Tag Archives: Julia Child

My Life in France – Review

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My Life in France by Julia Child

Age: YA – Adult

Julia Child’s transformation from wife, to internationally known chef bringing French food and life to America with her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and with her hit TV show The French Chef began in 1948 during her first year of marriage to Paul Child.

The memoir traces her life from her first steps onto French soil, through her explorations of the French food markets, to her classes at Le Cordon Bleu,  and finally through the path of creating and collaborating a French how-to manual for women in America. The memoir continues even after Julia Child moved back to the United States and how her passion for good food became a lifelong part of her world.

Julia Child’ voice is friendly and entertaining as she takes you through the story of her life. She is an inspirational woman, who is fully accepting of her faults as well as her virtues. Finding love late in life, standing taller than most men and women of her time, Julia found it hard to really fit in anywhere. Rebelling against her father’s conservative Republican views, she did not follow the tradition of settling down to marry a rich Republican man and becoming a simple housewife in quiet Pasadena, CA. Instead, she worked in government, traveling to India and China, where she met her artist husband to be Paul Child.

Reading the book was like sitting in a room with Julia Child herself. Her voice is endearing, full of the charm and friendliness that helped her became so loved around the world. The book is full of little jokes and quips about her experiences. Funny anecdotes accompany even the most minor of character introductions.

To be truthful, I enjoyed the first half of the memoir much more than the second half. I loved reading about Julia explorations of French food, and seeing her passion develop over time and learning about all the hard work she put into becoming one of the best chefs of her time. As the book progressed, I got a little bored as she talked about traveling and promoting the book. I preferred the sections of her experimenting with a recipe hundreds of times to perfect every single notation and instruction, or researching and talking to experts of recipes she wants to include in the book. Her troubles collaborating with Simca and Louisa on both books as well as initially introducing a book like this into the publishing world.

Also, reading this book made me feel a number of emotions: 1. constantly hungry because of her talk of good food, 2:  guilty because one should not eat a McDonald’s cheeseburger while reading about Julia Child’s French recipes, 3. Excited for next Spring, when Chris and I go to France for our honeymoon. We want to sign up for a single class at Le Cordon Bleu and learn how to make, well, anything!

This is a great summer read, although you might end up overheating your homes by wanting to cook more often after finishing!

The French Chef
by Julia Child w/ Alex Prud’Homme
Anchor Books, 2006
ISBN 9780307474858
352 pages

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Find this book at your local library

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Bon apetite!

August is shaping up to be quite the foodie month for me. It all started when I picked up French Women Don’t Get Fat on a whim. That book inspired me to be more creative with my food and to really enjoy what I eat and seek out fresh, whole foods. In this respect I was lead to Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, where he discusses the history and presence of processed food in our grocery stores. This leaves me paranoid of all substances in my supermarket that is not fruit!

Add to the mix watching a documentary on Hulu called “The Future of Food” where the topic is genetically engineered food, and then seeing Julie and Julia in the same day, my head is swimming. I want to eat healthy, enjoy my food, and cook more. but then with so many imitation products and genetically modified junk out there stealthily hidden on the shelves, I’m not sure if what I’m picking up at the grocery is really food.

I feel like I’m either going to starve or go broke trying to eat healthy. =/

I’ve been exploring different farmer’s markets in my area lately, trying to find one with the best and most varied products (the one that is in walking distance is really lame). I have been digging through my cookbooks to meet my goal of cooking a meal once a week (and not the usual chicken & rice or chicken & pasta combo).

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Julie and Julia is a really cute and inspiring movie. Meryl Streep is adorable as Julia Child, she is by far one of my favorite actresses. You could tell she took a lot of glee being in that role. The premise of the movie is that a young women living in Queens as well as being stuck in a rut, decides to take on a challenge of cooking all 524 recipes from Master The Art of French Cooking in one year. She wrote a blog about it, which gained in popularity, and eventually landed a book deal which turned into the movie.

Julie Powell doesn’t update the blog anymore, but if you can’t find the book at either the bookstore or library, well here is the blog still intact.