Sunday, November 30, 2014
My Life in France
Julia McWilliams met future husband Paul Child during World War II. It was Paul's career with the government that brought the two of them to Paris, France. Once she was exposed to the delights of French cuisine, Julia became determined to learn to prepare food like the French do. To that end, she entered the cooking school, Cordon Bleu. Learning the French way inspired her. She wanted to know all she could about it. In the process, she decided she would like to teach and share what she had learned with her fellow Americans. This eventually resulted in her first cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, intended for American cooks, using American ingredients and American equipment. This took years of painstaking research, trying recipes and adjusting ingredients, discovering appropriate substitutes for French ingredients not available commonly in America. But it was work she hugely enjoyed, helped by Paul's love of photography and wine and by two French women who also wanted to share their knowledge with the world.
This book was created from the letters she and Paul wrote throughout the years. In it, her great love of fine food, fine drink and good company come through very clearly. She had a tremendous appetite for food and life and all good things and a great desire to share it all with the rest of us.
I did enjoy the book, although I can't relate to her obsession with French cuisine. France has given the world wonderful, delicious foods but they do eat some odd things.
I do wish, though, that the many French words and phrases in the book came with a translation. An oversight on the part of the publisher, I suppose. But most annoying to assume that the reader understands or is willing to translate on their own.
For another review, see http://www.csmonitor.com/Books/Book-Reviews/2009/0809/classic-book-review-my-life-in-france.