Head to Sur La Table for a special class where you'll learn how to cook a few of Julia Child's signature recipes.
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I'm thrilled that Mastering the Art of French Cooking was literally the first cookbook I ever purchased. I'm not so thrilled to admit, however, that owning the book didn't automatically allow me to pull off some of Julia Child's most delicious recipes. I've always wanted an expert to teach me how to really nail Julia's entrées in my own kitchen, and today, on what would have been Child's 106th birthday, my wish is finally coming true.
To celebrate her life's work and the lasting importance of Mastering the Art of French Cooking 57 years after it was first published, all 82 Sur La Table cooking schools across America will host a Julia Child-themed course tonight. Students will get the chance to learn how to make a few of Child's most recognizable recipes alongside an instructor. And while you'll leave armed with a bit more culinary expertise than you had when you arrived, each student will also receive a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Volume II) to continue learning in their own kitchens.
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Tonight's classes will cover how to make dishes such as Pan Roasted Beef Tenderloin With Red Wine Pan Sauce, Crispy Potatoes Anna, and a classic Strawberry Brioche Cake With Chantilly Cream. You'll be working in groups of four, and the class is expected to run anywhere between 2 and 3 hours tonight.
Love French cuisine? Check out these recipes:
If baking is more your speed, or if you're unable to attend tonight's festivities, Sur La Table is also offering another course on Saturday, August 18, where students will tackle Julia Child's signature desserts. You'll make Child's Chocolate Mousse, Raspberry Sherbert, and Walnut and Almond Puffs (you can sign up for that class right here). The cost for the two-hour course is $75.
As an added birthday gift in honor of Child's memory, Sur La Table is also making a special donation—about 5 percent of all sales—to the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts. This organization gives grants to other non-profit organizations to encourage education efforts, and also awards the annual Julia Child Award.
Whether you've been cooking Child's recipes for as long as you can remember, or if you've just seen the movie Julie & Julia, Sur La Table's class is as close as you'll get to the experience of attending Child's cooking school all those years ago.
Happy Birthday, Julia And Thank You For The Gift
I was given a set of "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in 1986 just after I had moved to France, which was, when I come to think of it, a bit like bringing coals to Newcastle or, as I did, bringing a pasta machine to Italy. Although I have always loved my copies of "Mastering," it wasn't Julia Child who taught me to make Blanquette and Daube, ratatouille and mayonnaise. No, I learned how to make the French classics from my French husband, a man who had never even heard of Julia Child, The French Chef, until well into our marriage when I explained who she was. His response? There was no revelation, no epiphany, no beginning of a love affair with her recipes. No, he shrugged his shoulders and promptly forgot about her. I mean, he is French, grew up learning to cook from his own Maman so what would he need with Julia Child, une américaine?
I have long been fascinated by Julia yet, unlike so many of my American friends, it's never really been about the food. Oh, I know the lady could cook! I do have charming memories of watching The French Chef when I was a kid but it didn't particularly inspire me to cook. If we learn from example, then I was more likely to make a big pot of cabbage soup or pop a tv dinner into the oven than try and concoct clafoutis or coq au vin. I never attempted to cook like Julia Child nor did I expect French food to ever appear on my mother's kitchen table. No, I wasn't an enthusiastic fan of The French Chef for the food. What I loved about those shows was Julia herself. It was her enormous personality, her energy, her own passion for cooking -- and eating -- and her humor that inspired and entertained me. Her casual nonchalance, her endearing lack of grace and lack of beauty made me, a clumsy ugly duckling, a little more at ease with myself, less embarrassed by my faults and maybe a bit more confident in my own talents, whatever they would turn out to be. The Galloping Gourmet, my other television hero, was all sexiness and suavity, charisma, British accent and perfection while Julia was, well, Julia.
Today, my personal relationship with, my passion for Julia Child has transformed into something else completely. As I have gotten older, our connection has grown more complex. Thirty some odd years after first discovering her on television, twenty-five years after receiving her cookbooks, what fascinates and inspires me today was Julia's age when she discovered her passion for cooking, her age when she embarked on an entirely new career. Julia was a ripe old 36 when she arrived in Paris and succumbed to the incredible cuisine and ambiance of her adopted country, 37 when she enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school. She was in her forties, stoutly Middle Aged, when she embarked on her career of teaching, cooking and writing, 49 when published for the first time. You see, I moved to France, not quite as old as Julia was -- but almost -- and slowly discovered the incredible food. I was married and pushing middle age before I, too, began my own love affair with French cuisine. And here I am, like Julia, a woman of a certain age, on the brink of starting over, embarking on my own new career. Julia has become my role model, a woman who was able to transform and recreate herself, daring to start over long past the age that we are told we should already know who we are and where we are going. Long past my own prime, or so society tells me, I glance around at all the young whippersnappers in their twenties and thirties who have discovered their own passions for writing or photography, some of whom leave college armed with creative writing or journalism degrees or those who go onto culinary school or are given a camera when still a babe in arms and it intimidates me. I question my choices and the possibilities of a future. I wonder if I am just plain crazy to be doing this now and up against all of those who have been at it for years. And so Julia's own history, her life, which is in many ways similar to my own, reassures and spurs me on.
I look at those old black and white episodes of The French Chef and see a funny, witty woman, not particularly elegant, larger than life who tromped fearlessly through France in her size twelve shoes, who grabbed at life with much more gusto than the average human can muster up on any ordinary day. I see a woman who made a name for herself in what was thoroughly and insistently a man's world in both France and the US. And I am encouraged. Connected by the revelation of a first sole meunière, mine eaten at that venerable old Parisian icon Chartier, hers at La Couronne in Rouen, a first oyster, mine tasted with the same mixture of curiosity and fear at a bustling brasserie on La Place de la Bourse, culinary lightbulbs popping and flashing, Julia and I are united by the irresistible urge to make food our life, our career. And while she dove in head first, no looking back, and I tiptoed in rather hesitantly, we both stumbled upon a passion and a new start quite by accident and surprise and later in life than either one of us should have. In my constant search for inspiration, Julia is my muse.
Julia Child's 100th birthday is bringing out the nostalgic in all of us. Fans all across America talk about how Julia inspired, gave them the courage to take to the kitchen and, whisk in hand, whip up their own mayonnaise or hollandaise she encouraged them to master a traditional bouillabaisse she offered the perfect recipe for the perfect clafoutis she had the country rolling out homemade pastry dough for an authentic Quiche Lorraine. Proverbial sticks of butter are being laid at the altar of the Grande Dame of classic French cooking updated for the modern American kitchen. Yet while all wax eloquent on how Julia got them cooking, I thank her for simply, unknowingly inspiring me to write, to forge a new career, for giving me the assurance to start over at my age and for doing it joyously, confidently and with relish. As Julia once said, "Find something you are passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it." And to slightly appropriate another of Julia's truths "The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking -- and writing -- you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude."
Julia Child quotes about life
1. “I don’t think about whether people will remember me or not. I’ve been an okay person. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve taught people a thing or two. That’s what’s important. Sooner or later the public will forget you, the memory of you will fade. What’s important is the individuals you’ve influenced along the way.” – Julia Child
2. “Well, all I know is this—nothing you ever learn is really wasted, and will sometime be used.” – Julia Child
3. “The sweetness and generosity and politeness and gentleness and humanity of the French had shown me how lovely life can be if one takes time to be friendly.” – Julia Child
4. “Drama is very important in life: You have to come on with a bang. You never want to go out with a whimper. Everything can have drama if it’s done right. Even a pancake.” – Julia Child
5. “Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” – Julia Child
6. “…no one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.” – Julia Child
7. “Until I discovered cooking, I was never really interested in anything.” – Julia Child
8. “Just speak very loudly and quickly, and state your position with utter conviction, as the French do, and you’ll have a marvelous time!” – Julia Child
9. “…The more I learned the more I realized how very much one has to know before one is in-the-know at all.” – Julia Child
10. “But how nice it is that one can come to know someone just through correspondence, and become really passionate friends.” – Julia Child
Julia Child founded ɼult of the kitchen,' her friend recalls
Ariane Daguin is a French culinary expert and the founder of D’Artagnan, a purveyor of specialty meats and delicacies. Here, she writes about her relationship with Julia Child, whom she met and befriended almost three decades ago
Julia Child was the initiator of the good-food crusade. In our world of gastronomy, there are definitely two Americas: the one before Julia, and the one after.
She was the pioneer who elevated good food to a higher priority in this country. Without her, legions of dedicated artisanal suppliers, passionate chefs, and prolific writers would not be here today, arguing about the true meaning of organic or local and seasonal boundaries or the proper age of a Berkshire pig to achieve ideal belly fat.
It’s wonderful to see the world celebrating Julia on the 100th anniversary of her birth. But I’m not surprised, because there is no other “food celebrity” who inspires more affection and devotion. She was the beginning of our modern concept of a food celebrity.
Julia's personality was so huge and so generous that it came through the TV. Whether she was tossing a limp, American-style baguette over her shoulder in disgust or burning her eyebrows off making bananas flambé, Julia embodied the spirit of adventure in cooking. She was always learning, even as she taught. She made cooking entertaining, took it from drudgery to artistry and beyond that, to fun. And she did it in very approachable way, making mistakes, dropping things on the floor, the way you do in real life. Suddenly, French food wasn’t so fancy it was food you could make at home.
