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My Life in Franceby Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme
An inspiring look at the life and times of the culinary genius, Julia Child's My Life in France is a good-humored memoir of her influential and transformative early experiences in France with her then new husband, Paul. Julia's devotees, as well as those less familiar, will equally enjoy the wit of her storytelling, and her gift for describing a great meal.
"[A] delightful and ebulliently written new memoir....The result is a tone that is pure Julia. One can almost hear her unforgettably fluty voice uttering such Julia-isms as 'ta-da!' 'ouf!' and 'phooey!' throughout the book. Her joy just about jumps off the book's pages....Julia Child was a natural teacher, and My Life in France makes that abundantly clear." Jennifer Wolcott, The Christian Science Monitor (read the entire CSM review)
Synopses & Reviews
In her own words, here is the captivating story of Julia Child's years in France, where she fell in love with French food and found "her true calling."
From the moment the ship docked in Le Havre in the fall of 1948 and Julia watched the well-muscled stevedores unloading the cargo to the first perfectly soigné meal that she and her husband, Paul, savored in Rouen en route to Paris, where he was to work for the USIS, Julia had an awakening that changed her life. Soon this tall, outspoken gal from Pasadena, California, who didn't speak a word of French and knew nothing about the country, was steeped in the language, chatting with purveyors in the local markets, and enrolled in the Cordon Bleu.
After managing to get her degree despite the machinations of the disagreeable directrice of the school, Julia started teaching cooking classes herself, then teamed up with two fellow gourmettes, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, to help them with a book they were trying to write on French cooking for Americans. Throwing herself heart and soul into making it a unique and thorough teaching book, only to suffer several rounds of painful rejection, is part of the behind-the-scenes drama that Julia reveals with her inimitable gusto and disarming honesty.
Filled with the beautiful black-and-white photographs that Paul loved to take when he was not battling bureaucrats, as well as family snapshots, this memoir is laced with wonderful stories about the French character, particularly in the world of food, and the way of life that Julia embraced so wholeheartedly. Above all, she reveals the kind of spirit and determination, the sheer love of cooking, and the drive to share that with her fellow Americans that made her the extraordinary success she became.
Le voici. Et bon appétit!
"Like a surprise nougat bursting from the center of a chocolate truffle, My Life in France also serves up her moving romance with the Renaissance man of her life...her husband, Paul Child." Andrew Marton, The Philadelphia Inquirer
"In mouth-watering detail, her learning years in Paris and the stellar career that followed." Meeta Agrawal, Life Magazine
"Captures her charm, warmth, and, above all, her determined and robust spirit....Anyone who has heard her on television will immediately recognize the frank, jovial, and embracing tone." John Skoyles, The Seattle Times/Associated Press
"What a joy...charming...inspiring." Jennifer Reese, Entertainment Weekly
Julia Child singlehandedly created a new approach to American cuisine with her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her television show The French Chef, but as she reveals in this bestselling memoir, she was not always a master chef. Indeed, when she first arrived in France in 1948 with her husband, Paul, who was to work for the USIS, she spoke no French and knew nothing about the country itself. But as she dove into French culture, buying food at local markets and taking classes at the Cordon Bleu, her life changed forever with her newfound passion for cooking and teaching. Julias unforgettable story - struggles with the head of the Cordon Bleu, rejections from publishers to whom she sent her now-famous cookbook, a wonderful, nearly fifty-year long marriage that took them across the globe - unfolds with the spirit so key to her success as a chef and a writer, brilliantly capturing one of the most endearing American personalities of the last fifty years.
Exuberant, affectionate, and boundlessly charming ("The New York Times"), this is the delightful and highly acclaimed memoir from the woman who revolutionized American cooking in the 20th century.
About the Author
Julia Child was born in Pasadena, California. She was graduated from Smith College and worked for the OSS during World War II in Ceylon and China, where she met Paul Child. After they married they lived in Paris, where she studied at the Cordon Bleu and taught cooking with Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, with whom she wrote the first volume of Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961). In 1963, Boston's WGBH launched The French Chef television series, which made her a national celebrity, earning her the Peabody Award in 1965 and an Emmy in 1966. Several public television shows and numerous cookbooks followed. She died in 2004.
Alex Prud'homme, Paul Child's grandnephew, is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, The New Yorker, and other publications. He is the author of The Cell Game and the coauthor (with Michael Cherkasky) of Forewarned. He lives with his family in Brooklyn, New York.
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