Julie Powell, the writer whose yearlong mission to cook through Julia Child's "French Cooking" masterpiece was immortalized in print and film, has died of cardiac arrest, The New York Times said Tuesday. She was 49 years old.
Citing her husband, the paper said one of the original food bloggers died on October 26 at her home in upstate New York.
Disillusioned with her low-level administration job in New York and seeking a creative outlet, Powell launched her Julie/Julia Project in the nascent era of internet writing, detailing her kitchen adventures using spiky humor in a direct, diaristic tone.
The project involved cooking all 524 recipes from Child's 1961 classic "Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1" from her tiny, broken-down apartment in Long Island City, Queens that she shared with her husband.
The self-deprecating drama of her mishaps and disappointments both in and out of the kitchen struck a chord with a crop of primarily Gen X readers, and the blog gained hundreds of thousands of views at a moment when many people still used dial-up.
In 2005 the project was published as a book: "Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen."
For her final film the late writer and director Nora Ephron adapted the book into an Oscar-nominated feature film, starring Meryl Streep as Child and Amy Adams as Powell.
Powell's project inspired scores of food bloggers who followed, its template and tone apparent in the later successful web and social media projects of cooks including Dorie Greenspan, Ina Garten, Deb Perelman and Alison Roman.
"I was shocked to learn this morning of the passing of Julie Powell, the original food blogger," Perelman tweeted Tuesday under the account of her famous social media and cookbook brand, Smitten Kitchen.
"Cooking through Julia Child's books, she made Child relevant to a new generation, and wrote about cooking in a fresh, conversational, this-is-my-real life tone that was rare back then."