I met Julia, who would end up helping me promote D’Artagnan, while her influence was at its height. She could not participate in a cooking seminar, enter a restaurant, or even cross the street without creating a mob scene. So I learned quickly that once we entered a public place, whether intimate or not, there would be no more one-on-one conversation.
At the time, 28 years ago (when D'Artagnan started), she was actively working to organize the gastronomes of the country, and constantly invited us to participate in her events and gatherings. When we were together, she would take me under her wing, like a second mother this side of the Atlantic Ocean. As we giggled in French between ourselves, she would make a point to introduce me to everybody in sight who was “somebody.”
I remember one of the first conferences of the American Institute of Wine and Food, which Julia helped create. We had an extremely animated discussion with author Calvin Trillin about cooking spare ribs, and another with chef Alice Waters, about which kind of thyme can grow where. At every food show we would walk the aisles together, creating an instant mob scene wherever we decided to stop and taste the goods.
The last time I saw Julia was in Boston, just before she left to retire in Santa Barbara, Calif. We went to a cocktail event where, as usual, all the guests flocked around her the minute we entered the room. That evening, for the first time, she had to ask for a chair and continue her greetings while seated.
The next day, she asked me to meet her for lunch at Biba, Lydia Shire's restaurant, which was then THE place to be in Boston. When I got there, Julia was already at the table, seated in front of a tall drink that appeared to be tomato juice. Going with what I assumed was the flow, I asked the waiter for a Bloody Mary. To which Julia added, in her unmistakable multi-tone voice: "Oh, what a good idea! Could you make mine one, too?"
Lydia arrived on the double, with a bottle of vodka in hand. Glasses were filled (constantly), and I remember nothing but that sentence, which I try, very badly, to imitate once in a while.
You can’t overestimate the importance of a cultural phenomenon like Julia. Without her, would we even have multiple TV channels dedicated to cooking shows? Or so many food blogs? I think that the cult of the kitchen started with Julia. She made people want to cook, talk about food and challenge themselves in the kitchen.
And even now, years after her death, her fame grows with biographical books and movies. This month, to celebrate the 100th anniversary, restaurants around the country are offering special menus of her recipes.
But most of all, there are people cooking her recipes at home. That’s her true legacy. She got people to embrace French cuisine in their kitchens, with her confident voice ringing in their ears and her inspired (and tested!) recipes as a guide. Her joie de vivre and passion for food were infectious, and sharing them on her TV show made French food accessible to Americans. It made her a star, and she even created a catchphrase -- that sing-song trademark signoff, “Bon appétit!”
Do you have a favorite Julia Child recipe or memory? Share it in the comments below!
How Julia Child and Hours of PBS Helped My Mother Adapt to Her New American Life
In the 1980s, when I was seven- or eight-years-old, on Sundays my mother and I would watch reruns of the The French Chef or new seasons of Everyday Cooking with Jacques Pépin and Yan Can Cook on PBS. My mother, who immigrated from India to New Jersey in 1977 when she was only 23, made me quickly transcribe recipes as best I could (pre-DVR days) into a steno-style notebook that she kept in her "everything drawer."
In the narrow kitchen, where she only wore her softest cotton salwar khameezes—"I'm not comfortable cooking in pants," she said—we’d try our hands at everything we’d seen, from Julia Child’s "Vegetables the French Way" to Martin Yan’s cashew chicken. Some of our kitchen experiments, like chrysanthemum chicken, failed—often due to my inaccurate or sloppy transcription—but we reproduced many a classic, like an impeccable poulet rôti. These dishes sat side-by-side with whatever else my mother had prepared for dinner: warm roti, nutty dhal, homemade yogurt.
My mother used food television to expand her culinary knowledge of Western ingredients and technique, and to experience the exotic at a time when budgets were exceedingly tight. It also helped ease her assimilation into an entirely new culture. She channeled Child’s famous enthusiasm and mastered béchamel and how to déglacer and prepare a meal service à la russe, as she simultaneously acclimated to northeastern winters, navigated cross-cultural parenting, and returned to school for a degree in computer science.
With her discovery of Western techniques and new-to-her New World produce, such as broccoli and artichoke, as well as her indigenous knowledge of Indian cuisine, she cooked with incredible creativity and freedom. We ate Indian-influenced French classics like Indian-spiced ratatouille, heady with fenugreek, fennel, black mustard, nigella and cumin, and Italian-influenced Indian classics like oregano and basil chicken tikka served with a marinara-inspired chutney.
There were many missteps: she didn't understand the complexities of cheese until much later on (we once had processed cheese in lasagna) and she frequently substituted one herb for another—cilantro for sage, for example, only because she had the former in her backyard kitchen garden—and didn't consider how it might alter the flavors of the dish. She was very practical that way she used ingredients on hand, or those on sale at our local supermarket, or those she bought in bulk at the Indian grocers. My favorite meals were her mish-mash holiday offerings: tandoori chicken and biryani stuffing on Thanksgiving and chocolate mirror glazed besan ladoo for Diwali.
Food television's Eurocentric cultural hierarchy didn't bother her. Although she occasionally watched South Asian chefs on television, she turned them on merely for entertainment, not instruction. She adored Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cookery, as well as Jaffrey’s guest appearances on various other PBS shows, but she didn't need to be "taught" how to make egg curry or aloo gobi.
Lack of representation of people of color in American food media bothered me more than her. The blatant cultural appropriation of cuisines by white chefs rankled me as I became an opinionated teenager, and I turned away from food television. "What is ɺuthenticity'?" she asked me when I rolled my eyes at Martha Stewart's salmon with "Indian spices." Unlike me, her American-born daughter, she saw Stewart's or Christopher Kimball's embrace of Indian-style flavors as something to celebrate. "They can't take your food away from you," she said.
When our family home was finally outfitted with cable and satellite television in the 1990s, she would switch over from Food Network and PBS to Zee TV, an Indian cable and satellite television channel, to watch Khana Khazana, a Hindi-language cooking show that was the first of its kind when it launched in 1993. The show's host, Sanjeev Kapoor, a slight man with a widow's peak and dimples, taught traditional and original Indian recipes, and my mother urged me to transcribe once again. Kapoor approximated her style of cooking, from steel cut oats seasoned with garam masala to tiki (croquettes) made of quinoa. She was inspired by his flair.
While Pépin and Child remained favorites, cable television, and later YouTube, introduced my mother to new personalities and styles of cooking. Ina Garten and Mario Batali ranked at the top of her list, but she gave Rachael Ray and Guy Fieri a pass. She wanted nothing to do with competitive cooking. "I learn nothing from Chopped," she said she found The Next Food Network Star boring and Top Chef pretentious, despite my insistence that we watch to see a Brown woman as host. Later, I loved Aarti Sequeira's Aarti Party, because she most closely represented my food sensibilities on a large platform. My mother wasn't nearly as impressed "I could do this!" she said.
Recently, she asked me to set up a food blog for her.
"No one reads blogs anymore, Mom," I said. "Launch a YouTube channel." We live in a multigenerational home and, these days, our food media consumption is frequently dictated by my five-year-old daughter, who prefers Nerdy Nummies or Cookies, Cupcakes, and Cardio on YouTube or The Great British Baking Show on Netflix and PBS.
Food television allowed my mother to acculturate to a new life and diet my consumption of such media waxed and waned with my growing awareness as a person of color in America my daughter now watches to learn the best way to make an Elena of Avalor birthday cake or mermaid tail cupcakes, which is a different sort of assimilation and acculturation, I suppose.
We three now settle down into the couch and I prop an iPad on my knees, and my daughter swipes to find a how-to video for "galaxy" buttercream. Like her grandmother, my strong-willed and creative daughter finds joy in cooking videos, and I think she will be a force in the kitchen one day. I place a steno-style notebook in my daughter's hands she is just learning how to read and write. "Take down the recipe," says my mother. "We will make it together today!"
My daughter's notes (yes, blue is an ingredient).
Happy birthday, Julia, and thanks
I owe 37 years of happy marriage and good eating to Julia Child, America's doyenne of French cuisine who will celebrate her 90th birthday this summer. Like so many others in the United States, I am indebted to her for teaching me to cook.
In the early 1960s, Boston's WGBH launched the first of Julia Child's television cooking shows, "The French Chef," where Julia
demonstrated the techniques described in "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." At that time, I was a student at UC Berkeley. The free speech movement and my classics studies didn't enthrall me nearly as much as "The French Chef," which KQED-TV aired on Wednesday nights.
Nothing interfered with those 30 minutes. Julia later described herself in those early shows, taped live, as, "this woman tossing French omelets, splashing eggs about the place, brandishing big knives and panting heavily as she careened around the stove." I loved the lessons and the drama.
I met a charming but emaciated graduate student studying Beowulf. Noting his bony ribs, I invited him to dinner. This new boyfriend showed no interest in learning to cook, but we watched "The French Chef" together. He admired Julia's clear explanations of complex techniques, her skill with knives, her funny voice, her zeal and the show's controlled chaos. After a year of courtship, my cooking and Julia's show, Don and I married.
We left California for our first teaching jobs in Charlottesville, Virginia, and I started working my way through my favorite wedding present, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." I chopped and stirred, sauteed and whisked my way from Abricot, Glacage a l' to Zucchini in Eggplant Casserole. I honed my skills by repeating favorites like coquilles St. Jacques, chou-fleur en verdure, and charlotte Malakoff. I even made my own ladyfingers for the charlotte.
