julie powell food writer known for julie julia dies at 49

Julie Powell, Food Writer Known for ‘Julie & Julia,’ Dies at 49

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As a child, her brother said, Ms. Powell was both bookish and dramatic.

“She loved to be onstage, and loved just being over the top and having everyone watch her,” he said. And, he added, she was “the most experimental and sophisticated cook among us, and we were all people who cooked.”

She met the man who would become her husband when they were playing the romantic leads in a high school production of the Arthur Miller play “All My Sons.” They married in 1998.

Ms. Powell’s second book, “Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession,” published in 2009, dived deeply into their relationship, which sometimes flourished and sometimes faltered. She described in detail her struggle with an extramarital affair she had and, later, one her husband had. This time, the food connection was darker: She juxtaposed her apprenticeship as a butcher with a dissection of her moods and the marriage.

Without the sauciness and celebrity connection of her first book, “Cleaving” was not as well received, and although Ms. Powell continued writing, it was her last book.

“She had so much talent and emotional intelligence,” said Judy Clain, editor in chief of Little, Brown, who was Ms. Powell’s editor. “I only wish she could have found the next thing.”

After years splitting time between Long Island City and a cozy house in the Catskill Mountains that she purchased in 2008, the couple moved upstate permanently in 2018. In addition to her husband and her brother, Ms. Powell is survived by her parents.

Ms. Powell, who was politically candid and a staunch advocate for animals, maintained her lively voice on social media, a natural extension for the quirky and direct voice she honed as an early blogger. On Twitter, she posted pointed commentary, mixed in with mundane bits of daily life. As ever, she made her feelings public, whether she was depressed, frustrated or excited.