Wednesday, 2 July 2014

My Life in France


Remember this lady? I recall seeing her on television when I was a young girl and I particularly remember her because she was tall and I thought she talked funny.  I am of course talking about Julia Child, the at one time incredibly popular TV cook and co-author of famous cookery bible Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

I recently came across her autobiography My Life in France, written with the help of her nephew Alex Prud'homme. It is a truly endearing book. I cannot remember the last time an (auto)biography was so full of joy,  so lacking in anything sad, depressing, sour or harsh. It inspires and energises; or rather, Julia Child inspires and energises. She was one of those women with a never-ending supply of energy, positivity and perseverance. She was gung-ho about every project she tackled and always chose to see the positive in a person or situation. The book is dedicated to her beloved husband Paul Child, for whom she cooked first and foremost. The two made such a good team that he even photographed her food for the cookery books she wrote later on in her career.

Julia Child had no qualms praising her own achievements, and when a dish was particularly successful she would exclaim that it was "a triumph!" Many women I know could learn a thing or two from Julia about confidence in their own work and abilities (I know quite a few men who would call the result of their work a triumph, but very few women who would do the same).  Julia Child was a feminist without realising it, taking the bull firmly by the horns in matters of publishing her books, house hunting, language learning (French), cookery classes (at Le Cordon Bleu to which only men had hitherto been allowed) and whatever other task came on her path. An inspiring summer read with lots of joie de vivre.

On the cover with husband Paul at a Valentine's Day party

Top secret recipe: Boeuf Bourguignon perhaps...?


Did you used to watch Julia Child's show? Or have you cooked from one of her books? And.... do you dare call your own work a triumph? I would love to know.



And don't forget to check out what everyone else is reading this month over at The Year in Books ...



11 comments:

  1. My mother learned all of her cooking skills from Julia Child and I'm picking up on some now. Now I have to go to Barnes and Noble to pick up her autobiography.
    ~Sophia
    http://plaidismyfavouritecolour.blogspot.com/

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  2. She was never on tv in the UK but she is more well known here since the Julie Julia film. I love her confidence, confidence is an essential quality for a cook I think.

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  3. I used to watch Julia several decades ago in America! I have read this book and loved it!! So glad that you enjoyed it too! xx

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  4. I have never seen her but the book sounds fascinating. It is so true that women get a lot of criticism it they blow their own trumpet, but it is seen as a positive thing for men to do!

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  5. I know about her from the Julie Julia film, which I loved. It sounds like a lovely book and you're right, we should definitely celebrate our triumphs.

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  6. I loved watching her when we were living in the USA. This has been on my list to read for far too long... must do it!

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  7. I am presently reading Julia's and Avis' letters to each other during the time Julia was creating "Mastering the Art of French Cooking"! Wonderful read (a tad too political at times) but the exchanges between these two women was wonderful! Pots and pans, knives and utensils, recipes - successes and failures creating them... wonderful!

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  8. I don't know Julia Child (I grew up in Switzerland) but I am quite intrigued by your review. I rarely read (auto)biographies but might give this a try. You are so right, women sometimes find it difficult to sing their own praise for great achievements. I certainly fall in this category but I have been getting more bold about what I can do and what I am good at and as a result have recently been interviewed for a job that was out with my comfort zone but that really appealed to me. x

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  9. I loved My life in France! I am Australian and hadn't heard of Julia Child when I was younger, but Julie and Julia piqued my interest. The love story between Paul and Julia is beautiful, well matched by the delightful friendship between Avis and Julia. One of the main characters in the book I'm reading - We are Called to Rise - is called Avis and I keep thinking of Julia Child!

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  10. Your review just reminded me of my Grandma, who always said "Blow your own trumpet - if you don't do it, no-one else is going to!" - thank you :-)

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  11. I loved this book too! Though I was sad that Julia lived in France away from her husband after he became ill.
    I used to watch "Julia Child, the French Chef" on TV every week when I lived in the USA! Most entertaining!

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