We finally had an income of sorts, and I could afford the ingredients for Julia's recipes. Every week at Safeway, I bought a pound of butter, a pint of whipping cream and herbs to flavor stocks and sauces. My skinny husband grew plump.
Upcoming Demo Schedule
Monday, July 26: Pleibol and Eat Well! Latino Culinary Traditions and Américas’ Game
Guest Chef: Dayanny de la Cruz
Virtual demonstration at 6:45 p.m. Tickets available for purchase here.
If you’re a baseball fan, you probably have some favorite ballpark foods ranging from nachos to tacos, but have you thought about the food heritages they draw on? Explore the tangible connections between baseball and Latino culinary traditions, food fusions, and experiences that reflect broader themes and trends in American history—the focus of the American History Museum's new exhibition ¡Pleibol! In the Barrios and the Big Leagues / En los barrios y las grandes ligas. This influence is easily seen in the food at stadiums across the country, from the Miami Mex hot dogs and Cubano sandwiches served at Tropicana Field in Florida to the Tex-Mex cuisine served at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. In celebration of the exhibition’s opening, Dayanny de la Cruz, executive chef at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida, prepares a meal that represents Latinos’ culinary cultures and heritage of baseball-loving families.
Thursday, August 5: Lena Richard’s New Orleans Cook Book: A Groundbreaking Story of Innovation and Resilience
Guest Chef: Dee Lavigne
Virtual demonstration at 6:45 p.m. Tickets available for purchase here.
Lena Richard, a Black chef and entrepreneur in New Orleans, built a dynamic culinary career in the segregated South, defying harmful stereotypes of Black women that hindered their participation in the creation and development of American food culture and its economy. She owned and operated catering businesses, eateries, a fine-dining restaurant, a cooking school, and an international frozen-food business. Her 1940 New Orleans Cook Book is the first Creole cookbook written by a Black author in a time when racial stereotypes permeated the food industry. Guest chef and New Orleanian Dee Lavigne prepares a classic Creole dish and recounts Richard’s story, which is currently featured in the case “The Only One in the Room: Women Achievers in Business and the Cost of Success,” in the American History Museum’s exhibition American Enterprise.
This program is hosted in collaboration with the Southern Food and Beverage Museum where Lavigne is the Director of Culinary Programming.
Thursday, September 30: Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge: Chinese Americans and the Power of Stir-Frying
Guest Chef: Grace Young
Virtual demonstration at 6:45 p.m. Tickets available for purchase here.
In Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge, culinary historian and award-winning cookbook author Grace Young writes of how the ancient technique of stir-frying played an important role in the culinary lives of Chinese migrants. In the United States, many families used their culinary skills to open businesses, including chop suey parlors, where that bland, made-up dish gained popularity. Young—known as “the stir-fry guru” and “wok therapist”— demonstrates her stir-fry expertise and shares tips on wok mastery for home cooks as she prepares a savory stir-fry of garlicky cabbage and bacon—a dish improvised in the 1940s by immigrant Lin Ong who used two common American ingredients to feed her nine children. She recounts her own San Francisco family’s unlikely wok story and her work to document COVID’s impact on Manhattan's Chinatown and to support the AAPI community nationwide.
On August 15, 1912, Child was born as Julia Carolyn McWilliams in Pasadena, California. Child's father was John McWilliams, Jr. (1880–1962), a Princeton University graduate and prominent land manager. Child's mother was Julia Carolyn ("Caro") Weston (1877–1937), a paper-company heiress.  Child's maternal grandfather was Byron Curtis Weston, a lieutenant governor of Massachusetts. Child was the eldest of three, followed by a brother, John McWilliams III, and sister, Dorothy Cousins.
Child attended Polytechnic School from 4th grade to 9th grade in Pasadena, California.  In high school, Child was sent to the Katherine Branson School in Ross, California, which was at the time a boarding school.  At six feet, two inches (1.88 m) tall, Child played tennis, golf, and basketball as a youth.
She also played sports while attending Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, from which she graduated in 1934 with a major in history.  
Child grew up in a family with a cook, but she did not observe or learn cooking from this person, and never learned until she met her husband-to-be, Paul, who grew up in a family very interested in food. 
Following her graduation from college, Child moved to New York City, where she worked as a copywriter for the advertising department of W. & J. Sloane.
Second World War Edit
Child joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in 1942   after finding that she was too tall to enlist in the Women's Army Corps (WACs) or in the U.S. Navy's WAVES.  She began her OSS career as a typist at its headquarters in Washington but, because of her education and experience, soon was given a more responsible position as a top-secret researcher working directly for the head of OSS, General William J. Donovan.   
As a research assistant in the Secret Intelligence division, she typed 10,000 names on white note cards to keep track of officers. For a year, she worked at the OSS Emergency Sea Rescue Equipment Section (ERES) in Washington, D.C. as a file clerk and then as an assistant to developers of a shark repellent needed to ensure that sharks would not explode ordnance targeting German U-boats.   From 1944–1945, she was posted to Kandy, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), where her responsibilities included "registering, cataloging and channeling a great volume of highly classified communications" for the OSS's clandestine stations in Asia.   She was later posted to Kunming, China, where she received the Emblem of Meritorious Civilian Service as head of the Registry of the OSS Secretariat.  
When Child was asked to solve the problem of too many OSS underwater explosives being set off by curious sharks, "Child's solution was to experiment with cooking various concoctions as a shark repellent," which were sprinkled in the water near the explosives and repelled sharks.  Still in use today, the experimental shark repellent "marked Child's first foray into the world of cooking . " 
For her service, Child received an award that cited her many virtues, including her “drive and inherent cheerfulness”.  As with other OSS records, her file was declassified in 2008. Unlike other files, her complete file is available online. 
While in Kandy, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) she met Paul Cushing Child, also an OSS employee, and the two were married on September 1, 1946, in Lumberville, Pennsylvania,  later moving to Washington, D.C. A New Jersey native  who had lived in Paris as an artist and poet, Paul was known for his sophisticated palate,  and introduced his wife to fine cuisine. He joined the United States Foreign Service, and, in 1948, the couple moved to Paris after the State Department assigned Paul there as an exhibits officer with the United States Information Agency.  The couple had no children.
Postwar France Edit
Child repeatedly recalled her first meal at La Couronne in Rouen as a culinary revelation once, she described the meal of oysters, sole meunière, and fine wine to The New York Times as "an opening up of the soul and spirit for me." In 1951, she graduated from the famous Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris and later studied privately with Max Bugnard and other master chefs.  She joined the women's cooking club Le Cercle des Gourmettes, through which she met Simone Beck, who was writing a French cookbook for Americans with her friend Louisette Bertholle. Beck proposed that Child work with them to make the book appeal to Americans. In 1951, Child, Beck, and Bertholle began to teach cooking to American women in Child's Paris kitchen, calling their informal school L'école des trois gourmandes (The School of the Three Food Lovers). For the next decade, as the Childs moved around Europe and finally to Cambridge, Massachusetts, the three researched and repeatedly tested recipes. Child translated the French into English, making the recipes detailed, interesting, and practical.
In 1963, the Childs built a home near the Provence town of Plascassier in the hills above Cannes on property belonging to co-author Simone Beck and her husband, Jean Fischbacher. The Childs named it "La Pitchoune", a Provençal word meaning "the little one" but over time the property was often affectionately referred to simply as "La Peetch". 
Media career Edit
The three would-be authors initially signed a contract with publisher Houghton Mifflin, which later rejected the manuscript for seeming too much like an encyclopedia. Finally, when it was first published in 1961 by Alfred A. Knopf, the 726-page Mastering the Art of French Cooking  was a best-seller and received critical acclaim that derived in part from the American interest in French culture in the early 1960s. Lauded for its helpful illustrations and precise attention to detail, and for making fine cuisine accessible, the book is still in print and is considered a seminal culinary work. Following this success, Child wrote magazine articles and a regular column for The Boston Globe newspaper. She would go on to publish nearly twenty titles under her name and with others. Many, though not all, were related to her television shows. Her last book was the autobiographical My Life in France, published posthumously in 2006 and written with her grandnephew, Alex Prud'homme. The book recounts Child's life with her husband, Paul Cushing Child, in postwar France.
The French Chef and related books Edit
A 1962 appearance on a book review show on what was then the National Educational Television (NET) station of Boston, WGBH-TV (now a major Public Broadcasting Service station), led to the inception of her first television cooking show after viewers enjoyed her demonstration of how to cook an omelette. The French Chef had its debut on February 11, 1963, on WGBH and was immediately successful. The show ran nationally for ten years and won Peabody and Emmy Awards, including the first Emmy award for an educational program. Though she was not the first television cook, Child was the most widely seen. She attracted the broadest audience with her cheery enthusiasm, distinctively warbly voice, and unpatronizing, unaffected manner. In 1972, The French Chef became the first television program to be captioned for the deaf, even though this was done using the preliminary technology of open-captioning.
Child's second book, The French Chef Cookbook, was a collection of the recipes she had demonstrated on the show. It was soon followed in 1971 by Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume Two, again in collaboration with Simone Beck, but not with Louisette Bertholle, with whom the professional relationship had ended. Child's fourth book, From Julia Child's Kitchen, was illustrated with her husband's photographs and documented the color series of The French Chef, as well as provided an extensive library of kitchen notes compiled by Child during the course of the show. 
