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My Life in France by Julia Child

My Life in France (2004)

by Julia Child

Other authors: Alex Prud'Homme (Author)

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Showing 1-5 of 166 (next | show all)
My Life in France is a wonderful book. I loved it. Julia Child can remind you what is important in life when drudgery gets you down--her ambition, love of France, food and travel are a breath of fresh air. This is a book I will recommend to my friends. Definitely one I will want to reread! ( )
  kc.teadrinker | Oct 4, 2017 |
More like 3.5, but since that isn’t an option, let’s go with three. This is a lovely little book; I just had a challenging time really getting into it. It has everything I love: food, France, humor, even liberal political leanings, Surprisingly though, I had to force myself to finish it, but I am definitely happy that I did.

I believe this book served as the basis for the “Julia” part of the film “Julie and Julia,” where a blogger takes on the recipes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking while we learn what life in France was like for Ms. Julia Child. I think it’s universally agreed that everyone liked the parts of the film that focused on Ms. Child (played by Meryl Streep) and would have preferred a film just focused on that. I agree, and think the book is so rich with description that there is plenty for multiple films.

The book isn’t just limited to Ms. Child’s life in France with her husband Paul Child (who was a cultural ambassador in the Foreign Service); it instead feels more like a memoir focused on the last fifty-plus years of her life (she died just a couple of days before her 92nd birthday). But much of that was spent living in France (also Germany, Norway and Boston). She shares about her time at Le Cordon Bleu, as well as the process behind creating Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Volume I and Volume II).

The language is vivid, although the book feels a bit slow. However, perhaps that is appropriate. Proper French cooking takes time, and isn’t something one can just dash off quickly; maybe Alex Prud’homme (who assisted his great Aunt in writing this book) recognized this and felt that there was no need to rush the story. If you like France, or food, or have fond memories of Ms. Child’s cooking show, I think this is a sweet book to check out. ( )
  ASKelmore | Jul 9, 2017 |
I found this book on the give-away shelf in my buildings laundry room. This was around the time that the movie Julie & Julia was being shown on cable movie channels frequently. I had watched the movie a few times, mainly because the Julie portions of the movie take place just across the bridge from where I live and I'd been trying to place which block they'd filmed on based on the neighborhood landmarks. (my copy has the movie-tie-in cover)
This is Child's memoir of her time in France, Germany and Norway between 1948 and 1961, including her time at Le Cordon Bleu and the writing of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The last section of the book covers her return to the US and her television show The French Chef. The memoir is co-written by her nephew and it reads as if it's a long story that she's telling him; it has a conversational style. Included are many photos taken by Julia's husband, Paul Child. As I neared the end of the book I started skipping over the descriptions of recipes with their extensive instructions for preparation. Mainly because all the recipes were meat, fish or poultry dishes. There was not one description of a vegetable dish in the entire book.
I'd recommend this book to fans of Julia Child or books about cooking. If you're not in those categories, skip this one. ( )
  VioletBramble | Apr 28, 2017 |
I absolutely loved this book from start to finish! It was about Julia's time in France, how she started getting into cooking, working on her cookbook and starting her show. Of course we learned about her and Paul's family, his work and a lot more about their friends, etc.

For the rest of the review, visit my blog at: http://angelofmine1974.livejournal.com/126106.html ( )
  booklover3258 | Apr 19, 2017 |
Last night, I happened upon Julie and Julia on HBO. Although I have seen the film several times, I couldn't help watching it again. It's a fun, but limited portrayal of Julia Child's early years in France. The sadly departed Nora Ephron based her screenplay on two memoirs -- Julie and Julia by Julie Powell and My Life in France by Julia Child.

Skip Julie Powell's memoir (I found it insipid) but if; 1) you adore food and travel, 2) own at least a few cookbooks (maybe one of which is Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking), or 3) need to escape your own, perhaps routine, life for a more exciting one in post WWII France -- then get your winter-weary self a copy* of My Life In France. You'll thank me later.

Julia kept notes and letters, and in the last years of her life, she began to shape this book with her grandnephew Alex Prud'homme. The result is a brilliant journey with Julia Child -- to read this book is to be right with her in France - tasting the food, smelling the baking bread, walking on the French cobblestones and embracing it all with Julia's delight and gusto. This is an engaging story of Julia's early isolation in a foreign country that at once confused but enthralled her, and she faces these challenges with self-deprecation and self-confidence.

There is, of course, an abundance of French food. But there is also hard work -- from her struggles with learning French to outright chauvinism at the male-dominated Corden Bleu cooking school where Julia finally gains admittance. You get a wonderful glimpse into the private lives of Julia and Paul and their remarkable marriage. She tells of "making do" in post war France, of having to initially cook on a hot plate (this will not do!), spotty electrical service and need to shop at individual markets for each meal's provisions. There is a sober side to her memoir as she and Paul deal with an erroneous McCarthy investigation as a result of his OSS work.

Her struggles during the creation of her infamous two volume cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking (which shot to the best seller lists after the release of the Julie and Julia film) are fascinating as Julia painstakingly tests, re-tests and then tests again countless recipes. The perfectionism in the development of her mayonnaise recipe caused me to crack open my copy of the cookbook just to read the recipe. (I have plans to attempt it one of these days.) The differences between flour in France versus America causes great concern for an worthy cross-Atlantic baguette recipe. She tells of the early troubles with the massive two-volume Mastering the Art of French Cooking -- from the many titles considered to publisher rejects and her co-authors dramas.

Julia Child embraced all these experiences - good and bad - as part of a incredible journey and she clearly loved everyone her along the way. This is not just a book about food, this is a book brimming with life -- full of passion, wisdom and her creativity . One can learn a lot from such a well lived life. I hang on to my own copy of My Life In France for gloomy times and a quick dip into its chapters restores my faith in life as an exciting adventure.
*Make sure your copy has Paul's photographs throughout - they are a treasure.
See all my book reviews at Book Barmy
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  BookBarmy | Apr 13, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 166 (next | show all)
For me, reading Julia Child’s memoir felt like going home.
"My Life in France," written with Alex Prud'homme, is Child's exuberant, affectionate and boundlessly charming account of that transformation. It chronicles, in mouth-watering detail, the meals and the food markets that sparked her interest in French cooking, and her growing appreciation of all things French."
added by lorax | editNew York Times, William Grimes (Apr 8, 2006)

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Julia Childprimary authorall editionscalculated
Prud'Homme, AlexAuthorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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This is a book about some of the things I have loved most in life; my husband, Paul Child; la belle France; and the many pleasures of cooking and eating.
Usually one's cooking is better than one thinks it is. And if the food is truly vile, as my ersatz eggs Florentine surely were, then the cook must simply grit her teeth and bear it with a smile - and learn from her mistakes.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0307277690, Paperback)

Book Description

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 a cook and teacher and writer, brilliantly capturing one of the most endearing American personalities of the last fifty years.

Julie & Julia is now a major motion picture (releasing in August 2009) starring Meryl Streep as Julia Child. It is partially based on her memoir, My Life in France. Enjoy these images from the film, and click the thumbnails to see larger images.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:15 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

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 she and her husband Paul, who worked for the USIS, arrived in the fall of 1948, 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. She teamed up with two fellow gourmettes, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, to help them with a book on French cooking for Americans. Filled with her husband's beautiful black-and-white photographs 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. Bon appétit!--From publisher description.… (more)

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Legacy Library: Julia Child

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