she was going to get too discouraged and would eventually stop. I'm glad she finished the project, though. It's always so inspiring when people complete a big goal. 

This last section started with Julie attempting to make crepes. I couldn't believe how strenuous the whole process seemed. I was a little confused about how she was able to make crepes so effortlessly at the beginning, but then as she continued, she struggled. Do successful crepes rely heavily on a well-oiled pan? I did think it was fascinating that she oiled her pan with a piece of bacon. I have definitely heard of greasing a pan with bacon grease, but I've never heard of someone using a piece of bacon in that way. Since Julie mentioned that Julia Child used to fling crepes in the air on her television show, I knew I needed to find a video of Julia's crepe making process before I could really understand the chapter. Luckily, Smithsonian Magazine has a video of Julia Child making Crepe Suzette. Make sure you watch the video, so you can better understand why Julie had such trouble with crepes. 

What did you think about all of the attention Julie started getting from the media at the end of the challenge? It's crazy that she was interviewed by so many major publications. I find it hard to think that a blog could receive all of that media coverage in this day and age, but I guess things were different in 2002 and 2003. After reading about the CBS interview, I really wanted to find the video, but I was unable to. I did find an article that features a still photo from the interview, and the picture, although it's pretty grainy, did help me picture Julie's kitchen a little better. Although I couldn't find any cooking videos from Julie during the challenge, I did find a video from years later that helped me imagine how Julie would have looked as she cooked her way through the challenge. Check it out below if you want to get a taste of Julie's cooking style.

One thing that I did think was interesting was that Julie seemed to have a great experience with people leaving her blog comments. When she lamented the fact that she was turning 30, many people gave her encouragement through the comments section. And they encouraged her through the whole project. I don't usually read comments on the internet because they can be a little nasty, so I was surprised that she received so many positive comments. Do you think she got so many comments because it was still the early days of blogging and there weren't as many internet trolls around? 

Were you impressed by Julie's ingenuity when she described how she was able to cook with a flashlight under her chin when there was a blackout? Were you grossed out completely when she described how there were maggots under her dish rack? I think the maggots part was just horrifying. I really had a hard time reading after that section. I just kept thinking everything in her kitchen was probably tainted. What part of the book was the hardest for you to read? What was your favorite part? 

Julie kind of touches on the fact that her blog was a little polarizing. It was really popular, but her writing style and subject matter did draw some critics. One of her critics was Julia Child—a fact that Julie touches on at the very end of the book. If you want to read more about some of the criticisms for Julie's blog, check out this article on ABC News. Make sure you notice the comments that Julia made about Julie's project. 

At the very end of the book, Julie and her husband go to Julia Child's kitchen exhibition at the Smithsonian. Julie leaves some butter—a detail that I thought was pretty funny. I thought it was a nice homage to Julia. If you want to see the exhibit for yourself, check out this video.

What are your final thoughts about the book? Did you enjoy it? Do you think you're going to watch the movie after reading? Are you going to attempt any of Julia Child's recipes? If you enjoyed the book and are looking for more titles like it, check out this list I made. Let me know if you end up reading anything on my list!

I hope you enjoyed reading along with us this month! Make sure to leave a comment to let me know how you enjoyed the book. And make sure you join us next month as we read Five Feet Apart. I can't wait to hear from you in the comments section.