This isn’t the genre I normally read but chose to expand my reading due to the process I’m going through: becoming a stay at home mom and trying to find a business that is flexible around my children. I finished reading it a couple of days ago and although I enjoyed it, the ending left me with mixed feelings. I feel this is a cautionary tale…how bad do you want your dream, at what cost? It made me reevaluate my goals as a entrepreneur.
This book was read as a part of the following my 2012 reading challenges:
About the Author – Visit her blog: Sarah Pinneo to keep up with her! I read several of her posts and found her to be similar to her character, in humor, and strangely more in common than I expected beyond the premise of her book. I’m definitely going to keep reading her blog and check out her other writings.
I found out from her website that her first book was published by Clarkson Potter / Random House in 2007. She holds a degree in economics from Yale University. Sarah has lived in Grand Rapids, MI, New York City, Ludlow, VT and now Hanover, NH where the occasional moose or black bear is spotted in her back yard.
Sarah Pinneo (from the inside cover) worked in finance for more than a decade before making the transition from breadwinner to bread baker. Her first book, The Ski House Cookbook, was published in 2007. Sarah writes about food and sustainability for lifestyle publications including the Boston Globe Magazine and Edible Communities.
About the Book – Julia’s Child (from the blurb) Julia Bailey is a mompreneur with too many principles and too little time. Her fledgling company, Julia’s Child, makes organic toddler meals with names like Gentle Lentil and Give Peas a Chance. But before she realizes her dream of seeing them on the shelves of Whole Foods, she will have to make peace between her professional aspirations and her toughest food critics: the two little boys waiting at home. Is it possible to save the world while turning a profit?
Julia’s Child is a warmhearted, laugh-out-loud story about motherhood’s choices: organic vs. local, paper vs. plastic, staying at home vs. risking it all.
My Review – the story starts off in a borough of NYC, a bit slow, as it introduces you right into the character Julia Bailey’s first business pitch of “Julia’s Child” to a mom group. While making several product lines of baby/toddler meals and baked goods is a great idea Julia is running against time – without any other start up financing, she and her husband, Luke, delve into their savings to support her dream of giving moms the option to give their kids healthy, organic, real food as early as possible in different forms, such as her “muffets”. Like most couples, Luke in IT is the major breadwinner since Julia quit the banking industry. With the shadow of Luke being pink slipped in expected layoffs Julia goes to bed every night worrying about their dwindling savings going to her business that might not survive its first year resulting in her spending less and less time at home.
Along for the ride is their Scottish au pair, Bonnie, and Julia’s partner in the kitchen, Marta, a former welfare to work program mom taught culinary skills & business skills, supported by a cast of characters including “locals” you’d find in your neighborhood to a mobster offering protection to the slimy guys in suits at a major conglomerate who want to “acquire” Julia’s Child.
Faced with the challenges of lowering her “cost per unit” Julia tries balancing her dream customer to get her full line of products on the shelves at Whole Foods to the reality of sacrifices in her personal life. In trying to obtain her ultimate goal she does gain a toe-in at Whole Foods but has to drop all her other product lines to focus on her most popular and innovative product “muffets” (a savory baked good made from unexpectedly healthy things). I thought muffets were like muffin tops, but as Julia explains that is just a cutesy name for muffins she picked up from Little Miss Muffet refusing to eat her “curds and whey” because she was scared by a spider. Julia’s sons love that story and it inspires one of her product names. I was really excited to see a several recipes in the book, including these Apple and Cheddar Muffets (see my post later Friday for it)– which is loved by a host on a morning TV show “The Scene” (uh-huh, it is like a mirror of The View set up using a person similar to Elisabeth Hasselbeck).
When Julia gets set up at a trade show everything is going downhill, she is trying to go “natural” but is subverted by fire codes, her muffets go over great – at first, you know – “breakfast time” and “lunch time” but she finds those customers most interested in her product are too far away and would have too small of orders for her to send her product lines to them in say, Texas or California. Continuing to keep her eyes on the ultimate prize of Whole Foods she is faced with the dilemma by her husband: how long will you keep saying “everything will be find once I get this”? He puts it to her this way – you can’t keep going half-in and you have to get more people and financing involved to make the business a success. And the greatest thing he says to her is that he knows her business will be a success, but with such intense involvement in the day to day operations her small business would eat up her time for the next 10 years at the same pace. Julia is afraid of being a “sell-out” but just as she is discovering that keeping such a pace could cost her friendship and partner Marta, a brand acquisition conglomerate steps in and offers Julia the chance of a lifetime. It sounds like an answer to her prayers, but there are few things that could throw a wrench, and time is running out.
I’ve never been very good at writing a “book report” on what I’ve read. I’m kind of a Lucy Ricardo telling a joke, I misplace the punch line I the midst of the story. I hope I haven’t let any spoilers out because I’d like all the mompreneurs and dadpreneurs to read this before they go ahead with their dream.
Check out yesterdays interview of the author at The Book Fetish!
I’m there, check out what others are cooking this weekend at