Pleased to meat you

Cooking the Books — Episode 6 — Julie Powell from The Awl on Vimeo.

15 comments to Pleased to meat you

  • This is wonderful! I am totally going to read her book now! But I probably will not eat pork liver, tho.

  • emily

    I feel you. A little pork liver goes a looooong way.

  • ow a paper cut

    This makes sense. Liver is an anagram of livre. Another great job.

  • Tim

    True story: In 1999, I worked for a year in a meat department at a family-owned grocery store in upstate NY. My job was to clean the meat department five nights a week, and this involved hosing down the floor, dousing the cutting boards with gallons of bleach, taking apart and washing the big metal grinders, and hoisting ridiculously heavy trashcans brimming with scraps of bone and fat above my head and dumping them into the dumpter out back. I can definitely say that the job gave me a constant workout – going back and forth between the ice-cold backroom and the mildly chilly front room was not good on my immune system either – but it also robbed me of a sense of youthful fun and innocence. I was 22 at the time, and I knew I should be running free on a college campus somewhere or experiencing the trials and joys of being a young 20-something starting out in a big city. Instead, I was doing some of the most grueling work fit for man that doesn’t involve space walks (think Mike Rowe and his Dirty Jobs series). The average age of the butchers working beside me was about 45, and all except a few of them were grizzled and mustachioed men with tattoos and missing teeth. The pay was next to nothing, and my self-confidence dropped through the floor (because what nice girl would want to date a loser who cleans a meat department, right?). I wouldn’t say I found myself during my year working alongside butchers and their precious blood-soaked flanks of meat, but rather, I LOST myself.

    It was a hell I would never want to repeat even if I lived a thousand lifetimes, but maybe in her mature midlife humbleness, Julie Powell is able to reap more from her meat-carving experience than I did. Furthermore, every gastronome shouldn’t be too haughty to ignore learning about the various yucky processes food has to go through before it reaches our plates, and for this reason I think her book probably has a resonance with people like Ms. Gould. I will make sure to pick up a copy so I can add it to the already towering stack of unread books next to my bed. Thank you for this interview, Emily.

  • audrey

    awesome! tolja it wasn’t just about food . . .

  • nina

    Enjoyed this interview, but did you really like the book? I thought it was awful.

  • emily

    @nina, I don’t have people on the show unless I liked their book …

  • Anonymous

    Dear Answer Lady,

    I’m not so naive to ask you for relationship advice. But if you ever figure out how I can shut my damn cat up in the morning please let the world know!!!!

    Anonymous Troll

  • ow a paper cut

    Dear Anonymous Troll

    A minor modification of Julie Powell’s recipe should do the trick, although your cat would miss you.


    Ow A Paper Cut

  • I love these cooking episodes but just can’t bring myself to watch this one. I fear the pig liver! And I’m not even making an effort towards fake-vegetarianism these days…

  • Anonymous

    hmm… not sure why some other anonymous person is telling me to kill myself after i posted what i thought of a relatively innocuous question about cats… guess the internet is a very cruel place indeed

  • Rebecca A

    Okay now I am curious? Which one of Emily’s inner circle is Ow a Paper Cut?

  • emily

    @Rebecca A — I don’t know anyone on this thread IRL (as far as I know). I appreciate non-anon commenting as a rule.

  • Hi Emily,

    I just read some of that crap on the Awl in the Matt Cherette post. This comment is in lieu of an email message, since I don’t know how to email you.

    It’s a bunch of shit. The guy insulted you out of the blue.

    I’m sorry for any and all crap I ever sent your way in internet comments. Although there were things I never understood, by and large I benefited a great deal from your editorial perspective at Gawker. Since then, I’ve very much enjoyed what I’ve read/seen by you at the Awl and elsewhere (esp. Cooking The Books and your review of the Nehring and Metz books).

    For what it’s worth, I have no ambition to publish, and I’m worlds away from New York, so please take what I say at face value–I have no need to kiss anyone’s ass.

    You remain one of the most interesting people online, and I remain

    yours, truly,

    iplaudius — Zach

  • emily

    @ Zach,

    Thanks for writing (my email is at the top of the page btw! heh).

    I’m not proud of how I behaved in the Awl comments on Friday. Really grossed out by it, in fact. People like Nic Musolino enrage me so much, I think, because they reflect my own worst tendencies back at me. I obviously am great at being a pedantic, mean jerk with a terrible temper, the kind of person who’s always on the lookout for a revealed Achilles’ heel. It’s the thing I hate most about myself. So when I see that tendency in others — esp when it’s directed at me — I get extra, disproportionately angry …

    … if that makes any sense. But it’s not an excuse. I have no excuse; I restrain myself from acting like that about 90% of the time, but the remaining 10% leaves me feeling sickened by myself.

    Anyway! I appreciate your apology, and I will restrain myself from going back and researching what you’re apologizing for, and instead I’ll, like, take a walk or something.



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