Impact on American households Edit
Julia Child had a large impact on American households and housewives. Because of the technology in the 1960s, the show was unedited, causing her blunders to appear in the final version and ultimately lend "authenticity and approachability to television."  According to Toby Miller in "Screening Food: French Cuisine and the Television Palate," one mother he spoke to said that sometimes "all that stood between me and insanity was hearty Julia Child" because of Child's ability to soothe and transport her. In addition, Miller notes that Child's show began before the feminist movement of the 1960s, which meant that the issues housewives and women faced were somewhat ignored on television. 
Later career Edit
In the 1970s and 1980s, she was the star of numerous television programs, including Julia Child & Company, Julia Child & More Company and Dinner at Julia's. For the 1979 book Julia Child and More Company, she won a National Book Award in category Current Interest.  In 1981, she founded the American Institute of Wine & Food,  with vintners Robert Mondavi and Richard Graff, and others, to "advance the understanding, appreciation and quality of wine and food," a pursuit she had already begun with her books and television appearances. In 1989, she published what she considered her magnum opus, a book and instructional video series collectively entitled The Way To Cook.
In the mid 90s, as part of her work with the American Institute of Wine and Food, Julia Child became increasingly concerned about children's food education. This resulted in the initiative known as Days of Taste.
Child starred in four more series in the 1990s that featured guest chefs: Cooking with Master Chefs, In Julia's Kitchen with Master Chefs, Baking with Julia, and Julia Child & Jacques Pépin Cooking at Home. She collaborated with Jacques Pépin many times for television programs and cookbooks. All of Child's books during this time stemmed from the television series of the same names.
Child's use of ingredients like butter and cream has been questioned by food critics and modern-day nutritionists. She addressed these criticisms throughout her career, predicting that a "fanatical fear of food" would take over the country's dining habits, and that focusing too much on nutrition takes the pleasure from enjoying food.   In a 1990 interview, Child said, "Everybody is overreacting. If fear of food continues, it will be the death of gastronomy in the United States. Fortunately, the French don't suffer from the same hysteria we do. We should enjoy food and have fun. It is one of the simplest and nicest pleasures in life." 
Julia Child's kitchen, designed by her husband, was the setting for three of her television shows. It is now on display at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. Beginning with In Julia's Kitchen with Master Chefs, the Childs' home kitchen in Cambridge was fully transformed into a functional set, with TV-quality lighting, three cameras positioned to catch all angles in the room, and a massive center island with a gas stovetop on one side and an electric stovetop on the other, but leaving the rest of the Childs' appliances alone, including "my wall oven with its squeaking door."  This kitchen backdrop hosted nearly all of Child's 1990s television series.
After her friend Simone Beck died in 1991 at the age of 87, Child relinquished La Pitchoune after a monthlong stay in June 1992 with her family, her niece, Phila, and close friend and biographer Noël Riley Fitch. She turned the keys over to Jean Fischbacher's sister, just as she and Paul had promised nearly 30 years earlier. That year, Child spent five days in Sicily at the invitation of Regaleali Winery. American journalist Bob Spitz spent a brief time with Child during that period while he was researching and writing his then working title, History of Eating and Cooking in America. In 1993, Child voiced Dr. Julia Bleeb in the animated film, We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story.
Spitz took notes and made many recordings of his conversation with Child, and these later formed the basis of a secondary biography on Child, published August 7, 2012 (Knopf), five days before the centennial of her birthdate.   Paul Child, who was ten years older than his wife, died in 1994 after living in a nursing home for five years following a series of strokes in 1989. 
In 2001, Child moved to a retirement community, donating her house and office to Smith College, which later sold the house. 
She donated her kitchen, which her husband had designed with high counters to accommodate her height, and which served as the set for three of her television series, to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, where it is now on display.  Her iconic copper pots and pans were on display at Copia in Napa, California, until August 2009 when they were reunited with her kitchen at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
In 2000, Child received the French Legion of Honor (Légion d'honneur)   and was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000.  She was awarded the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2003 she received honorary doctorates from Harvard University, Johnson & Wales University (1995), Smith College (her alma mater), Brown University (2000),  and several other universities. In 2007, Child was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame. 
On August 13, 2004, Child died of kidney failure in Montecito, California, at the age of 91.  Child ended her last book, My Life in France, with ". thinking back on it now reminds that the pleasures of the table, and of life, are infinite – toujours bon appétit!"  Her ashes were placed on the Neptune Memorial Reef near Key Biscayne, Florida.
The Julia Child Foundation Edit
In 1995, Julia Child established The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and Culinary Arts, a private charitable foundation to make grants to further her life's work. The Foundation, originally set up in Massachusetts, later moved to Santa Barbara, California, where it is now headquartered. Inactive until after Julia's death in 2004, the Foundation makes grants to other non-profits.  The grants support primarily gastronomy, the culinary arts and the further development of the professional food world, all matters of paramount importance to Julia Child during her lifetime. The Foundation's website provides a dedicated page listing the names of grant recipients with a description of the organization and the grant provided by the Foundation.  One of the grant recipients is Heritage Radio Network which covers the world of food, drink and agriculture.
Beyond making grants, the Foundation was also established to protect Julia Child's legacy it is the organization to approach to seek permission to use images of Julia Child and/or excerpts of her work. Many of these rights are jointly held with other organizations like her publishers and the Schlesinger Library at The Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University who may also need to be contacted. Recently, the Foundation has been more active in protecting these posthumous rights. Well known for her opposition to endorsements, the Foundation follows a similar policy regarding the use of Julia's name and image for commercial purposes. 
Tributes and homages Edit
The Julia Child rose, known in the UK as the "Absolutely Fabulous" rose, is a golden butter/gold floribunda rose named after Child.   
The exhibits in the West Wing (1 West) of the National Museum of American History address science and innovation. They include Bon Appétit! Julia Child's Kitchen.
On September 26, 2014, the US Postal Service issued 20 million copies of the "Celebrity Chefs Forever" stamp series, which featured portraits by Jason Seiler of five American chefs: Julia Child, Joyce Chen, James Beard, Edna Lewis, and Felipe Rojas-Lombardi. 
- 1965: Peabody Award for Personal Award for The French Chef
- 1966: Emmy for Achievements in Educational Television- Individuals for The French Chef
- 1980: U.S. National Book Awards for Current Interest (hardcover) for Julia Child and More Company
- 1996: Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Service Show Host for In Julia's Kitchen with Master Chefs
- 2001: Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Service Show Host for Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home
- 1972: Emmy for Special Classification of Outstanding Program and Individual Achievement – General Programming for The French Chef
- 1994: Emmy for Outstanding Informational Series for Cooking with Master Chefs
- 1997: Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Service Show Host for Baking with Julia
- 1999: Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Service Show Host for Baking with Julia
- 2000: Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Service Show Host for Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home
Child was a favorite of audiences from the moment of her television debut on public television in 1963, and she was a familiar part of American culture and the subject of numerous references, including numerous parodies in television and radio programs and skits. Her great success on air may have been tied to her refreshingly pragmatic approach to the genre, "I think you have to decide who your audience is. If you don't pick your audience, you're lost because you're not really talking to anybody. My audience is people who like to cook, who want to really learn how to do it." In 1996, Julia Child was ranked No. 46 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time. 
On stage Edit
- portrayed Child in a 1989 one-woman short musical play, Bon Appétit!, based on one of Child's televised cooking lessons, with music by American opera composer Lee Hoiby. The title derived from her famous TV sign-off "Bon appétit!" 
On television Edit
- She was the inspiration for the character "Julia Grownup" on the Children's Television Workshop program, The Electric Company (1971–1977).
- In a 1978 Saturday Night Live sketch (episode 74  ), she was parodied by Dan Aykroyd, who—as Julia Child—continued with a cooking show despite ludicrously profuse bleeding from a cut to his thumb, and eventually expired while advising, "Save the liver." Child reportedly loved this sketch so much she showed it to friends at parties. 
- She was parodied on The Cosby Show in the 1984 episode "Bon Jour Sondra" by characters Cliff and Theo Huxtable. 
- She appeared in an episode of This Old House as designer of the kitchen. This Old House was launched in 1979 by Russell Morash, who helped create The French Chef with Julia Child. 
- In 1982, she was portrayed by John Candy in a sketch for Second City Television, "Battle of the PBS Stars," in which she took part in a boxing match against fellow PBS star Mr. Rogers, who was parodied by Martin Short. She lost the match after taking multiple blows to the head from Rogers' puppet King Friday. 
- In 2014, she was portrayed in season 6, episode 5 of Rupaul's Drag Race by Dan Donigan, known as Milk on the show, as part of the Snatch Game challenge. 
- She was the character Gabi Diamond's inspiration on the TV show Young and Hungry (2014-2018).
- In 2019, she was portrayed in season 1, episode 4 of RuPaul's Drag Race UK by Divina de Campo, who placed in the bottom three of the episode.
In 2002, Child was the inspiration for "The Julie/Julia Project", a popular cooking blog by Julie Powell that was the basis of Powell's bestselling book, Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen, published in 2005, the year following Child's death. The paperback version of the book was retitled Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously.    The blog and book, along with Child's own memoir My Life in France, in turn inspired the 2009 feature film Julie & Julia in which Meryl Streep portrayed Child. For her performance, Streep was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress.
Child is reported to have been unimpressed by Powell's blog, believing Powell's determination to cook every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a year to be a stunt. In an interview, Child's editor, Judith Jones, said of Powell's blog: "Flinging around four-letter words when cooking isn't attractive, to me or Julia. She didn't want to endorse it. What came through on the blog was somebody who was doing it almost for the sake of a stunt." 
