Food Writer Who Inspired ‘Julie & Julia’ Dead at 49 from Cardiac Arrest ๐Ÿ’‰

Julie Powell, the food writer known for chronicling her journey of making every recipe in Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” has died. She was 49.

Powell died on Oct. 26 at her home in upstate New York. Her husband Eric says the cause of death was cardiac arrest.

Her last tweet was on Oct. 25 in which she shared the following:

So I woke up with something that’s literally Black Hairy Tongue. People, including my doctor, seem to think it’s no big deal, and will go away soon, but it certainly is gross.

Powell seems to have gotten her second shot of mRNA in May 2021.

Julie Powell vaccinated

Powell also tweeted about getting a booster in December 2021.

Julie Powell boosted

Powell and her husband recently had COVID.

Julie Powell and husband with COVID

* There is a distinction between a cardiac arrest (from electrical malfunction) and a heart attack (due to a blockage), though laypeople and even occasionally medical professionals will casually interchange the two terms.

The BLACK HAIRY TONGUE she described is possibly mucormycosis, also known as black fungus, a serious fungal infection that comes under fulminant fungal sinusitis, usually in people who are immunocompromised. It is curable only when diagnosed early. Symptoms depend on where in the body the infection occurs.

Mucormycosis is usually rare, affecting fewer than 2 people per million people each year in a city such as San Francisco.

During the COVID-19 pandemic in India, the Indian government reported that more than 11,700 people were receiving care for mucormycosis. Indian media outlets referred to it as “black fungus” because of the black discoloration of dead and dying tissue the fungus causes. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, rates of mucormycosis in India were estimated to be about 70 times higher than in the rest of the world.

If you look up “black hairy tongue” on a search engine though, most pages returned will say it is a harmless condition, and it’s likely Powell’s doctor had not heard of mucormycosis in the context of COVID.

black hairy tongue condition
Harmless “black hairy tongue”

The following is an explanation from the Mayo Clinic of the relatively harmless “black hairy tongue” condition:

Black hairy tongue is a temporary, harmless oral condition that gives the tongue a dark, furry appearance. The distinct look usually results from a buildup of dead skin cells on the many tiny projections (papillae) on the surface of the tongue that contain taste buds. These papillae, which are longer than normal, can easily trap and be stained by bacteria, yeast, tobacco, food or other substances.

Although black hairy tongue may look alarming, typically it doesn’t cause any health problems, and it’s usually painless. Black hairy tongue usually resolves by eliminating possible causes or contributing factors and practicing good oral hygiene.

According to Wikipedia:

COVID-19 associated mucormycosis cases were reported during first and second (delta) wave, with maximum number of cases in delta wave. There were no cases reported during the Omicron wave. A number of cases of mucormycosis, aspergillosis, and candidiasis, linked to immunosuppressive treatment for COVID-19 were reported during the COVID-19 pandemic in India in 2020 and 2021. One review in early 2021 relating to the association of mucormycosis and COVID-19 reported eight cases of mucormycosis; three from the U.S., two from India, and one case each from Brazil, Italy, and the UK. The most common underlying medical condition was diabetes. Most had been in hospital with severe breathing problems due to COVID-19, had recovered, and developed mucormycosis 10โ€“14 days following treatment for COVID-19. Five had abnormal kidney function tests, three involved the sinus, eye and brain, three the lungs, one the gastrointestinal tract, and in one the disease was widespread. In two of the seven deaths, the diagnosis of mucormycosis was made at postmortem. That three had no traditional risk factors led the authors to question the use of steroids and immunosuppressive drugs.

Who is Julie Powell?

A writer who suffered from hypochondria and tweeted a lot about people who didn’t want to get injected with synthetic mRNA.

Julie Powell tweet about anti-vaxxers

Julie Powell (nรฉe Foster) was known for her blog, the Julie/Julia Project, in which she wrote about her kitchen mess-ups and wins as she cooked her way through Child’s cookbook. As a blogger in 2002, she was a pioneer for the casual format that’s been adopted by thousands of contemporary bloggers and social media users today.

Her blog on was eventually turned into a book in 2005, called “Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen.”

Julia and Julie author

The book was then adapted into the 2009 movie, Julie and Julia, which was also based on Julia Child’s autobiography, “My Life in France.” Directed by Nora Ephron, the film starred Meryl Streep as Child and Amy Adams as Powell.

RIP Julie Foster Powell (April 20, 1973 โ€“ October 26, 2022)

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