My Life in France: Life with Julia

My Life in France: Life with Julia

I first met Julia Child in the summer of 2002. I had just graduated high school and was headed to Philadelphia in the fall, where my culinary studies would begin at Drexel Univeristy. My mother, an ardent educator, introduced me into Julia’s kitchen and my eyes went wide. Peering at the piles of cookbooks and utensils, I daydreamed of the day when my kitchen walls would include the outline of where each individual pot and pan should hang apon it, just as Julia’s did. As my mother and I walked through the exhibit at the American History Musuem, showcasing the life and talent of this women, I thought there could be no greater lady. Later I found myself once again face to face with Julia as I began to Master[ing] the Art of French Cooking in my French Cuisine classes in culinary school. Just as Julia’s warmth had leapt from her kitchen, it now leapt from the pages of her book, teaching me the skills neccessary to create classic French cuisine. Although I never actually met the grand lady, her legacy was introduction enough.

In her final work, My Life in France, is a further introduction to Julia and to the grand life she led. Her story begins in the early 1950’s, as Julia moves with her husband, Paul Child, to what she refers to as la belle France. Julia begins her love affair with France and with food, and the book is a whirlwind of the world of Julia’s tastes, sights, and feelings. Reading about her first bites of French cuisine in Rouen is almost comical. That the woman who brought French cuisine to the American cook may have at one point not known a shallot or had a taste for oysters seems absurd, but tasting it for the first time with Julia, the reader sees where this lady’s passion began. The book bounds through her true gastronmic journey, as she studied at Le Courdon Bleu and taught herself  how to really think and cook like a Frenchman. Her drive and unfailling ability to educate herself in any culinary feat is inspiring, and will be sure to get anyone, from the well seasoned chef to those who have never cooked before, into the kitchen.

My Life in France is a journey thourgh the Child’s life but also throughout Euope and the US. Traveling with the Julia and Paul from Paris, to Marseille, to Germany and back to the US, the reader is taught some of the great food lessons Julia had to teach herself. Learning to  cook fish on the Mediterranean, making pie dough and working out the differences in American and French flour, and recreating the atmosphere for baking French bread, the reader is included on many of the trials and tribulations Julia faced in research for her books and in learning her grande cuisine. A rigid and detailed writer, Julia’s acheievements are all the more admirable, as the reader understands with what degree the time and care that went into each of her books, television programs, and recpies.

A memior above all else, My Life in France, is emmaculate in detail, charming, and full of life. Julia recalls dates, times, places, and people in a way that allows the reader to experience them first hand. The reader is transported to a market in Paris buying rabbit or to Provence for dinner with James Beard. A truly grand story of a truly grand lady, the relationships she held most dear are illuminated in the prose. The book is the story of her love affair with Paul Child, who took pictures of Julia de-boning chickens and helped create the books she came to love and the life she led. It tells of Simone Beck, her French sister and co-author, with whom she battled about recipes and created a great masterpeice of a book. Julia’s story is that of her reltaionshop with James Beard, and with famous French food writer Curnonsky, and the many farmers, chef’s, and people who Julia touched and who touched Julia along the way. This prose is one that is enlightening, full of warm, heart felt stories about food and life, and it is a great hit. Although I have never truly met Julia Child, this book makes me feel one giant step closer to feeling as though I have.

My Life in France


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Julia Child is an inspiration to foodies everywhere. She is the person who really started home cooks into getting creative in their kitchens!

    Welcome to The Foodie Blogroll!

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