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Book Club: Julie and Julia by Julie Powell

Buzz Book Club: Julie and Julia, Section Two

Hey Buzz Book Club readers! Welcome back! I hope you were able to round up a copy of Julie and Julia to read along with me. This is the section in which our writer gets down and dirty with some hard recipes to tackle. Can't wait to discuss!

But first, a note about how Book Club goes if you're new: Every week I'll suggest chapters to complete by the next post (which, in this case, will go up every Friday in November). In these weekly Book Club posts, I'll posit a few questions to prompt discussion in the comments section.

Of course, you are always welcome to read beyond the weekly chapters, but please don't spoil anything in the comments! After the jump you'll find some questions that struck me as I read this section.

The next assignment: Read from the start of the chapter titled "Sweet Smell of Failure" to the end of the book! Even though we've got Thanksgiving next week, I'll still post the last round questions on Friday — what better to discuss through your turkey haze than a book all about cooking, right?

To discuss the second section of Julie and Julia, in which we read from "The Law of Diminishing Returns" through "The Proof Is in the Plumbing,"


  1. OK, so in the first section, I was totally craving French food and digging all the recipes Julie was cooking. But this section is all about hoofs and things "en gelee." Are you still craving French food, or are you (as I was, frankly) a little grossed out?
  2. This section has about an equal amount of writing about food and writing about the other things in Julie's life (her job, Gwen, etc.). Which do you enjoy reading more?
  3. On a similar note, do you think you would have read this blog if you'd known about it while she was writing it?
  4. What did you make of the Gwen story in general? Do you agree with what Julie said to her?
  5. I was a little surprised that the dinner party, which started out seeming like a disaster, ended so well. Julie seems really stressed out in this section, but she doesn't seem to actually fail very much. Are you surprised by that? Are you glad she's getting through the book, or do you want more struggle and disaster?
  6. If you were Eric, would you be content to eat French food and do the dishes every night, or would you have your own supply of pizza and Hungry Man frozen dinners by now?
  7. Are you feeling a connection between Julie and Julia?
Join The Conversation
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
Also, the lobster bits totally did me in. I'm not a vegetarian, but there's no need to chop up a live lobster, and I couldn't deal with heating them to death either. In fact, the one and only time I've butchered a chicken myself I totally sat there apologizing while petting the chicken. It was a bit ridiculous.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
1. So grossed out at this point. For a while there I was, admittedly, thinking that this seemed easy. So you eat butter, cream, and lamb for a year. How hard can it be? But I couldn't eat the aspics. Cold meat jello? Ewwwwwwwwww. 2. I sort of like the intersection of life and food, but I'm not gonna lie, I like the food part better. 3. Yep. 4. I have a problem with the Gwen story, just like I have a problem with all stories that end in some woman sleeping with another man's husband. Granted, it is totally both of their faults, especially his, but if you know he's married you have a responsibility to just say no, IMO. Think how you would feel. I've been cheated way more than my fair share of times, and I can tell you, you'd feel AWFUL. 5. I like both bits. I'm glad she's succeeding, but the struggle bits were hilarious to me, mostly because I've totally had a breakdown over a recipe that was going badly before so I could relate. 6. I would definitely eat the French food, but have something on the side for the aspic nights. Then again, I would NOT do dishes. I don't do dishes, actually, it being the only chore that I actually hate and refuse to acquiesce to, especially if this weren't my project. But then, that's why I got an apartment with a dishwasher. 7. Myeh, I can't even tell. I don't read the JC interludes, nor do I care enough to look up things about her, so I have no idea of her life.
NatashaAlexis NatashaAlexis 8 years
Oh, and reesiekitty I loved the comment about the pudding. I remember one time I caught some on Julia Child's segments on TV and she dropped a chicken, and just said oh well and just moved on. I loved that she left that in! No one would do that now that everything’s all pre-prepared.
NatashaAlexis NatashaAlexis 8 years
