Julie Powell (julie-powell) Thu 18 Sep 03 06:55
Now, I want to emphasize here that I haven't signed anything yet, so I don't really want to name the publisher yet (the jinxing superstition runs deep.) My agent is Sarah Chalfant at the Wylie Agency, and she's brilliant -- also British, a nice perk. Of course, for all the obscene money they're throwing my way, it looks like after taxes and credit card debt, I'll have enough to purchase a lovely cozy studio in Sheepshead Bay. I'm thinking of becoming a Republican. Not really. Oh, and I just got what I think must be my first nasty backlash comment on my blog. Oh well.
virtual community or butter? (bumbaugh) Thu 18 Sep 03 08:15
Hey, you're officially a sell out. Now the fun really begins. I'm glad someone outed you on the Publisher's Lunch tip so that we can talk about it. Was this something of a whirlwind, or longer in development? When can we, your legion of fans, hope to buy the book? What next?
Julie Powell (julie-powell) Thu 18 Sep 03 08:39
It was pretty fucking fast. We went out with the proposal on Monday, made a decision on Friday. Lots of meetings with editors -- wonderful folks all, it made me feel a little weird I have to say, making decisions like this. Don't expect the book out in the next three months. We're going to take some time with this. I've never written a book before, you see, at least not one that has ventured off my desktop.
Dan Levy (danlevy) Thu 18 Sep 03 11:31
did you meet Sarah after the Times article was published.
Julie Powell (julie-powell) Thu 18 Sep 03 11:36
Actually, no, Sarah was recommended to me by a friend/mentor of mine, Liz Gilbert, who's a brilliant hilarious writer who was extraordinarily kind to me when I wrote her a fan letter a few years ago. When I started getting contacted by agents and publishers and folks, back in the spring, I guess, I was freaking out, and in my terror I sent an email to Liz. I hadn't communicated with her at all in YEARS. She answered my email in twenty minutes flat. From Lebanon. And told me to call her agent. Which I did. Just about the easiest agent-meet-up story you'll ever hear.
i am the king I HAVE NO TESTICKALS (mig) Thu 18 Sep 03 11:52
Dan Levy (danlevy) Thu 18 Sep 03 12:02
That's excellent...I'm glad there was a buzz on before the Times piece.
Julie Powell (julie-powell) Thu 18 Sep 03 12:33
Me too. I'm mostly glad that when the Times piece came, I had Sarah already. I would have fucking flipped, otherwise.
Teleologically dyslexic (ceder) Thu 18 Sep 03 14:31
Besides "Living in New Yark" and eating all of Julia Childs recipes...we on the edges can just read... ;-)
Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Thu 18 Sep 03 17:11
Julie, if/when your book deal is solid, would you expect that your blog would be the book? Or would you write up the experience all over again?
Julie Powell (julie-powell) Fri 19 Sep 03 06:34
I'll definitely not be just dumping blog entries between two covers. God, that would be awful. There's a lot that needs to be done with the structure and the narrative to make it interesting enough to read in book form. That said, of course I'll be poaching heavily.
Dan Levy (danlevy) Fri 19 Sep 03 06:43
But will you be braising?
A Question for Julie Powell from Barbara C (bumbaugh) Fri 19 Sep 03 07:47
Barbara C writes: Due to "all the obscene money they're throwing" at you -- have you given notice at the LMDC? I also read the Publisher's Lunch piece so I know you have a little time before publication, but, as someone who has droned my early life away at similar crappy administrative/slave jobs, that would be my first order of business. Also, what are you eating these days?
Julie Powell (julie-powell) Fri 19 Sep 03 08:14
Dan Levy: ba dump bump. Barbara: I'll probably stick around the old LMDC just a bit longer -- I sort of owe it to some folks around here to stay until the current project here is done with. Not that they can't find another chimpanzee to do my work, but they don't need to be looking for their new chimpanzee in the midst of this. I actually just officially started my diet the day before yesterday. You know, I'm doing one of those high protein low carb deals. Very boring. Last night I totally went off, drinking vodka and such, which was less boring. I'm trying to use a lot of garlic and spicy stuff, to ease the malaise a bit.
charged with insult and flattery (pellmell) Fri 19 Sep 03 09:33
vodka is low carb! you're doing just fine.
