Summary: Julia Child single handedly awakened America to the pleasures of good cooking 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 didn't know the first thing about cooking when she landed in France. Indeed, when she first arrived in 1948 with her husband, Paul, 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. Julia's unforgettable story unfolds with the spirit so key to her success as as a cook and teacher and writer, brilliantly capturing one of the most endearing American personalities of the last fifty years. -- Anchor
My book club decided to read MY LIFE IN FRANCE by Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme for our December meeting. You can read more about our discussion here. I was thrilled when the book was chosen because I had already read JULIE & JULIA and I had even seen the movie (and I never see movies) with two members of our group. I absolutely adored the movie, and I especially enjoyed the Julia Child/Meryl Streep parts. It was a natural extension that I wanted to learn more about the woman -- Julia Child.
I vaguely remember seeing Julia Child on television when I was a young girl, but I don't remember much beyond her very distinctive voice. While many households owned copies of Julia Child's cookbooks, ours was not one of them! I really knew little, if anything, about her before picking up JULIE AND JULIA. But once I saw the movie, I was definitely charmed by her vibrant, larger-than-life personality.
This book was such a treat to read! I loved it each and every page! I found the book to be very interesting, and I even liked seeing how the movie portrayed Julia versus how she appeared to me in the book. This book really had to so much to offer the senses -- from the food and wine details to the descriptions of France. In addition, it also touched my heart because it gave some insight into the relationship between Julia and her husband Paul.
I really can sum up this book by calling it a love story! But it was a love story on so many levels. Not only did Julia realize that she "belonged" in France and she really did appreciate almost everything about the country, but she also discovered that cooking and writing cookbooks was what she was destined to do. In addition, she found her true love in her husband Paul. They had a very special relationship built on mutual respect! How very fortunate Julia was to get to live out her passions each and every day.
I have to admit that I was much more interested in getting to know Julia Child that I was with all of the French recipes. I felt the same way when I read Julie and Julia! I just don't think I have "an appreciation" of French food. Most of the meat recipes sounded absolutely disgusting to me; however, the dessert and bread recipes sounded wonderful! I guess that tells you what I like to eat.
I wasn't sure how MY LIFE IN FRANCE would translate into a book club discussion, but it did. I'm not going to say that it was our best, most thought-provoking meeting of the year; however, I think we were all excited by the book and did manage to talk about the book (and the recipes) for quite awhile. There is no doubt that we all enjoyed the book, and I actually think we caught some of Julia's joie de vivre! The publisher doesn't have a reading guide, but we did find some questions here.
I'm not entirely sure you can tell how much I enjoyed this book! Needless to say, I highly recommend MY LIFE IN FRANCE! It would make a wonderful gift too!