Tuesday, January 15, 2013
My Life in France
As I began this book, it was mostly because it had worked it's way to the top of my to-read pile and I needed a non-fiction for my rotation. It wasn't necessarily because I was dying to read about Julia Child. But, I will say that I was pleasantly surprised. I've always been a little intimidated by Julia Child's recipes...and her.
Let me start in the beginning, this book starts out with a little background surrounding Julia and her husband, Paul, (how they met, got married, their siblings and families, etc....) and launches right into their move to France, which was determined via his job. Julia immediately fell in love with French food and began attempting to learn how to cook. Being a mediocre American cook to begin with, there were some humorous excerpts that included Paul's commentary on experimental meals.
Once Julia was able to hurdle the initial difficulties of preparing a meal, things went rather fast. She details her time at the Cordon Bleu and a vast excerpt of the book is her collaboration with two French cooks in the writing of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. For a while there, I thought that was going to be the bulk of this book, but don't worry because it isn't.
The entire purpose of Mastering the Art of French Cooking was to give the average American cook simple instructions on how to cook French food. It was amazing to read how many times Julia would test out a recipe, make sure the ingredients were available in the average American supermarket, etc. Her real goal was to make it so that you could enjoy delicious French cooking (obviously her favorite type of food) anywhere in America.
While this book wasn't my favorite, I still enjoyed it greatly. I have a whole new view of Julia Child and might even consider picking up one of her cookbooks the next time I'm looking for one. I feel kind of bad that I was intimidated by her cooking for so long when her goal was to provide exactly the opposite kind of persona. Ah well, live and learn!