Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Review: My Life in France by Julia Child

Title: My Life in France
Author: Julia Child
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Knopf
Publish Date: April 4, 2006
Source: Library

What's the Story?:

From "Julia Child single handedly awakened America to the pleasures of good cooking with her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her television show The French Chef, but as she reveals in this bestselling memoir, she didn't know the first thing about cooking when she landed in France. Indeed, when she first arrived in 1948 with her husband, Paul, she spoke no French and knew nothing about the country itself. But as she dove into French culture, buying food at local markets and taking classes at the Cordon Bleu, her life changed forever. Julia's unforgettable story unfolds with the spirit so key to her success as a cook and teacher and writer, brilliantly capturing one of the most endearing American personalities of the last fifty years."

My Two Cents:

"My Life in France" is the story Julia Child's and her husband's life in post World War II France. Julia Child's husband, Paul, is a part of the Foreign Service for the United States meaning that much of their life was spent abroad. The years in France are idyllic. Julia falls in love with the food and the people even as she struggles mightily with the language. This book shows how she goes from a woman who dreads cooking to someone who begins to breathe and dream of cooking wonderful food and making those recipes accessible to all.

I was drawn to this book for a few reasons. First off, post World War II Europe seems like a really fascinating time to be in the Foreign Service. Europe was still very much rebuilding and France's government in particular was still trying to figure things out. The instability (which I had really forgotten was happening) was very interesting to read about in comparison to what Child thought about the situation in America with things like the "Red Scare." It was interesting to see what the Foreign Service was going through in the late 1940s and the 1950s. Some of the cuts seemed not unlike what could happen now in the current political climate.

Another reason I was drawn to the book was of course Julia's cooking. I had vaguely remembered that she didn't really start cooking until later on in life (gives me all sorts of hope). I thought it was really interesting to see all that she went through with her partners to not only develop her cookbook but to publish it. I got a kick out of how secretive Child was about some of her recipes. It was also interesting that with as popular as her cookbook has now become that it had a hard time getting published.

This was a great memoir with interest at many different levels. Packed with Child's signature warmth and charm, this was a good read!


1 comment:

  1. I've read that Julia Child had quirks re her cooking. I do so like the period in which the book is set also the setting of post war France.


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