On March 15, 2016, Twitch started to stream Julia Child's show The French Chef. This event was in celebration of both the launch of the cooking section of Twitch and the anniversary of Child's graduation from Le Cordon Bleu. 
Television series Edit
- The French Chef (1963–1966 1970–1973)
- Julia Child & Company (1978–1979)
- Julia Child & More Company (1980–1982)
- Dinner at Julia's (1983–1985)
- Julia Child's The Way to Cook" (1985)
- The Way To Cook (1989) six one-hour videocassettes
- A Birthday Party for Julia Child: Compliments to the Chef (1992)
- Cooking with Master Chefs: Hosted by Julia Child (1993–1994) 16 episodes
- Cooking In Concert: Julia Child & Jacques Pépin (1993)
- In Julia's Kitchen with Master Chefs (1994–1996), 39 episodes
- Cooking in Concert: Julia Child & Jacques Pépin (1995) 
- Baking with Julia (1997–1999) 39 episodes
- Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home (1999–2000) 22 episodes
- Julia Child's Kitchen Wisdom, (2000) two-hour special
DVD releases Edit
Julia Child's Kitchen Wisdom (2000) Julia and Jacques: Cooking at Home (2003) Julia Child: America's Favorite Chef (2004) The French Chef: Volume One (2005) The French Chef: Volume Two (2005) Julia Child! The French Chef (2006) The Way To Cook (2009) Baking With Julia (2009)
Welcome to the New World: doubting Thomas eats humble pie
16 Thursday Feb 2012
Cheers to Peace below stairs
Downton Abbey fans were thrilled with the news in S2 Episode 6 that the Great War was over, particularly after the previous sombre episode where Matthew and William come home wounded from the war, and William succumbs to his injuries. Bummer. At long last we will be able to return to new fashions, extravagent dinners, turkey shoots, garden parties, and other gaity that goes on in the life of the privileged, and those so happy to be in service to them. Life does go on, but alas, not in the way that anyone had hoped. Continue reading &rarr
Ugh. I had such hopes for this book, but after listening to about 3 hrs of it I gave up. The author seemed so caught in every minute detail of her life that he couldn&apost get to the good stuff. During the 3 hrs that I listened, I learned that she had ancestry back to the Mayflower, wore a gingham dress as part of her high school uniform and ate at dinners in New York during the 1930&aposs. Shesh!
The author also tended to have a tone of superiority in his writing that i really didn&apost like. Several time Ugh. I had such hopes for this book, but after listening to about 3 hrs of it I gave up. The author seemed so caught in every minute detail of her life that he couldn't get to the good stuff. During the 3 hrs that I listened, I learned that she had ancestry back to the Mayflower, wore a gingham dress as part of her high school uniform and ate at dinners in New York during the 1930's. Shesh!
The author also tended to have a tone of superiority in his writing that i really didn't like. Several times I felt that I might have to stop and defend Julia, which is just among sillies ideas ever.
However, if you are looking for a ridiculously detailed book about Julia's life, you'll enjoy this. If not, go read Julia's memoir, My Life in France. It's far more interesting, has Julia's voice & is much shorter. . more
I have adored Julia Child ever since I saw her cook on PBS in the 1970s. I hands down give her credit for my love of food and cooking. I have more of her cookbooks than any other in my collection (nine) and never pass up the opportunity to read something about her, or catch an old episode of “Jacques and Julia.” So when my own dearie brought home the latest biography in honor of her 100th birthday, I couldn’t wait to sit down and sink in.
I love the story that Child started cooking while in her I have adored Julia Child ever since I saw her cook on PBS in the 1970s. I hands down give her credit for my love of food and cooking. I have more of her cookbooks than any other in my collection (nine) and never pass up the opportunity to read something about her, or catch an old episode of “Jacques and Julia.” So when my own dearie brought home the latest biography in honor of her 100th birthday, I couldn’t wait to sit down and sink in.
I love the story that Child started cooking while in her late 30s and “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” was published when she was in her 50s. For those of us looking for someone to look up to for that second phase of life, she was it. A consummate businesswoman, she worked well into her late 80s. That said, Spitz added a bit of dust to her shine, at least for me. She allowed her lawyer to cut ties with longtime publisher and editor Knopf and Judith Jones in one fell swoop, she was a raging homophobe, she had a facelift (!), and she was emotionless and sometimes caustic. While everyone has looked up to the love affair and marriage of Paul and Julia Child, Paul was at times an incredibly difficult man, especially following a series of heart attacks and strokes. How was Julia able to balance a crazy schedule of TV and book appearances as well as writing the latest and greatest cookbook AND taking care of her unwell husband all at once? Spitz gave us only the slightest look. I probably would have crawled under a rock, but she appeared to deal this deck she was given with aplomb and finesse. I wonder how that is possible. All these and much more have lead me to look at her in a different light.
Spitz has a definite voice as a biographer adding his own opinion here, comments there. When I read biographies I really don’t want the voice of the writer, I want to hear the voice of the subject.
I’m glad I read this book, but feel like a young child who discovers there is no Santa Claus still somewhat mystified by the myth, yet sad it isn’t what I had imagined. . more
I might have been impressed by this book if I hadn&apost already read Noel Riley Fitch&aposs Appetite For Life last summer and Julia Child&aposs own My Life In France several years before that. But I have. So I wasn&apost.
There is little new material here.Aside from an occasional nugget or two, everything here was covered in those books. Spitz spends a good deal of time imposing his own view of Julia upon her behavior, commenting on social history and slanging American home cooking--and as a home cook myself, t I might have been impressed by this book if I hadn't already read Noel Riley Fitch's Appetite For Life last summer and Julia Child's own My Life In France several years before that. But I have. So I wasn't.
There is little new material here.Aside from an occasional nugget or two, everything here was covered in those books. Spitz spends a good deal of time imposing his own view of Julia upon her behavior, commenting on social history and slanging American home cooking--and as a home cook myself, there are other choices between can/frozen food cooking and Julia's masterpieces when it comes to everyday dinners!
Spitz also attempts to be hip, describing a young Julia in college as getting "shit faced" drunk and other such phrases that are more Julie Powell than Julia Child. His frequent comments about her "saucy" sense of humor come off as more cutsey than anything else. And how about the infamous valentines she and Paul used to make and send their friends? Far more telling than most of the incidents he brings up, and he only mentions that in passing.
This is getting good publicity, but if you want better, truer portraits of our Julia, read the other books and give this one a pass. . more
on chapter 14 today
This is a book that you don&apost want to finish because you don&apost want it to end. It&aposs re-energizing my drive to bake more bread . not really the right time for that at the moment.
Six years in France 4 in Paris, 2 in Marseille. What an amazing experience and Julia maximized it.
Fascinating the relationship between Julia and the two French women collaborators and then her connection with Avis DeVoto - I loved that book "As Always, Julia".
Hate to have finished this.
This was a wo on chapter 14 today
This is a book that you don't want to finish because you don't want it to end. It's re-energizing my drive to bake more bread . not really the right time for that at the moment.
Six years in France 4 in Paris, 2 in Marseille. What an amazing experience and Julia maximized it.
Fascinating the relationship between Julia and the two French women collaborators and then her connection with Avis DeVoto - I loved that book "As Always, Julia".
Hate to have finished this.
This was a wonderful mix between easy reading facts and presenting a wonderful life and character. . more
I bought this book on a whim. While I enjoy some biographies, I really had little interest in Julia Child. Sure, I read "Julie and Julia" and liked it well enough - thought the movie did not live up to the book. But I don&apost do French cooking and while I love to eat, I don&apost like spending all day in the kitchen.
This turned out to be another book I could not put down. If I&aposd known Julia Child, I&aposd have been so proud to be her friend. She epitomizes the strong woman - coupled with optimism, passion I bought this book on a whim. While I enjoy some biographies, I really had little interest in Julia Child. Sure, I read "Julie and Julia" and liked it well enough - thought the movie did not live up to the book. But I don't do French cooking and while I love to eat, I don't like spending all day in the kitchen.
This turned out to be another book I could not put down. If I'd known Julia Child, I'd have been so proud to be her friend. She epitomizes the strong woman - coupled with optimism, passion, dedication. Wow, just wow.
The author admits to having a "crush" on her. Well, add me to the list of the many who admire nearly everything about her. Don't let the frumpy clothing fool you - this was a take-no-prisoners, eternally young artist. And ridiculously likeable. Bob Spitz brings Julia to exciting, vibrant life. I loved this book. I'm lifting a glass to Julia tonight.
My husband says I have weird tastes. As I mentioned in my review of the last Julia Child book I read, I have no obsession with food or France. I don&apost cook often. Yet, here I am, reading this extensive biography of Julia Child. I just don&apost like to (usually) limit myself!
My ideas of Julia Child were fairly vague till now, then formed a bit more after reading My Life in France, but now they&aposre fairly solid, though probably not quite comprehensive yet.
The reason I say this is because this book, wh My husband says I have weird tastes. As I mentioned in my review of the last Julia Child book I read, I have no obsession with food or France. I don't cook often. Yet, here I am, reading this extensive biography of Julia Child. I just don't like to (usually) limit myself!
My ideas of Julia Child were fairly vague till now, then formed a bit more after reading My Life in France, but now they're fairly solid, though probably not quite comprehensive yet.
