Saturday, June 5, 2010

My Life in France by Julia Child

I picked up this book and started reading it right after I finished up reading Julie and Julia by Julie Powell (reviewed here). My Life in France is an autobiography by Julia Child (written with her husband's grandnephew, Alex Prud'homme). It was begun during the last eight months of her life and completed and published by Mr. Prud'homme after she died in August of 2004.

The autobiography is comprised of various stories, linked of course, and which focus on Ms. Child's life from 1948 through 1954. During that time period, Ms. Child and her husband, Paul Child, began their life in Europe - most notably France - and focuses on how Julia came to love all things French - the culture, the people and the food, of course. It also focuses not just on her life there, but on how she and her co-authors wrote her famous treatise on French cooking: Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It details their struggles to find a publisher and get the cookbook slimmed down (it was apparently a TREMENDOUS book - bigger than what it currently is). Julia Child also looks at how she began cooking on TV - she was one of the pioneers in cooking live on TV and owes that success not only to her book but to WGBH, Boston's public television station.

Like many people my age (31), you probably remember seeing Julia Child cooking on TV. She was a staple on television - I swear that she was on all the time - but I don't remember much about her besides her mannerisms.  I was too young to be allowed anywhere near a stove (some say that I'm still too young to be near a stove). I've never been to France or tried to cook anything French (besides the dubiously named French Fries) but I loved this book. Julia's voice is charming - I think that she would have been a person that I would have liked to call her a friend.  She was funny, witty and observant and this all showed through in the book. Maybe, due to my love for food and wine (when I can drink it!), I really loved the details about the food that she made and the wine that she drank. Her details about the places in France that we lived or visited were just as fascinating. 

Generally liked this book...but you can decide yourself whether to purchase it for your collection or not.

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