Title: My Life in France
Authors: Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme
I have always had a mild interest in Julia Child. I remember watching her on public television at my grandma's house. I guess in a way she reminded me of my grandma...they were both tall, had similar hairstyles, and were both awesome cooks. I learned a lot about cooking from my grandmother, and I guess in turn also from Julia. After reading Julie and Julia, I decided I wanted to learn more about this amazing woman. My Life in France is written in her own words with the help of her grand-nephew (finished after her death in 2004). She recounts how her cooking career began soon after her arrival in France in 1948. The book follows her through her very first cooking classes (1949), the long arduous process of creating the The Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Volume 1 (1961), through to the fame that arrived with her television show The French Chef (1963-1973).
This book is a "must read" for any Julia fan....or for that matter, anyone who likes to cook. Her descriptions of Paris and the French countryside are so detailed you can almost picture yourself right there with her among the wonderful tastes and smells she encountered. Her enthusiasm for her new found love of "cuisine" literally leaps from the pages. I was amazed at her dedication in ensuring that The Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Volume 1 be as complete and accurate as possible. Many times she would spend days on just one recipe to ensure that the average American cook could achieve the best possible results in their very own kitchen, all the while staying as true as possible to authentic French cooking. Still a classic.
Throughout the book, Julia talks about what a huge supporter her wonderful husband Paul was in her pursuit of her culinary interests. As Julia once said "There would be no French Chef without him, that's for sure." Not only is this a book about her love of cooking, but also her love for Paul.
Back in August, I finally made it to the Museum of American History to see the exhibit featuring Julia's kitchen from her Massachusetts home (the one featured in many of her cooking shows). The Museum is now closed for renovations until 2008, but the Flash version of the Web site will give you a great overview of the exhibit. Come back tomorrow to see pictures I took at the exhibit, including my favorite Julia image.