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The Nearly Reader

My life in (mostly) books

My Life in France

My Life in France - Julia Child, Alex Prud'Homme Mastering the Art of French Cooking - Julia Child, Simone Beck, Louisette Bertholle Julie and Julia : 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen - Julie Powell

From Goodreads: In her own words, 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 the ship docked in Le Havre in the fall of 1948 and Julia watched the well-muscled stevedores unloading the cargo to the first perfectly soigné meal that she and her husband, Paul, savored in Rouen en route to Paris, where he was to work for the USIS, 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.

After managing to get her degree despite the machinations of the disagreeable directrice of the school, Julia started teaching cooking classes herself, then teamed up with two fellowgourmettes, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, to help them with a book they were trying to write on French cooking for Americans. Throwing herself heart and soul into making it a unique and thorough teaching book, only to suffer several rounds of painful rejection, is part of the behind-the-scenes drama that Julia reveals with her inimitable gusto and disarming honesty.

Filled with the beautiful black-and-white photographs that Paul loved to take when he was not battling bureaucrats, 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. Above all, she reveals the kind of spirit and determination, the sheer love of cooking, and the drive to share that with her fellow Americans that made her the extraordinary success she became.

Le voici. Et bon appétit!



I don't remember a time in my life where I didn't have at least a rudimentary sense of who Julia Child was, yet, I have no idea how. I don't remember my Mom watching Julia's cooking shows on television when I was growing up. I certainly know that Mastering the Art of French Cooking was not one of the (many) cooking books my Mom had around the house. But Julia Child had that presence. You didn't have to actively watch or read her to know who she was. 


Then, when I was in my 20's I read Julie and Julia (which annoyed me) and saw the movie which was actually pretty enjoyable (RIP Nora Ephron). It was the movie that piqued my curiosity of who Julia Child was.


I loved My Life in France. I had no idea what to expect. Maybe an entire memoir related to the kitchen? That was my best guest...but to my joy, My Life in France was so much more. It was Julia. It was her before she even picked up a spoon. It was her during her time at Cordon Blu, and it was her with her soul mate, Paul Child. I absolutely fell in love with her in reading My Life in France. She was such a personality.


I probably will never pick up a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking...hell, I've never even been to a French restaurant but it did give me the courage to do more in the kitchen at work. While I was in the middle of reading this, I was tasked with cooking up a turkey breast at work. I have never made anything like that, but I asked myself...what would Julia do and found decent directions and cooked that bird. Granted...Julia probably would have slathered the thing in butter-and I choose a healthier olive oil, but still...Julia Child came to my rescue.