Sunday, December 6, 2009

Julie Powell Comes to Tulsa

Booksmart Tulsa has done it again, folks. As if bringing one of the most popular bloggers in the U.S. to Tulsa wasn't enough, co-creators Jeff Martin (an author of a books himself - two, actually) and Dwelling Spaces owner Mary Beth Babcock have partnered with the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma to bring Julie Powell to T-Town to show off her brand-spanking-new book, Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat and Obsession.

You might know Julie from a little book called Julia and Julia - you know, the book that was adapted into a motion picture starring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep (Meryl!) that grossed $20 million during its opening weekend.

The story goes a little something like this: Powell embarked on an ambitious year-long cooking and blogging expedition through all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” The blog and the buzz culminated into Powells' 2005 literary debut.

Her newest book, released just six days ago, explores the trials and tribulations of her marriage, as well as what drove her to decide to work in a butcher's shop, slicing and dicing and all of the pleasant things that we can all imagine going on in such a place.

Powell will dine, sign books and chat with Tulsans at 1304 N. Kenosha, the home of the Culinary Center at CFBEO, tomorrow, Monday, Dec. 7. While the pre-event, VIP dinner party, which will feature Chef James Shrader of Tulsa's own Palace Cafe and Julia Child's famous Beef Bourguignon recipe, is sold out.

But, not to worry. There will be plenty of Julie to go around afterward when, at 7pm, she will regale what promises to be a beefy audience (sorry, I couldn't help myself) with a few readings from her newest book. The lecture and the following book signing are free and open to the public.

While there's no charge to meet Julie, it would be nice to bring a non-perishable food donation for the Food Bank, wouldn't it? I knew you'd agree. You're such generous blog readers. After all, requests for food assistance is up by 40 percent, and the latest numbers show Oklahoma as the fourth-hungriest state in the nation. We all want to help the Food Bank cover the needs of our friends, family and neighbors.

If you've so far managed to refrain from skipping out to snap up Powell's new book, bring $25 to get your hardback or paperback copy of Cleaving at this event. Copies of Julie and Julia will be available, too.

Know what I think? I think that if Jeff and Mary Beth continue to bring A-list authors to Tulsa, they might just turn Tulsa into a national literary mecca.

"Since our inception earlier this year, our goal has been to make literary events relevant and accessible,” Jeff Martin said. “Over the past year, we had some amazing events. But none of that could happen without the support of the community.

"We wanted to do a great holiday event to say thanks," he said. "This event, and our partnership with the Food Bank, is a wonderful way to say goodbye to 2009 and get people excited for what's to come."

Wouldn't that be killer? Just thinking about it has me fanning myself.

Powell has come a long way since that year in her tiny New York City apartment kitchen. She's made appearances on ABC’s “Good Morning America," CBS’s “The Early Show,” “The Martha Stewart Show” and the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.”

Her writing has appeared in Bon App├ętit, Food and Wine, Harper’s Bazaar - this list has me gasping for breath right about now - the New York Times and the Washington Post. She is a two-time James Beard Award winner, has been awarded an honorary degree from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, and was the first winner of the Overall Lulu Blooker Prize for Books.


See you all at the Food Bank tomorrow night.
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