Wednesday, January 17, 2007
My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme
My Life in France is Julia Child's story of learning to cook the French way, of writing her early cookbooks, and of starting of her life in television. I was surprised to hear that she knew very little about cooking when she arrived in France at age 36 in 1948. While her husband Paul worked for the United States Information Agency in Paris, she began taking cooking classes and experimenting in her kitchen. She had to be persistent to get serious instruction and meet most of the important culinary experts of the time. Eventually she joined Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle in writing a cookbook for the American book market; after more than a decade that work became Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
Readers will enjoy learning about post-World War II France and American foreign service of the time. The witch hunt for communists in foreign service and the right wing politics of Child's father are subplots of the story of her discovery of French cuisine.
Alex Prud'homme helped Child write the book and completed it after her death in 2004.
I enjoyed listening to My Life in France read by Kimberly Farr on my iPod, which let me hear the pronounciations of the names of French dishes but not see how they are spelled. Since I will not be preparing any of them any time soon, I am not disadvantaged.
Readers should expect to gain five pounds.
Child, Julia with Alex Prud'homme. My Life in France. New York: Knopf, 2006. ISBN 1400043468