Nothing Here But Us Servantless American Chefs: Food Blogs and the Democratization of Culinary Culture

In 2007 I received an MA in Food Studies from NYU. Combining my passion for gastronomy with my background in media, I wrote my master’s thesis on food blogs and their various meanings. I hope you enjoy it.

Without the Project I was nothing but a secretary on a road to nowhere, drifting toward frosted hair and menthol addiction[2]. – Julie Powell

Julie Powell is embarking on a domestic quest–to cook, bake, braise and soufflé her way through Julia Child’s eponymous Mastering the Art of French Cooking[3] over the course of one year and to document the entire process online in the food blog entitled  The Julie/Julia Project.  Or as she puts it:

Government drone by day, renegade foodie by night. Too old for theatre, too young for children, and too bitter for anything else, Julie Powell was looking for a challenge. And in The Julie/Julia Project she found it. Risking her marriage, her job, and her cats’ well-being, she has signed on for a deranged assignment. [4]

Writing in the frank, self-deprecating, ironic style of self-published zines, novels by Douglas Copeland and the lyrics of 1990’s indie rock band Pavement,[5] Powell leads her readers through a whirlwind of Foie de Veau à la Moutard and Potage Parmentier, with forays into the brilliance of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, navigating friendships and troubles in her marriage.  There are crepes that don’t flip, lobsters needing sacrificing and copious amounts of alcohol consumed.  Powell struggles with each dish, as well as a malaise of bohemia trapped in a secretary’s cubicle:  who am I and what does it all mean. Read more.