Powell died of cardiac arrest on Oct. 26 at her home in upstate New York, The New York Times reported. Her death was confirmed by Judy Clain, Powell’s email and editor in chief of Little, Brown.
“She was a brilliant writer and a daring, original person and she will not be forgotten,” Clain said in a statement. ”We are sending our deepest condolences to all who knew and loved Julie, whether personally or through the deep connections she forged with readers of her memoirs.”
Powell’s 2005 book “Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen” became the hit, Nora Ephron-directed film “Julie & Julia,” with the author portrayed in the movie by Amy Adams and Meryl Streep as Child.
By 2006, she had landed an apprenticeship at a butcher shop two hours north of New York City, which offered an escape from her crumbling marriage and a place to explore her childhood curiosity with butchers.
“The way they held a knife in their hand was like an extension of themselves,” she said. “I’m a very clumsy person. I don’t play sports. That kind of physical skill is really foreign to me, and I’m really envious of that.”
The book explores the link between butchering and her own tortured romantic life. At one point, while cutting the connective tissue on a pig’s leg, she writes: “It’s sad, but a relief as well, to know that two things so closely bound together can separate with so little violence, leaving smooth surfaces instead of bloody shreds.”
Her book tapped into the growing interest in old school butchery and her experience slicing meat actually resulted in her eating less of it. She was an advocate for humanely raised and slaughtered animals.
She is survived by her husband, Eric.
By Mark Kennedy