Only 33 pages! Cutting it short for Thanksgiving I see. Thank you for commenting reesiekitty, we need more people in this discussion. Last week we only had two people who really commented on the reading, so please feel free to come back! 1. I feeling a little grossed out by the gelee, and I though the cutting out the marrow last week was bad! silly me. Oh, and the lobster, I don't think I could have done that, I would have cheated and bought mine dead already! 2. I really happy that she added stuff that was going on in her life I ended up liking that more this week than the cooking parts. Because, a whole chapter only on el gelee, I don't know if I could have handled that. I loved the part about the dungeon (p.161) to funny! 3. I would have read the blog, which reminds me I was thinking of seeing if all listed in her archives. Dose any one know? 4. Gwen story was both sad a hilarious, poor Gwen feeling like the only guy worth having that she could get would be married. Thats got to be crappy feeling. I'm not sure if I agree with Julie though, I would never give my girlfriend that kind of advice. Although I think in Gwen's case, she I think she needed to have some fun, and the guy has already screwed up the monogamy part of his marriage. Then again I don't know this couple, maybe their swingers, who knows! 5. Honestly I was a little bored with the dinner party, but I happy when she dose well. It gives me that odd illusion as a reader as if I have succeeded as well. 6. Yes, if I were living with Julie through the el gelee I would have picked up my on supply of pizza, Hungry Man and Amy's frozen dinners by now! Eric's a great husband for not doing that, I think it shows faith in Julie, by holding off till it really is a disaster to call for pizza. 7. I feel a little bit of a connection between Julie and Julia, but about the same as with any true fan. Oh and I was surprised to find I enjoyed the last italicized section.
infusedwithspice infusedwithspice 8 years
Wow Reesie, you can comment! I am not a chef and didn't go to cooking school, I just love to cook and bake so I was totally ready to get the book and get started until we got to the gelee section. My hubby is way into texture so I know I would be on my own there. I defintely lost momentum on wanting to prep those dishes. I do love reading about it all though and I totally would have been onto this blog, especially with any and all disasters. I love Food Network and cooking shows and stuff but every once in a while it would be great for them to admit that it doesn't always look like the front of Food & Wine magazine! I agree that her husband is pretty amazing which makes me love my husband even more because he would totally jump in wth me if I wanted to take on something like this. I feel the Julia/Julie connection- I am hoping that in the end Julie totally feels it too!
reesiekitty reesiekitty 8 years
I actually read this book a while ago and really loved it. I went to cooking school, but I don't cook professionally and Julia Child has always been one of my heroes. I think the chapter about things 'en gellee' is an awesome chapter just because Julie not only manages to make the stuff, but also gets other people to try it. I think this is the first chapter that seriously tests dedication to the project- for her and her blog readers!! I mean, its easy to love French food when it's all croissants and cafe au lait- but jellied calfs' feet or eggs in aspic are a lot harder to stomach- no pun intended :) 2) I like reading both parts equally, because cooking is a part of your/Julie's life. It isn't always easy to come home and make something and I really admired her more just for getting through it.I love reading the parts about her apartment!! 3)I would totally have read the blog! I was actually kind of bummed to find out about it only after it was over. 4)I have to back and reread the Gwen part, but I remember that I thought Julie was right to tell her that leaving to run off with that guy was crazy. 5)I think that sometimes we freak out the most, even though we're prepared for something. I like it that it all works out, because that was a big thing of Julia Child's. She said if you make a souffle and it falls, smile big, carry it out, and call it a pudding. When you do a lot of technical cooking procedures, they do get ingrained in your mind, like riding a bike and after a while you can do them better than you thought you could. I don't want Julie to have any more disasters than she can handle! 6) I think Eric is a saint. However, after really thinking this over, I think if I embarked on a huge project like this, my BF would wash the dishes and taste everything I made. Um, he would probably ALSO have the Hungry Man dinners and frozen pizza as backups though. 7) I totally feel the connection. When you look at pictures of Julia Child's first kitchen in Paris where she learned to really cook in a home, it is TINY. She had like 3 pans! I think we are just so spoiled this day with big kitchens and lots of space and specialty gadgets that we sort of forget that its ok to improvise and that disasters happen, etc. All the cooking shows on the food network only emphasize success - that if you try to make whatever Rachel or Emeril or whoever is making and it totally flops, you are a loser because they are constantly telling you that ANYONE can do this. I think Julia knew that cooking is really hard work and that sometimes you will still totally make a mistake and you just have to make the best of it. She also knew all about less than perfect kitchens, just like Julie.
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