Oh, how I love and adore this book It s one of the best I ve read lately, combining as it does my love of France, Julia, and food in one funny, touching package Julia Child was such a unique, eccentric, brilliant woman, and I m always inspired when I realize that she struggled along at loose ends for years before finding her true passion and calling.Her marriage to Paul Child is beautifully portrayed in the book He was quite a worldly, erudite man, and very forward thinking for his time in the way he nurtured and supported Julia s talent and career He was very much a driving force behind her success, but he always made sure she was the one who got to shine They lived a fascinating life even before her career began, however, living all over the world while Paul was a government official WWII Asia, post war Europe, the McCarthy witch hunt there s a lot than just cooking stories in the book.The cooking stories are great, however I loved her description of her seminal first meal in France, the one that began her obsession with French cuisine She really does credit that one meal with being the start of everything that was to follow, from her training at the Cordon Bleu, to the formation of L Ecole des Trois Gourmandes with Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, to the three of them setting about writing Mastering the Art of French Cooking The amount of work that they, Julia especially, put into researching and writing the cookbook is another inspiration The woman was not averse to hard work, that s for sure.I really can t say enough about My Life in France I absolutely loved reading it, and it made me adore Julia even than before She really was a treasure. I didn t know anything about Julia Child apart from having heard her name and that she was 6 tall until the book Julie and Julia I read that and whereas I didn t think much of Julie at all I think she should go back to blogging, a book s a bit much for her I was curious about Julia.The book is beautifully written by her nephew Paul Prud homme and illustrated with many photographs from her talented ex diplomat husband Paul Its a lovely story of a life through cooking and inspired by France and full of surprises that you wouldn t expect for someone of her monied, patrician background.One one of the Goodreads groups I belong to, where everyone besides me is American and, it seems strongly Republican, the book Julie and Julia got many negative comments owing to Julie s total disrespect of Republicans and not being respectful enough of the construction of a memorial to 9 ll I didn t feel that, I thought she was just pissed off with her job, but I m not an American and there may have been nuances I missed Needless to say, I don t think that group would enjoy My Life in France either Julia Child is fiercely anti Republican and critical of many aspects of American politics which she sees as hypocritical This causes if not a rift in the family, then her father s coldness and uninterest in her life and husband, as he saw anything less than full enthusiasm for all things Republican and racist, anti academic, anti semitic and xenophobic to be a betrayal by her of his and his friends lives and the cultural millieu he had brought her up in Julia s politics were important to her and she studied assidiously so that she could hold up her end in dinner table debates with her knowledgeable friends, often over one of her wonderfully cooked meals.The story of how she learned to cook and the various places she and Paul lived in, is beautifully told without either undue self praise or false modesty She had a lovely personality, a burning drive to educate people as to how good food French food could be and why it was worth the time and effort to make it, and attracted a rich variety of friends whose only link seemed to be they really, really liked food But it was just as interesting viewing American politics and France through the half century of her life from the 50s until her death five years ago in 2004 I m so enthusiastic about reading Julia Child that I ve ordered Mastering French Cooking, a huge and expensive tome, and I don t cook, not ever, but I do want to read it. If you re a fan of Julia Child or French cooking, or love France, you ll love this witty book Co written near the end of her lifetime, My Life is France gives an intimate perspective of Julia Child s joy with life, France, and cooking If you own Mastering the Art of French Cooking, this is a perfect companion piece It s also a great gift for good and or aspiring cooks It might even inspire the poor or non cook. Rating 3.875 of fiveThe Book Report Truth in advertising had no greater champion than Julia Child Her book is called exactly and precisely what it is The narrative of her life in France She begins her book on November 3, 1948, with the Child family landing at Le Havre, getting into their gigantic Buick station wagon, and motoring off across northern France towards Paris They stop at thirty six year old native Californian Mrs Child s first French restaurant, La Couronne, where her husband Paul already fluent in French from his first stint living there than 20 years before consults with M Dorin, the maitre d , and decides the young marrieds relatively speaking, as he s 46 by then will have a sole meuniere with a glass of wine I mean A nice Republican raised gal from Pasadena, California, drinking wine with lunch Who heard of this Mais certainement not Mme Child, nee McWilliams It was the beginning of a life long love affair between Julia Child and la belle France, and Julia Child and la cuisine Francaise It led to several books, several TV series, and a long, happy life spent teaching, teaching, teaching Mme Child had found her metier, at close to forty, in a day and time where living past sixty five was considered to be ancient In the process, the person she became changed the American, and possibly the world as a result, culture surrounding food Yet Julia Child wrote this book with her husband s great nephew Alex Prud homme, who tells us in his brief Foreword that getting his garrulous old relative to open up about the feelings and secrets that make up the majority of any human life His degree of success was formidable, given the generational and gender induced reticence he fought against to extract the juicy bits from her.Bravo, M Prud homme, et merci bien par tout le faire.My Review Julia Child was a fixture around our house when I was young I got the TV watching habits I carry with me to this good day at a tender age, and part of the formative process was The French Chef My mother didn t like Mrs Child much She was