The reason I say this is because this book, while very extensively covering Julia's life (what is it about Julia that we want to call her by her first name?), definitely displayed a certain - positive - bias. The author admits as much in his Sources and Acknowledgments section, wherein he says that he had "a powerful crush on her." I'm not sure if it was because of this, but at times I felt I wanted the other side of the story, such as with her rivalry with the "woman from Newton."
It was really interesting to learn about her political views as well - how she was liberal, fought to bring women into the spotlight, and supported Planned Parenthood. Yet, she was seen as a homophobe up till a certain point in her life, and she railed against things like the Environmental Defense Fund and Rachel Carson. Alas, there is no black and white in the world - things are pretty much always grey.
But overall, I enjoyed reading this and learning more about Julia's life. She was definitely an inspiring woman, quite a character, and someone without whom the US probably wouldn't be the way it is today. . more
A good biography doesn&apost read like a biography. It doesn&apost speak directly about the person (the subject) and start sentence after sentence with "she _______" or make blatant statements about their character like "Julia was a non-conformist." It also doesn&apost speak with a pre-determined tone of what we know or expect the person to be- merely confirming and reinforcing the general opinion or knowledge about the person. These are all of the reasons why this is not an interesting or well written biog A good biography doesn't read like a biography. It doesn't speak directly about the person (the subject) and start sentence after sentence with "she _______" or make blatant statements about their character like "Julia was a non-conformist." It also doesn't speak with a pre-determined tone of what we know or expect the person to be- merely confirming and reinforcing the general opinion or knowledge about the person. These are all of the reasons why this is not an interesting or well written biography.
Try instead a gradual and intimate unfolding of detail and story in Appetite for Life: The Biography of Julia Child by Noël Riley Fitch. It reads like good history books, drawing you closer to the subject, illuminating aspects of their world with context and depth. A good biographer is a intimate storyteller surrounding a person's life- without directly "telling" about the person. We are what happens to us and what we do in the eyes of others, and capturing that is the goal of biography/memoir. . more
Dearie tells the story of Julia Child, one of my heroes. She was a late bloomer, who, a decade after graduating from Smith (and barely at that) still didn&apost know what the heck to do with her life. By the time she died in 2004, two days shy of her 92nd birthday, she was an American icon. Her kitchen can be seen in the Smithsonian, and on this web link http://amhistory.si.edu/juliachild/
Biographies are perhaps my favorites reads. I am always interested in reading about the childhood of intriguing Dearie tells the story of Julia Child, one of my heroes. She was a late bloomer, who, a decade after graduating from Smith (and barely at that) still didn't know what the heck to do with her life. By the time she died in 2004, two days shy of her 92nd birthday, she was an American icon. Her kitchen can be seen in the Smithsonian, and on this web link http://amhistory.si.edu/juliachild/
Biographies are perhaps my favorites reads. I am always interested in reading about the childhood of intriguing people, wondering what it was that motivated them, or what circumstances of timing and opportunity shaped who they became. By all accounts Julia was destined to be the stuffy conservative socialite wife of some wealthy entrepreneur or old school moneyed family. If, that is, she survived the hi-jinks of her childhood and college years. She was a party animal who eventually looked for more.
When WWII came, she entered the OSS, having been turned down by the WAVEs and the WACs because at 6'2" (or maybe 6'3" depending on who you asked) she was too tall. She worked during WWII in India, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and China. Rather than be a bored diplomat's wife after she finally married her OSS cohort, Paul Child, she went to Le Cordon Bleu, published a book at age 49, and at age 51 became a television sensation. I remember. I watched her. She demystified cooking. She was funny, the down-to-earth woman who encouraged you to be brave and have fun with the food. She let us eat butter, and cream, and good red wine.
Thank you Julia Child, and thank you Bob Spitz for this wonderfully rich biography that lets us learn more about this pioneering woman who paved the way for every cooking and food show out there today. Bob Spitz captured her free spirited, opinionated, humorous outlook on life, without skimping on the difficult parts she endured. The book is long, but well worth the read. . more
Having read My Life in France and Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen some years ago, I was intrigued to read this biography of renowned culinary star, Julia Child. Julia Child&aposs warbling voice was frequently heard in my parents&apos home as my mother was a devoted fan. Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1 & 2: The Essential Cooking Classics was the frequent source of delicious meals cooked by my mother. So, I am no stranger to Julia. I was, howev Having read My Life in France and Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen some years ago, I was intrigued to read this biography of renowned culinary star, Julia Child. Julia Child's warbling voice was frequently heard in my parents' home as my mother was a devoted fan. Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1 & 2: The Essential Cooking Classics was the frequent source of delicious meals cooked by my mother. So, I am no stranger to Julia. I was, however, an indifferent fan.
Reading made Julia Child come alive for me. She became three-dimensional. Her husband, Paul Child, also became fleshed out. Both Julia and Paul had issues with their families that shaped their lives and personalities. Paul seemed dark and mercurial but always supportive of Julia. Julia was rather larger than life, an over-the-top personality, domineering, ribald, and obsessive to a fault when it came to mastering cooking and, subsequently, writing her several cookbooks, as well as becoming t.v.'s French Chef.
Paul became "second fiddle" to Julia a role he never wore comfortably but one he accepted with intensity and loyalty. Julia considered Paul the love of her life and he felt the same way about her. They supported, encouraged, and defended each other through all the travails of their more than 45 years together.
is one of the best biographies I have read. It seems well balanced in spite of the author's admitted crush on his subject. . more
Before there was a Food Network, there was Julia Child. "Dearie" is an entertaining and often poignant look at her life.
Bob Spitz presents us with a well-researched biography that could easily have been dry as burnt toast and instead lets us see behind the television personality to the woman.
Julia McWilliams was born in 1912 into a well-to-do Pasadena family and seemed to have her life mapped out ideas about women&aposs roles were firmly entrenched in both society and her family. Instead, she longs Before there was a Food Network, there was Julia Child. "Dearie" is an entertaining and often poignant look at her life.
Bob Spitz presents us with a well-researched biography that could easily have been dry as burnt toast and instead lets us see behind the television personality to the woman.
Julia McWilliams was born in 1912 into a well-to-do Pasadena family and seemed to have her life mapped out ideas about women's roles were firmly entrenched in both society and her family. Instead, she longs to break out after attending Smith College, she is at loose ends until she decides to work for the OSS. Traveling all over the world, she meets a fascinating new circle of friends . and her future husband, Paul Child.
It is Paul's OSS assignment to Paris that brings Julia into a whole new world of food, including fighting her way into Le Cordon Bleu classes with more content than those offered to bored housewives. Child is eager to learn proper technique, which becomes extremely important later when she and two of her friends decide that they want to write a cookbook that teaches American women how to prepare French food (the famous "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" books).
Spitz not only takes us through the ups and downs of the Childs' marriage, but also the challenges involved in producing cookbooks (constant testing of recipes and techniques) and even producing the first television cooking show ("The French Chef"). The format is now a familiar one: a chef in the kitchen talking about how to use the ingredients and/or prepare the dishes, all the while producing pots and pans that show all stages from start to finished project.
I think it is fair to say that there would be no Food Network without the pioneering efforts of Julia Child!
This is not, however, a book about cooking. It's about a fascinating and complex woman who loved good food and wine, could swear like a stevedore, and was always ripe for some kind of adventure. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
(Review based on uncorrected advance proof.) . more
Author Bob Spitz spent several weeks traveling through Sicily with Julia Child in 1992 and admits that he developed “a powerful crush on her,” which inspired him to write Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child. The book’s release coincides with the 100th anniversary of her birth, and it’s the perfect way to celebrate the rich life of this culinary legend, television pioneer, and cultural icon. Both the author’s admiration and Julia’s larger-than-life personality shine through in this in-dept Author Bob Spitz spent several weeks traveling through Sicily with Julia Child in 1992 and admits that he developed “a powerful crush on her,” which inspired him to write Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child. The book’s release coincides with the 100th anniversary of her birth, and it’s the perfect way to celebrate the rich life of this culinary legend, television pioneer, and cultural icon. Both the author’s admiration and Julia’s larger-than-life personality shine through in this in-depth new account of her life.
In 1942, Julia wanted to join the Women’s Army Corps or the Navy WAVES, but she was rejected by both organizations because at 6’3” she was considered too tall. Instead, she began to work for the Office of Strategic Services (the precursor to the CIA). While working for the OSS, she met Paul Child, and they married in 1946. Paul and Julia moved to Paris in 1948, and Julia had a life-changing experience eating sole meunière on her first day in France. Food became Julia’s passion. She attended the Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and began to teach cooking. She also co-authored Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which is now considered a classic cookbook.
In 1962, Julia was featured on a segment of People Are Reading on Boston's WGBH to discuss her cookbook. She shocked the host by making an omelet on a hotplate on live television and unknowingly launched a revolution. That first television appearance led to her successful cooking show The French Chef, the growth of educational television and what later became PBS, and the current popularity of the Food Network and celebrity chefs. Julia was fearless in the kitchen and had a unique ability to make cooking seem completely accessible and fun. She made America wanted to cook along with her.
Julia passed away in 2004, but her ground-breaking work will always be remembered. She changed the landscapes of both American food and television. In the words of the lady herself, “Bon appétit!” . more
How many books about Julia Child can a person thoroughly enjoy? Three, it turns out. Having read Noel Riley Fitch’s biography, Appetite for Life, and Julia Child’s and Alex Prud’homme’s My Life in France, I wondered if Bob Spitz’s Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child might prove to be too much of the same. It did not. Though time line events were familiar, behind-the-scenes anecdotes and interviews were new.
