Cleaving, by Julie Powell (Penguin, RRP $37):
By now, most people will know the name Julie Powell, her efforts to work her way through Julia Child’s recipes having been immortalised on film in Julie & Julia.
This time around Powell decided to try a new challenge. Because after all that French cooking we’d all be ready to face fresh challenges, right?
Her goal this time is to learn to be a butcher, doing her time at a real butcher shop and learning the intricacies of breaking down a side of beef and how to French a rack of ribs.
Through it all, Powell learns a lot about the people she is working with and even more about herself.
After the success of Julie & Julia it would be easy to view this book with a spot of cynicism, expecting it to be a half-hearted effort, hurriedly written to cash in on the release of the movie.
However, it’s not. This little gem is a fun read that is packed with quirky honesty and humour. I actually enjoyed it more than the first book.