a fan of M.F.K Fisher s food work, which wasn t in sympathy with Mrs Child s careful and precise measuring and nice and accurate timing Mama was a feast maker, not a dinner preparer, and that s why she watched Julia Child programs.I learned about enthusiastic appreciation of food from my mother and Mrs Child I was never a picky eater, and only rejected a few foods I still hate corn on the cob It always seemed like the ladies were having so much fun making these weird dishes It made sense to me that it would be fun to eat them, and so it proved to be.In reading this memoir, I immersed myself in the flow of Child s later life awakening to the joy of food and the sheer exhilaration of preparing special and delicious and carefully thought out meals for one s loved ones While I understand the co author s challenge in balancing the need to afford the famous personality privacy against the buying public s desire to know the dirt, I can only lament that Prud homme either didn t or couldn t press Child on the topic of her childlessness I suspect burying herself in research and in obsessive experimentation was a means of assuaging her sadness at not being a mother She was, or at least she is painted in this book as being, a very nurturing person, and given the prevailing attitudes of the era, it is unlikely that this absence did not cause her pangs of regret I would have liked to see some exploration of that, mostly because I think glittering surfaces which this book limns in loving detail are even beautiful when seen with shadows It s like sterling silver flatware When dipped into a cleaning bath as opposed to hand polished, it s true that all the tarnish comes off, but all the character does too, and the pattern is flat and blah for lack of a bit of dark contrast that is left by the labor intensive hand polishing method.The delight of the book was in Child s almost orgasmic recollections of the foods and wines she and her dearly beloved husband Paul Child ate and drank across the years In the course of learning to cook the haute bourgeoise cuisine that she made famous in her native land, Child came alive to the joys and thrills of sight, smell, and taste in a way that only truly delicious food can cause a person to become It was the positive counterpoint to her manifold frustrations in collaborative cook bookery The travails of preparing the Magnum Opus that is Mastering the Art of French Cooking simply don t do enough to make the author come off the page and join me in my reading chair I rate books based on this type of measure, this degree of ability to enfold and immerse me in the narrative and the emotional reality of the tale being told I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but I wasn t swept into it and away to France circa 1950, and that was what I came to the read expecting to happen In fact, when I saw the film partially based on this book, Julie Julia, I was completely swept away and eager to read the source material.In the end, I got out of watching Meryl Streep enact Julia Child than I did reading Julia Child reporting herself I was disappointed And hungry This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. A nice window on Child s love affair with France and its food starting in the post war period Her relationship with her husband Paul was a high point of the book I appreciated her practical and good hud approaches to the challenges and solutions to helping the average household achieving quality meals Some of her friendships and conflicts have some life and color, but for the most part the story came across as bland and sanitized Some of her passion for particular foods comes through, such as for home made mayonnaise and French bread Ultimately, there was not enough real life drama e.g the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat , and I expected humor Maybe I was spoiled by the great channeling of Child by Meryl Streep in the movie Julie and Julia. I ve never been a fan of Julia Child, and whenever I ran across her show on PBS I d make a conscious effort to change the channel, which was why I was surprised when My Life in France turned out to be one of the most well written, engaging Autobiographies I ve read in quite awhile The book covers roughly the same time period as the movie Julie Julia except that it extends into the mid 70 s and discusses the beginning of her TV career and the writing of her second book Even though it was completed by her great nephew and published after her death, Julia s unique voice and enthusiasm shine through The reader will feel as if they are having a conversation with her over lunch Julia s love of the food and people of France, as well as her husband Paul, permeate this book, and allow the reader to get a feeling for her as a person, rather than just an imposing, 2 D TV personality Like a hearty meal or a rich dessert, this is a book to be savored until the very last bite..Bon app tit Lighthearted and fun recollections of Julia s first years in France Highly recommended for anyone already enthralled by Julia, whether by her television programs or her excellent cookbooks.Readers who do not know Julia may find the book a little too rambling, and a little too focused on food they ve never tasted and have no idea what it even is often she does not give translations for food names As noted in the introduction, the book was pieced together from conversations Julia s nephew had with her He made notes at these conversations and then arranged the events described into some kind of chronological order It is rather ingenious, because you are only reading the high points, the things an eighty something year old woman remembers forty years later Due to this, however, the narrative is not in any sense a complete autobiography, like a series of remembrances arranged chronologically.The book is an excellent portrait of the wonders of France just after World War 2, when the country was not as modernized as it is today Also, the story is inspiring in that it starts when Julia and Paul are already nearing what some would call middle age It is not just young people that discover new things and live a life worth enjoying Of course this is obvious anyway, but it is nice to see an example of it now and then. I found this an absorbing read, and I m no foodie But I think what s striking in this memoir of Child s love affair with French food is her drive, her dedication to excellence, her passion there s something attractive in that no matter what the endeavor as well as fascinating to get a picture of such an elite, esoteric world as high cuisine It all started for Julia in 