Julia Child – My Life in France, From Cookery Naivety to Fame

She arrived here in 1948 as naive as only a fresh-faced American newly-wed could be. Yet, despite having only a few words of French, plus the fact she couldn’t cook, over the next 15 years Julia Child became an authority on French cuisine.

Julia Childs, author ofMy Life in France
Julia Child – My Life in France

She also became the principal author of the classic “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” and, on her return to the United States, she rose to be the much loved star of the long-running cooking show “The French Chef”.

“My Life in France,” co-written with Alex Prud’homme, is Child’s highly readable, bubbling account of her transformation into a French “Masterchef”, with the help of her wine-loving husband (long suffering?… he tasted everything Julia concocted… mistakes and all!). As Julia was fond of saying, “We were a good team.”

My life in France Julia Child (Credit Wikipedia fair use non-free)

My life in France Julia Child (Credit Wikipedia fair use non-free)

When she first arrived, she did not even know what a shallot was, but this very naivety in the kitchen department, turned out to be one of her great strengths, as it forged in her a dogged determination to get to the bottom of every menu mystery that French cuisine… indeed, French culture put in her path.

Methodical and inquiring, she battled on. She herself summed up her character succinctly: “I could be overly emotional, but was lucky to have the kind of orderly mind that is good at categorizing things,” she writes.

Well, the rest, as they say, is history and Julia’s journey through France, the stint at Cordon Bleu School, the formation of her own cooking school with Simone Beck, known as Simca, led eventually to the publishing of “Mastering the Art of French Cookery”, which made her famous.

Julie Childs Art of French Cooking cover (Credit Wikipedia fair use non-free)

Julia Child’s Art of French Cooking cover (Credit Wikipedia fair use non-free)

This book, “My Life in France”, fills in the background and lets us share her life as well as her passion, for french cuisiine.

“My Life in France” has also been made into a feature film, starring Meryl Streep.

Julia Child died in 2004.

Story: Chris McCready

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