Best-Selling Author Julie Powell Dead At 49

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Matthew Holloway Contributor
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Julie Powell the best-selling author best known for documenting her efforts to cook her way through the entirety of Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” and in so doing: inspiring the feature film  “Julie & Julia,” died Oct. 26 at the age of 49 at her upstate New York home.

Her husband, Eric, confirmed the author’s death to The New York Times. Eric Powell told the outlet that the cause of death was cardiac arrest.

Powell’s blog, which the film is centered around, began on in 2002, according to The New York Times. Powell, dissatisfied with and stressed by her life as an administrative worker in New York, dove headfirst into a quest to prepare all 524 recipes from the classic French cookbook co-written by one of the pioneers of TV cooking shows, Julia Child.

After finding success with a later memoir “Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen,” Powell went on to write “Cleaving: a Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession,” according to the outlet. (RELATED: ‘Pulp Fiction’ Star’s Son Dead At Age 25)

“I remember it being well-regarded, but not the juggernaut it became after the book. This was also pre-Slack, pre-Zoom, so as a team, a lot of people didn’t even know about it. And I think the people who read Salon weren’t seeking a woman writing about her home cooking,” Salon senior writer Mary Elizabeth Williams, who previously managed Open Salon, said.

Ashlie D. Stevens, Deputy Food Editor for Salon said, “it was exactly Powell’s wit and authenticity that drew in many readers to whom classic tomes like ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ did seem inaccessible. Powell’s blog, in turn, became a template for much contemporary food writing,” according to Salon.

“Her bond with Julia Child, as a fan and a cook, was unique and yet still relatable. Who knew better than Julie the joys and pressures of cooking those legendary recipes in the public eye? Who else would hear Julia’s voice in her head, as she put it, quite in the same way? Just as Julia changed cooking in the home from her own kitchen, Julie changed how we write about it from hers,” Salon Editor in Chief Erin Keane said, according to the outlet.

She is survived by her husband, brother and parents, according to the outlet.