My Life In France


Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme

I read Julia Child’s autobiography My Life in France in advance of watching the series “Julia” on HBO Max.  I found the book to be very engaging.  Julia’s friends and relatives saved much of her correspondence and her husband Paul kept a journal which enabled the authors to provide details of the food Julia ate and the people with whom she interacted and dined.  You could hear Julia’s vivacious personality coming through the pages. 

As the title implies, the book focuses on Julia’s time in France beginning with her arrival when she knew nothing of the language or the food, through her time at Le Cordon Bleu and time spent writing her now infamous cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  Julia’s role in the cookbook was to test the recipes to ensure they were accurate and, to ensure that the ingredients were those that the American cook would have readily available.  She was a stickler for ensuring that the recipes were accurate which often put her at odds with her co-author who was more of an intuitive French cook. 

Some people love France and Paris in particular.  Others don’t care for the attitude of the French or their way of living.  Julia shares how the French people captured her heart and how she fit into their culture.  Any traveler to France would be wise to take a tip from Julia. 

Prior to reading this book, the little I knew about Julia child was what I garnered from the movie titled “Julie & Julia” starring Meryl Strep and Amy Adams.  I am continuing my learning with the new HBO Max series and the more I learn, the more I admire this woman.  She was strong yet warm-hearted.  She was adventurous and never felt inferior when she was the only woman in the room.  She was smart, savvy and determined.  She was someone you wanted to have as a friend.  I strongly recommend My Life in France if you are looking for a quick and uplifting read.  I’ve put in a request for Mastering the Art of French Cooking for Mother’s Day so I can test my kitchen skills.  Bon Appetite!