From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. With Julia Child's death in 2004 at age 91, her grandnephew Prud'homme (The Cell Game) completed this playful memoir of the famous chef's first, formative sojourn in France with her new husband, Paul Child, in 1949. The couple met during WWII in Ceylon, working for the OSS, and soon after moved to Paris, where Paul worked for the U.S. Information Service. Child describes herself as a "rather loud and unserious Californian," 36, six-foot-two and without a word of French, while Paul was 10 years older, an urbane, well-traveled Bostonian. Startled to find the French amenable and the food delicious, Child enrolled at the Cordon Bleu and toiled with increasing zeal under the rigorous tutelage of éminence grise Chef Bugnard. "Jackdaw Julie," as Paul called her, collected every manner of culinary tool and perfected the recipes in her little kitchen on rue de l'Université ("Roo de Loo"). She went on to start an informal school with sister gourmandes Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, who were already at work on a French cookbook for American readers, although it took Child's know-how to transform the tome—after nine years, many title changes and three publishers—into the bestselling Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961). This is a valuable record of gorgeous meals in bygone Parisian restaurants, and the secret arts of a culinary genius. Photos. First serial in the New York Times Magazine and Bon Appétit. (Apr.)
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More than four decades ago, Julia Child first brought her joie de vivreand classic recipesto American kitchens with cookbooks that included Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961) and a handful of immensely popular cooking shows, beginning in 1963 with the decade-long run of The French Chef. In My Life in France, an engaging, nuanced addition to the body of her work, Child was assisted by great-nephew Alex Prud'homme, who allowed Child's distinctive voice to ring throughout. Child herself worked diligently on the manuscript during the last year of her life. The result is a memoir that brings to life the jocular, grandmotherly guide who introduced so many Americans to the joy of peerless meals conceived and prepared with élan and rich imagination.<BR>Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.