1948, when she had her first French meal When she came to France she knew only a smattering of such French phrases as Merci, Monsieur wretchedly pronounced and was a terrible cook She didn t even know what a shallot was, let alone what to do with one One taste of sole meuni re and she had an epiphany One that would lead her to study French cooking at the renowned Cordon Bleu culinary school, learning to cook everything from snails to wild boar and eventually lead to her collaboration on the ground breaking cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking and to her television show, The French Chef.I m not even sure after reading this if I like Julia Child She came across at times as ruthless she calls herself unsentimental , stubborn, opinionated and ironically dismissive of those of different beliefs I say ironically because she s so hard especially on her father and what she considered his ignorant views and intolerance She was a liberal Democrat, he was a conservative Republican And therefore, it seems to her, naturally a boob compared to the sophisticated Julia Except that as she admits, it was only due to his generosity that she and her husband, living on his salary as a government employee, could live an affluent lifestyle consuming fine wines, escargot, truffles, Camembert cheese and foie gras. Admittedly, one can understand her bitterness towards the GOP given what she related about her husband s brush with McCarthyism And while Child paints her father as xenophobic well, her comments on the English made me cringe, and she characterized Germany as a land of monsters Admittedly, when she and her husband were posted to Bonn, it hadn t been long since World War II As for the English, she didn t care for their cooking and that seems to have been a capital crime to Julia Child Did I mention this is about a love affair with French cooking Because it is This made me salivate at the descriptions of Brie, bouillabaisse, baguettes On the other hand, my vegetarian friend would probably find this book nauseating, and there s enough odes to red meat, cream, mayonnaise and above all butter to make a cardiologist weep Nor could I imagine putting the effort, the time and expense, into cooking that Child described here I ll happily leave the making of brioche and quenelles de brochet to professionals and limit myself to recipes no complicated than tabbouleh But I did enjoy the picture of post war Europe This was written by Child with the help of her grandnephew and based on the letters her and husband wrote at the time, so her reminiscences, especially of her time in Paris and Marseilles, are vivid and evocative. The Bestselling Story Of Julia S Years In France And The Basis For Julie Julia, Starring Meryl Streep And Amy Adams In Her Own Words Although She Would Later Singlehandedly Create A New Approach To American Cuisine With Her Cookbook Mastering The Art Of French Cooking And Her Television Show The French Chef, Julia Child Was Not Always A Master Chef Indeed, When She First Arrived In France In With Her Husband, Paul, Who Was To Work For The USIS, 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 With Her Newfound Passion For Cooking And Teaching Julia S Unforgettable Story Struggles With The Head Of The Cordon Bleu, Rejections From Publishers To Whom She Sent Her Now Famous Cookbook, A Wonderful, Nearly Fifty Year Long Marriage That Took The Childs Across The Globe Unfolds With The Spirit So Key To Julia S Success As A Chef And A Writer, Brilliantly Capturing One Of America S Most Endearing Personalities I think the reasons I wanted to read this book are that Julia s always thought of as a late bloomer, and because her travels were so influential in helping her discover herself.Certainly, her life had great adventure Highlights p 268Too tired and busy to go to France But then we looked at each other and repeated a favorite phrase from our diplomatic days Remember, No one s important than people In other words, friendship is the most important thing not career or housework, or one s fatigue and it needs to be tended and nurtured So we packed up our bags and off we went And thank heaven we did Her description of Provence, which she admits has changed since It was the cool, early morning layers of fog in the valleys Esterel s volcanic mountains jutting up out of the glittering sea the warming Provencal sun and bright blue sky the odor of earth and cow dung and burning grapevine prunings the colorful violets and irises and mimosas the olives blackening the sound of little owls talking back and forth the sea bottom taste of Belon oysters the noisy fun of the marketplace the deeply quiet, sparkling nights with a crescent moon hanging overhead like a lamp What does it mean that the prose gets better near the end I want to sail to Europe how much fun than flying I want to see my car brought out of the cargo hold on by a crane I just saw a biography about Julia It really was Paul who introduced her to food But should you fault where you hear about that which you re destined to know of And she pretty much comes out and says he dated every woman in Ceylon before he considered her The biography used his letters to show how he was critical of her at first and then warmed up What am I supposed to feel about this I admire her tenacity yet I d be unwilling to date someone who noticed me as late as second She has a different kind of attitude about life that really makes me think She mentions that they would have welcomed children I think, though she was very liberal, you couldn t call her modern Maybe that s not so bad I just don t think most people would do things this way And maybe she stayed up nights crying, but she really seems too no nonsense for that Meanwhile, knowing I m fairly young, I still worry about the appropriate time to have children, oh, nonstop I kinda wish I could just make that kind of commitment to my own husband, so that I could focus on something else But, for me, I always am never really sure if I ll want to be with him in five years What do you think it s like to be not restless But maybe she finally found that in cooking Maybe I ll find myself someday.
Julia Child was a famous American cook, author, and television personality who introduced French cuisine and cooking techniques to the American mainstream through her many cookbooks and television programs Her most famous works are the 1961 cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and, showcasing her sui generis television persona, the series The French Chef, which premiered in 1963.
- 336 pages
- My Life in France
- Julia Child
- 09 March 2018 Julia Child