Gail Williams (gail) Fri 19 Sep 03 10:48
Well, compared to Grand Marnier it is.
virtual community or butter? (bumbaugh) Fri 19 Sep 03 11:29
Gimlets have all that Rose's Lime Juice in them, so I guess they've gotta go now.
Julie Powell (julie-powell) Fri 19 Sep 03 13:28
Yeah. I bought myself some very nice Belvedere vodka so I could sip it straight. But I did allow myself a smidge of Rose's a little later in the evening.
virtual community or butter? (bumbaugh) Sat 20 Sep 03 07:16
Y'know -- two weeks has just *flown* by here! I want to thank Dana and Michele and everybody else who chimed in here -- both within and without the Well -- for their contributions to great conversation. Julie, special thanks to you for taking time to join us in the Inkwell. I've been totally enjoying this. Although we're now featuring another conversation (with Richie Unterberger, on folk-rock music in the late-1960s and his book, *Eight Miles High*), this one doesn't have to end. Stay as long as you like. But we're saying thanks in case some of you have places to go and stuff to do, y'know? Maybe something to cook. Which reminds me: What kind of cook was Eric before and after? Did he become a better cook through following along at your side (and spicy Thursdays) than when the Project started out?
charged with insult and flattery (pellmell) Sat 20 Sep 03 07:52
over? noo! Julie, stay here! and g lowcarb.ind in the inner Well! Also chow.ind and cooking and restaurants and ny and and and and!
cookie (wiggly) Sat 20 Sep 03 09:54
Congrats on the book deal, Julie. This is the best Cinderella story I've read in ages.
Serge (serge-alexandr) Sat 20 Sep 03 21:53
Shocking, it was, Julie, to not see your face there on the inkwell page. oh well. impermanence. I was interested in the California topic a few days back... I'm the sort of person that when things get dicey- I cook. Big yard sale - I make everyone huevos rancheros. My good friend and right hand man had his sister in town so- of course I cook dinner for them- great evening. But I'm prepping these eight lovely loin lamb chops, and instead of the usual dried herbs I go to the back yard and then I'm chopping up fresh thyme and oregano and rosemary and lavender and suddenly I'm wondering: is there a PROBLEM with this? Is there something wrong here, like I'm being too California or whatever? Should I feel BAD that I get local grass fed lamb, that we have traditional tomato varieties at our green market, that there's a guy that sells peaches that are only in season for a few weeks? I don't want to offend anyone, really I don't. But do people really buy those round red things called "tomatoes" in February? I'm just now getting a little blasé about wonderful tomatoes with basil and olive oil and balsamic- so for me it's soon time to forget about them for eight or nine months... Maybe those folks that seem preachey about this are just trying to get up-tight American shoppers to be willing to spend a little more on real food. Real produce, or meat, will always cost more than factory-farm stuff. That's why Monsanto and those big guys are in business: to produce cheaper food. Is it some kind of purtitan hang-up that some people have that they can't let go of a chunk of change for superior stuff? A sort of Babette's complex?
