My life in France

Julia Child

Book - 2006

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BIOGRAPHY/Child, Julia
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Subjects
Published
New York : Knopf 2006.
Language
English
Physical Description
xi, 317 p. : ill
Bibliography
Includes index.
ISBN
1400043468
9781400043460
Main Author
Julia Child (-)
Other Authors
Alex Prud'homme (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Knowing little about the country and less about its cooking, Child sailed to France with her new husband in 1948. Her first meal after debarking, a simple sauteed sole, opened to her (and to posterity) a new world. She began her French sojourn as the underemployed and ever-curious wife of a diplomatic officer, frustrated at being unable even to speak the language. Language classes led to cooking classes, then to partnering with Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle in an American book contract. Child's devotees know the basics of this story, but the details reveal the gradual education of Child's palate, her anti-McCarthy politics, her intense love for her husband, and her boundless capacity for hard work. Although Child died before this memoir compiled from her papers reached completion, her grandnephew Prud'homme proves a worthy editor. In seamlessly flowing prose, the text follows Child's growth as a cook into one of the best and most influential teachers of the twentieth century. Like Child herself, this memoir is earnest but never pedantic. Her eye for the ironic, her sense of humor, and her sharp sensitivity to the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and colors that surround her make lucid, lively reading. ((Reviewed March 1, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Choice Reviews

Based on letters and memories, this is Julia Child's memoir of her years in France--not just the years she and her husband, Paul, lived there full time, but also the later years when they kept a second home there. Her nephew Alex Prud'homme wrote the text but Julia edited most of it before her death. Her love of France, French people, and French food comes through very clearly, as well as her lack of interest in English food and her liking for Italian food. Her love of cooking and of developing reliable recipes to share her love of these cuisines is also very clear. This is not a scholarly work but a chat with Julia as she describes scenes and experiences, mostly the pleasant ones that she remembered with joy. This book is really about the years in France from Julia's point of view, with little critical appraisal. It will complement Noel Riley Fitch's Appetite for Life (CH, May'98, 35-5037), a scholarly biography that gives a more detailed and critical review of some of the events depicted here. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels. Copyright 2006 American Library Association.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Begun just months before her death and completed by her grandnephew, this memoir resurrects Julia's early days in France-when she didn't even know how to cook. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Who knew that the jolly chef from public television had fought so hard to be admitted to cooking school while in post–World War II France? Concerns about cooking temperatures and writing Mastering the Art of French Cooking competed with worries about her husband's position in a diplomat corps obsessed with exposing secret communists. Child's lively memoir is a delightful American abroad story. (LJ 9/1/06) (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

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 minence 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'Universit ("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 Apptit. (Apr.) [Page 78]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The legendary food expert describes her years in Paris, Marseille, and Provence and her journey from a young woman who could not cook or speak any French to the publication of her cookbooks and becoming "The French Chef."

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Here is the captivating story of Julia Child's years in France, where she fell in love with French food and found "her true calling." From the moment she and her husband Paul, who worked for the USIS, arrived in the fall of 1948, Julia had an awakening that changed her life. Soon this tall, outspoken gal from Pasadena, California, who didn't speak a word of French and knew nothing about the country, was steeped in the language, chatting with purveyors in the local markets, and enrolled in the Cordon Bleu. She teamed up with two fellow gourmettes, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, to help them with a book on French cooking for Americans. Filled with her husband's beautiful black-and-white photographs as well as family snapshots, this memoir is laced with wonderful stories about the French character, particularly in the world of food, and the way of life that Julia embraced so wholeheartedly. Bon appâetit!--From publisher description.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A memoir begun just months before Child's death describes the legendary food expert's years in Paris, Marseille, and Provence and her journey from a young woman from Pasadena who cannot cook or speak any French to the publication of her legendary Mastering cookbooks and her winning the hearts of America as "The French Chef." 150,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Here is the captivating story of Julia Child's years in France, where she fell in love with French food and found "her true calling." From the moment she and her husband Paul, who worked for the USIS, arrived in the fall of 1948, Julia had an awakening that changed her life. Soon this tall, outspoken gal from Pasadena, California, who didn't speak a word of French and knew nothing about the country, was steeped in the language, chatting with purveyors in the local markets, and enrolled in the Cordon Bleu. She teamed up with two fellow gourmettes, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, to help them with a book on French cooking for Americans. Filled with her husband's beautiful black-and-white photographs as well as family snapshots, this memoir is laced with wonderful stories about the French character, particularly in the world of food, and the way of life that Julia embraced so wholeheartedly. Bon appâetit!--From publisher description.The legendary food expert describes her years in Paris, Marseille, and Provence and her journey from a young woman who could not cook or speak any French to the publication of her cookbooks and becoming "The French Chef."

Review by Publisher Summary 5

Amazingly energetic, creative, and ultimately inimitable (despite many attempts), Julia Child (d.2004) brought French cooking to American kitchens. For this book she worked with her husband's grandnephew Alex Prud'homme to record her experiences between 1948 and 1954 in Paris and Marseille (and a few later adventures), which she terms the best years of her life. Like her life, her book is full of fun and zest. Fans will savor, or devour, this account. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Review by Publisher Summary 6

The bestselling story of Julia’s years in France in her own words—and the basis for the film Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. 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 1948 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.