Child Care

After finally getting the chance to watch a a bunch of The French Chef episodes (and having read and seen Julie & Julia back when the book and movie came out), Julia Child's autobiography seemed the next natural step on the list.

My Life in France was compiled by Julia Child and her husband's grandnephew Alex Prud'homme. The stories contained within comprise a patchwork of anecdotes, letters, and research, rather than being a single beginning-to-end narrative. It was published in 2004, two years after Child's death, so I'm not sure how much of the writing was filled in by Prud'homme and how much is from the source herself. It's a good sign that I can't make out the seams; the entire book flows very well, and Child's tone shines throughout.

In many autobiographies, the author avoiding putting their stories into a wider context would drive me crazy. But when Child gently passes over the indignities of how the McCarthy witch hunts affected her and her family so that she can get to describing a fantastic meal she had in a Parisian cafe, it's endearing. Not that she pulls punches; personality clashes with publishers and her cookbook co-authors are frankly discussed, but never with any venom.

It's easy to see why Child was such a national treasure. Not only did she pioneer a cooking movement, but her personality was magnetic, and it shows in this work. So, now that I've seen the movie and read the autobiography, I guess the next step is to acquire Mastering the Art of French Cooking and test out some recipes. My birthday is in eight months. Just sayin'.

My Life in France: A-


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