Julie Powell (julie-powell) Sun 21 Sep 03 10:46
I'm not arguing AT ALL that that organic, lovely stuff isn't great. It is. It is a good thing. But I think this whole conversation just cuts a huge portion of the U.S. population -- as it happens, the poor and obese portion -- out of the loop. Yes. I can buy my organic produce and meats and fish at the greenmarket at Unions Square or wherever. I do, in fact, often. It's great. But then the weekend comes and the N, W, and R trains into and out of Queens all shut down simultaneously, and all of a sudden taking a leisurely trip to the greenmarket becomes a much more fraught exercise. I mean, jesus -- god forbid I live in Midland or something. As my husband says, "Alice Waters would probably not talk so much about perfect peaches if she lived in Woodside." It irritates me to read foodies waxing rhapsodic, not because those things aren't wonderful, but because they categorically ignore a whole group of people. Say, for instance, the folks that work at the sweatshop across the street from our apartment. It's so bogus to self-righteously say "It's a judgement on YOU if you don't want to shell out the money for good produce." Because some people really can't. Even I can't much of the time, and I'm not a Latin American immigrant worker with six overweight children to feed. So I guess all I'm saying is this: Yes. By all means. Spending your money on good food is a hell of a lot better than spending it on, I don't know, the dog fights. But there's a deeper problem, that has to do with making the preparation of food an important aspect of your life. That can be done, even with crappy tomatoes (or canned ones.) I firmly believe that the organic food movement will only make a lasting difference to the problem of food in America if it's paired with a commitment to educating EVERYBODY, no matter what their access to fine ingredients, about how to feed themselves. re: Eric. He is in kitchen denial at the moment. It doesn't help that I'm in the midst of pathetic sad low carb hell. I hope that soon he will return -- pick up on his fried chicken quest, perhaps?
Serge Scherbatskoy (serge-alexandr) Sun 21 Sep 03 17:19
So how do you, does one, activate that commitment? Maybe that's what both Julia and Alice and Julie and so many food writers are trying to do- find a way to share knowledge and to educate. How do you reach someone who doesn't seem to even acknowledge that there's a problem? Like the Latino immigrant, or the satisfied Costco shopper with cases of junk food and sodas? Trying to educate someone who isn't asking to learn seems problematic at best. I would LOVE for everyone to reclaim the knowledge that foods have seasons, and to be in touch with local providers. But we are in an economy managed by the rich for the rich, and they want "global", which means huge production facilities in the cheapest places with transportation to markets conveniently concentrated in urban areas-- because the power elite makes the most profit that way. (I am in fact really revolted by the NYT's agriculture stance (cf. "Harvest of Poverty"), as if all these "free trade zones" will in any way really help the individual-- they will increase "trade" and the "economy" by billions, but the beneficiaries will be the rich who control the trade, while the farmer growing corn in Latin American will have to emigrate to work at the sweatshop across your street.) (Yikes! there I go again!...) It's so hard to talk to someone when you think you know better- I deal with that with Renée in the kitchen, and to educate people, gee, I just can't really get my mind around it. I try to do the best I can, and seek out people, like you, Julie, and other writers we have been talking about, because I'm looking for understanding. People in poverty, their problem is economic, and a really compassionate government could maybe help. But even slightly well-off people who sneer at quality ingredients because they get a better deal at Snakeway, I have little sympathy for.
Julie Powell (julie-powell) Mon 22 Sep 03 04:07
I don't know what to say. It's a tough problem. But I do think that there are two different things going on here. There's the sinister industrial-agricultural complex, which I frankly see little hope of changing. And then there's a culture that (even, and perhaps especially, among the well-off) places contempt on the place that food and eating have in society's social fabric. I insist that if you learn to place real eating and cooking in your life, you will be happier. This even without the excellent ingredients that you're talking about. I live in New York, and when I have the time and the money and the access, which I often do, I love using fine ingredients with respect. It heightens my pleasure. However. Someday I may move to, I don't know, Midland-Odessa. Even northeastern New Mexico. I will still want to eat well, but to do so, I may have to go ahead and pay Da Man to do it. So be it. I will be happy, even eating my gene-modified corn and anti-bioticized chicken. I hate the stupid Americans as much as the next person. But when you spend all your time congratulating yourself and pitying/berating the next person, you have precious little time left to enjoy your organic greens. As a species, we seem to love to find ways to feel better about ourselves at the expense of other people. It's sad when such a universal pleasure as eating gets sucked into that neurosis. Plus -- and here's where I get both in hot water and totally out of my depth, because I in no way claim to be an expert in this arena -- there are other perspectives. Julia, for instance, has on multiple occasions pointed out that there isn't enough livestock on the planet to produce the manure needed to feed everyone on the planet organic food. Sorry so long. I will stop lecturing now. It isn't attractive.
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