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My Life in France (Movie Tie-In Edition) Mass Market Paperback – June 23, 2009
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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.
Julie & Julia is now a major motion picture (releasing in August 2009) starring Meryl Streep as Julia Child. It is partially based on her memoir, My Life in France. Enjoy these images from the film, and click the thumbnails to see larger images.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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I saw Julia Child on public television when I was a kid (waiting for Mr. Rogers, no doubt) and of course watched the SNL skit with Dan Akroyd as a teen. As a young person I did not stop to think about how she came to be on that tv show. Reading this book is a bit like being along for the ride. You will learn about post-WWII France, daily life, and the process that made the cookbooks so easy to follow. It is also an interesting study of a unique person who broke out of the mold her father had planned for her and instead traveled the world, embraced diversity and equality, and left a legacy for persons who want to expand cooking skills.
It is an intimate portrait in terms of daily life details, yet there is a certain reserve that I would relate to Julia's sense of privacy and appropriateness. Bottom line, worth a read--but it would be a good idea to have some food on hand. You will most likely become hungry as you read the many meal descriptions. :)
So then I asked him how I could learn how to make food like that, and he pointed me in the direction of "Mastering the Art of French Cooking". I went from knowing next to nothing about cooking, to making mousseline de foie de volailles, souffles, tournedos, etc. I couldn't believe how thorough and fool-proof Julia's recipes were. And she not only provided recipes, but much of the theory and history behind them, she was a true teacher of French cuisine.
I ended up becoming a confirmed Francophile, and when I saw "My Life in France" available on my Kindle, I knew I had to get it. And I'm very glad I did, I understand much better who she was and how tireless she was in her research. Her writing is incredibly charming, the vocabulary quite descriptive (I had to look up plenty of words in the dictionary!).
All in all, I highly recommend this book if you're interested in France, French cuisine, or Julia Child, from cover to cover it's a fascinating read about a fascinating person!
You probably watched Julie and Julia and know the gist of Julia's story. (Wasn't Meryl Streep fantastic!) The book fills in the details and all from Julia's perspective. You can see how her husband's government job led them to France and how her very first meal there led her on a adventure to learn to cook French food, though she had never been interested in cooking before. The book follows them on stints in several different countries. The most fascinating thing to me was how devoted she was to this cookbook for a decade. She truly did master the art of French cooking.
I fell a little head over heels for her in this book. (Someone send me Mastering the Art of French Cooking.) I'll make you dinner. I love to cook. I love the chemistry and learning how things go together. Open air farmer's markets are a part of my heart. Julia's love of people, food, and hospitality stirred me. Let's dine together.
I thought that it was great that she had written this book at the end of her life. She actually passed away before it was published. Her nephew finished and published the book after they had collaborated. Most of the other people in her story and also passed away so her tale was very honest. She told of struggles with her cookbook collaborators and how she showed grace and worked through things. Perhaps she would not have felt so free while the people she loved were alive. It spoke volumes to me about struggle and how to love and be a friend at all times. Of course, that was probably not her intent. She was just being Julia.