Because of this third book about Julia Child, I think I understand her thinking and How many books about Julia Child can a person thoroughly enjoy? Three, it turns out. Having read Noel Riley Fitch’s biography, Appetite for Life, and Julia Child’s and Alex Prud’homme’s My Life in France, I wondered if Bob Spitz’s Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child might prove to be too much of the same. It did not. Though time line events were familiar, behind-the-scenes anecdotes and interviews were new.
Because of this third book about Julia Child, I think I understand her thinking and principles and decisions a bit better. Spitz presents more of her hard edges than the other books do. Whether his presentation of her driven, angry, rebellious, and earthy sides is out of balance with the real Julia Child, I do not know. Spitz also reveals business sides of publishing, television, and celebrity. As usual, my favorite take-away was renewed admiration for Julia Child’s belief in herself and her vision, as well as her exuberant taste buds and teaching passion.
The strength of Spitz’s biography is the stories. I didn’t want them to end. Conversations, negotiations, funny moments fascinated me. It is from many of these conversations that the book’s title came Dearie was how Julia Child often addressed people. The book’s weakness, in my opinion, was a dearth of photos.
I knew nothing about Julia Child, not even her existence until in a moment of synchronicity I recorded (unsuccessfully due to our crappy signal) Julie and Julia, then found this biog in our local library.
This is a very well-written biography, full of information but not over-burdened with footnotes or citations (they are available on the website should you wish to find out more). The prose is eminently readable, only occasionally falling prey to verbiage, most notably in chapter titles or referr I knew nothing about Julia Child, not even her existence until in a moment of synchronicity I recorded (unsuccessfully due to our crappy signal) Julie and Julia, then found this biog in our local library.
This is a very well-written biography, full of information but not over-burdened with footnotes or citations (they are available on the website should you wish to find out more). The prose is eminently readable, only occasionally falling prey to verbiage, most notably in chapter titles or referring to chapter titles. It really gave me a sense of who Julia was, what she was interested in, and the impact she had on American cuisine. It also made me long for another French holiday and some decent French food.
Julia was an amazing woman and I feel that she is well-served by this biography. It is fairly lengthy but an easy and addictive read - I ploughed through it in a few days as I couldn't put it down. . more
This large book probably covers more details about Julia&aposs and her families lives than you want to know. It did for me. It also shows the early development of PBS.
Living on the West Coast, all this action in Boston and New York might as well have been on Mars. In the 1960&aposs and 70&aposs, we were all about making a living and raising children. We were at war. Television was not an important part of our lives and French cooking even less so. We had cookbooks 101 ways to cook a hotdog the I hate to c This large book probably covers more details about Julia's and her families lives than you want to know. It did for me. It also shows the early development of PBS.
Living on the West Coast, all this action in Boston and New York might as well have been on Mars. In the 1960's and 70's, we were all about making a living and raising children. We were at war. Television was not an important part of our lives and French cooking even less so. We had cookbooks 101 ways to cook a hotdog the I hate to cook cookbook and Betty Crocker. What more did we need?
This is a compelling tale, going into much more depth than I needed to know. But it is well done since Mr. Spitz apparently had access to much of what Julia had written to her friends and family as well as getting into her personal papers.
Having read several other bios of Julia Child, I would say that, while this is a fine book, it is not my favorite (My Life in France & As Always Julia are my favorites, as they are taken from Ms. Child&aposs own words and focus on the 1940s-1960s). Spitz often draws conclusions about events and Child&aposs life that aren&apost supported by any evidence that he presents. Also, the time spent on her very early life, while interesting and important, seems overly long.
On the good side, Spitz presents an unvarn Having read several other bios of Julia Child, I would say that, while this is a fine book, it is not my favorite (My Life in France & As Always Julia are my favorites, as they are taken from Ms. Child's own words and focus on the 1940s-1960s). Spitz often draws conclusions about events and Child's life that aren't supported by any evidence that he presents. Also, the time spent on her very early life, while interesting and important, seems overly long.
On the good side, Spitz presents an unvarnished Child, the real person behind the gourmet hero that we know. She was very much a business woman (especially from the 1970s forward) and reacted to situations with little emotion. We also learn about the less appealing side of her beloved Paul who adored her and helped create the person that she would become but was also very judgmental and difficult. . more
I love Julia Child (Is there anyone in America who doesn&apost?) and this biography just made me love her more. From her pampered childhood in Pasadena, California to her rebellions against a restricted upper middle-class life, to her rather late in life embrace of French cuisine, she remains a likable and upstanding woman.
Julia Child looked at life squarely in the face and refused to accept defeat in anything she had put her mind to. That&aposs the way she lived her life - right up until it was her tu I love Julia Child (Is there anyone in America who doesn't?) and this biography just made me love her more. From her pampered childhood in Pasadena, California to her rebellions against a restricted upper middle-class life, to her rather late in life embrace of French cuisine, she remains a likable and upstanding woman.
Julia Child looked at life squarely in the face and refused to accept defeat in anything she had put her mind to. That's the way she lived her life - right up until it was her turn to "fall of the raft" (as she called death)
This was a joy of a book to read.
This is a wonderful, loving portrait of a real American character, Julia Child. Julia, nee McWillliams, came from a prominent and well-off Pasadena "pioneer" family. Her father was a curmudgeon and her mother was free-spirited and eccentric. Julia was an energetic tomboy with a brother who was somehow not quite capable or hardy enough in this family, and a sister, Dort, who grew to be 6"5"" tall. Brother John was sent back to New England to run the paper company that was the source of his mother This is a wonderful, loving portrait of a real American character, Julia Child. Julia, nee McWillliams, came from a prominent and well-off Pasadena "pioneer" family. Her father was a curmudgeon and her mother was free-spirited and eccentric. Julia was an energetic tomboy with a brother who was somehow not quite capable or hardy enough in this family, and a sister, Dort, who grew to be 6"5"" tall. Brother John was sent back to New England to run the paper company that was the source of his mother's family's original fortune. It is suggested that he was dyslexic and shy, which must have made life difficult for him in his boisterous, opinionated, high-energy family. During her grade school years, Julia spent her free hours leading a neighborhood gang of miscreants whose activities sometimes crossed the boundary between endearingly mischievous and dangerously delinquent.
She was sent to boarding school as a teenager, and then went on to Smith, where she earned respectable C grades, but didn't find her calling. Although the author didn't emphasize her drinking, Julia's enormous energy found both productive and unproductive outlets, and he mentions a few episodes when Julia overindulged during these years, and in later life. After a brief stint as a copywriter in NYC, Julia returned home when her mother became itll. Caro McWilliams died in 1937. Julia remained in California with her grieving father, but was at loose ends. She tried a few things, but nothing thrilled her and she fell into a rich girl's life, socializing and playing golf until WWII gave her a chance to live a bigger life.
Julia went to Washington and got a job with the OSS as a file clerk. In 1944, she was sent to Ceylon where she met Paul Child, who became the love of her life. Julia apparently had a zest for sex as well as for wine. She and Paul started off slowly, but became a life-long love match. When the war ended, Paul accepted a job in Paris, and Julia had no idea what she would do next. She stumbled into her love for food when Paul introduced her to French cuisine. Julia's enormous energy needed an outlet, and cooking became her saving interest. She eventually met two women with whom she would undertake to write a book for Americans about French cooking, which became a huge success, opening up opportunities for Julia, who despite her gangly, awkward appearance and odd voice, became an immediate TV star.
Julia was by all accounts a very warm and generous friend, but she could be cold-blooded in business matters, and in later years, was extremely devoted to maintaining her image. She was a Democrat and person who was never grasping for money (perhaps because she'd always had some), but who certainly knew how to maximize her earning power by coordinating TV series with the publishing of books. She was not hesitant to squeeze her publisher for a better deal using a lawyer who was thought sleazy by most. Julia was always admiring of handsome men, and was susceptible platonically to their attentions. When in later years Paul suffered a series of strokes, Julia missed the companionship they had shared for so long. When he finally had to be put in a home, Julia found another companion (platonic). She refused to nurse him through his final illness, though!
I enjoyed this very positive portrait of Julia Child, and feel prepared to read more critical views which I'm sure are available. She was a remarkably singular individual who had an enormous cultural impact. . more
With a few interruptions here and there, I read straight through this book. It has been described as an "affectionate" portrayal of Julia, and I think in the best sense of that word, it is. But luckily, the book does not romanticize or sentimentalize her, and that is to its credit. I was pretty critical when the book opened because of the author&aposs continual referrals to things as typically American, when the stuff he was describing seemed so white, WASPY and middle class to me. When he would say With a few interruptions here and there, I read straight through this book. It has been described as an "affectionate" portrayal of Julia, and I think in the best sense of that word, it is. But luckily, the book does not romanticize or sentimentalize her, and that is to its credit. I was pretty critical when the book opened because of the author's continual referrals to things as typically American, when the stuff he was describing seemed so white, WASPY and middle class to me. When he would say that "Americans" were eating this and thinking that and doing these things, I kept wondering which Americans he was talking about. He got off this track, luckily for me, and wrote more particularly about the McWilliams' class privilege (Julia Child was born McWilliams) and its workings in Pasadena, and my comfort level rose again. I was never comfortable with the author's superficial analysis of how racism and homophobia circulated in Julia's life.
There were a number of parts of this biography that drew me in. One was the emphasis on Child's shift from a directionless youth and post-adolescence, but one that always wanted something more, to her finding an interest and commitment that gave her purpose and direction. Another was the struggle to be taken seriously as a woman in a world where women were neither valued nor heard. And overall, I appreciated the author's efforts to explain the logic of Julia's perspectives on the events of her own life and the currents in American culture. While I was frequently critical of her views, I understood them much better, and I appreciated her need to earn a living and have authority. I was also pretty impressed by her ability to change her point of view. She had a certain flexibility and openness to others, even as she was firmly entrenched in the beliefs she cherished.
As a person who is critical of the CIA, I was interested in my own interest in her days in the OSS. I also learned that she and her husband Paul and a number of others were both politically progressive and involved in that work. How she and Paul were targeted, if even only briefly, by Joe McCarthy, was also compelling reading. I had known some of these bits from reading My Life in France and Julie and Julia, but there was more detail here, and I was glad to have it. As an aside, this was the first library book I read on the Kindle, and I liked the experience.
I've written little here about food and cooking even though the book is consumed by these topics and I was engaged reading about them. But in the end, it was not the food that most interested me, even though reading about the shifts in the food scene and their engagement with changing cultural movements reinforced the view that we can't take what we do as normative, but must always look at them in a cultural and political context. What Julia Child was criticizing in the American food scene when she first wrote Mastering the Art of French Cooking changed. And then she had to figure out who she was writing with and against. . more
I did not grow up with Julia Child on our television. Though my parents liked to cook, the cookbooks in our house and the shows on our local PBS station were The Victory Garden and The Frugal Gourmet, rather than The French Chef, In Julia&aposs Kitchen with Master Chefs, or Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home. Consequently, up until 2009, my mental image of Julia Child wasn&apost even Julia Child. It was Dan Aykroyd impersonating Julia Child on Saturday Night Live. That changed abruptly in 2009 when I saw J I did not grow up with Julia Child on our television. Though my parents liked to cook, the cookbooks in our house and the shows on our local PBS station were The Victory Garden and The Frugal Gourmet, rather than The French Chef, In Julia's Kitchen with Master Chefs, or Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home. Consequently, up until 2009, my mental image of Julia Child wasn't even Julia Child. It was Dan Aykroyd impersonating Julia Child on Saturday Night Live. That changed abruptly in 2009 when I saw Julie & Julia for the first time. Though I thought the idea of cooking your way through "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" intriguing, I was enchanted by Meryl Streep's Julia. Could the real thing possibly be as good as Streep made her out to be?
Enter "Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child." As it turns out, the real thing is even better.
"Dearie" spans the entirety of Julia's life, even briefly filling you in on her parents' familial history. It provides a wonderful sense of who Julia was as a person. I very much enjoyed reading about Julia and her husband Paul’s (amazing) relationship, Julia’s activism in advancing women in the culinary arts, her dedication to her craft, and her vehement refusal to let anyone try to turn her into a corporate sponsor. I was amazed to learn about her family's wealthy background, as well as Julia's apparent lack of interest in food or cooking until relatively late in life. It gives me great hope as an aspiring cook that she began cooking in her 30s, and was something of a fiasco in the kitchen to begin with.
I can't say I was as enthralled with Spitz's writing as I was with his portrayal of Julia herself. Though I eventually couldn't put it down, "Dearie" starts off rather slowly and I found the first 100 pages or so quite boring, and very repetitive. I was occasionally confused about chronology, as the author occasionally presented things out of chronological order, but didn’t indicate that fact until quite a bit into the digression. These technical problems did not in the least ruin the book for me, though they did tweak my nerves a bit.
"Dearie" is a good read for Julia fans, for people interested in food, or possibly even people interested in the history of haute cuisine in America and American eating habits. . more
I haven&apost always loved Julia Child. My first real knowledge of her was Dan Ackroyd spurting blood from his hand while admonishing us all, in Child&aposs warble-y voice to "Save the liver!" Basically I was born in 1966 when "The French Chef" is just gaining steam.
But somewhere along the line, I started loving her. So Bob Spitz already had me in the palm of his hand with this book.
Needless to say, with 500 and some pages, it is IN DEPTH. Having read Child&aposs "My Life in Paris," there is a lot of overla I haven't always loved Julia Child. My first real knowledge of her was Dan Ackroyd spurting blood from his hand while admonishing us all, in Child's warble-y voice to "Save the liver!" Basically I was born in 1966 when "The French Chef" is just gaining steam.
But somewhere along the line, I started loving her. So Bob Spitz already had me in the palm of his hand with this book.
Needless to say, with 500 and some pages, it is IN DEPTH. Having read Child's "My Life in Paris," there is a lot of overlap with that book. I feel like most of the overlap was about the writing and publishing of "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." So during these chapters of the book, I didn't feel it dragging just a bit. But if it is all new to you, then it won't be the case.
Where I think Spitz brought out tons of new details was regarding "The French Chef." That is new. And fascinating. And funny. And exciting.
Spitz appears to have interviewed tons of people and read diaries, journals and calendars and day planners. So he has details upon details and memories and quotes from people who were there.
The best part, is that he captured Julia's personality and gumption and left me feeling like I know HER rather that just know what she DID.
If you aren't totally smitten with Child, you probably will be after reading "Dearie." But "My Life in France" might be the better choice in that case. But "Dearie" is do detailed it is a much better choice! . more
I doubt I ever read a biography that covered every aspect of an individual’s life more thoroughly than this book. It was as though Bob Spitz had a ringside seat beginning with Julia Child’s childhood escapades and her relationship with her difficult father right on through years of trying to find her niche in the world. Then he recorded her unstoppable enthusiasm once she discovered a passion for French cooking. With her devoted husband Paul cheering her on, Julia mesmerized public television au I doubt I ever read a biography that covered every aspect of an individual’s life more thoroughly than this book. It was as though Bob Spitz had a ringside seat beginning with Julia Child’s childhood escapades and her relationship with her difficult father right on through years of trying to find her niche in the world. Then he recorded her unstoppable enthusiasm once she discovered a passion for French cooking. With her devoted husband Paul cheering her on, Julia mesmerized public television audiences with her culinary skills, recipes and a wicked sense of humor.
This is the story of a women who said what she thought and let the chips—along with utensils and anything else that got in her way—fall where they may. The book also offers an education in culinary trends and the chefs who espoused them. The author had access to a treasure trove of letters from Paul to his twin brother Charles almost daily for more than 30 years along with Julia’s frequent letters to her dear friend Simca. Plus Spitz interviewed Julia herself for various articles.
At times I could have done with a little less detail, and I would have preferred not to read some of the saltier expressions, but overall the book delivers exactly what it promises: a front row seat to the life of someone who changed the landscape of American cooking. Dearie includes a 21-page index and neat photos of Julia in action. Bon appetit!
Before Julia the state of American cuisine was deplorable, to say the least: mayo-slathered spam, tuna casserole with potato chips, mushy vegetables out of the can, instant mashed potatoes with an array of artificial flavourings. Yum (not). It seemed the market got carried away with convenience and futuristic know-how that leaned on synthetics a little too much. A meal was reduced to just an inconvenient pause for a re-fuel.
It took Julia one meal of sole meunière in France to launch her desti Before Julia the state of American cuisine was deplorable, to say the least: mayo-slathered spam, tuna casserole with potato chips, mushy vegetables out of the can, instant mashed potatoes with an array of artificial flavourings. Yum (not). It seemed the market got carried away with convenience and futuristic know-how that leaned on synthetics a little too much. A meal was reduced to just an inconvenient pause for a re-fuel.
It took Julia one meal of sole meunière in France to launch her destiny at 36 and change American perspective on enjoying food.
However, no matter how lustrous and distinguished her culinary career turned out to be, it is Julia's gusto for life that really drew me to her. I found myself relating to the woman on so many occasions as she sought to find herself in Ceylon or Kunming, and everywhere in between. Even as she finally found her calling in cooking and teaching culinary techniques, she never stopped aspiring to new adventures. Age is just a number, and this message couldn't come at a better time for myself, looking forward to meeting a new decade of my own life.
A very comprehensive biography that leaves very few questions unanswered. I am yet to read My Life in France, but I am convinced that Bob Spitz did great justice to this loud, adventurous, generous, and talented woman. . more
I listened to this one (20 discs -- definitely turned that one in late!), because for some inexplicable reason, I&aposve been on an audiobook kick lately. Specifically speaking, a Julia Child audiobook kick. So I feel I&aposve sort of become an armchair expert on them. Another reviewer said that she thought this was exhaustive, possibly to its own detriment. It&aposs true that if you just want the juicy stuff you should get Julia Child, A Life, by Laura Shapiro (only five or six discs on audio, so there you I listened to this one (20 discs -- definitely turned that one in late!), because for some inexplicable reason, I've been on an audiobook kick lately. Specifically speaking, a Julia Child audiobook kick. So I feel I've sort of become an armchair expert on them. Another reviewer said that she thought this was exhaustive, possibly to its own detriment. It's true that if you just want the juicy stuff you should get Julia Child, A Life, by Laura Shapiro (only five or six discs on audio, so there you go). It hits all of the highlights.
But I sort of adore this kind of exhaustiveness. Julia Child was alive for practically the entire last century. World wars, communism, the invention of television, home computers and the internet. The details that the biographer happens to drop about all of the eras that occurred during her life are fascinating. So, yes, it's a big, crazy detailed book. But a beautiful one. . more