Thursday, May 11, 2006


Well, because I enjoy travel writing/ reading, and because I enjoy reading about food, and because I'm a bit of a Francophile... I bought and started reading "My life in France", Julia Child's memoirs of living in France with her husband, going to cooking school, and getting "The Art of French Cooking" published. It's odd to say, since this book was published after Julia died, but parts of it seem strangely self-promoting. The parts of the book where she gets passionately caught up in the place, or in food are very interesting. But the parts where she gets passionately caught up in herself, or how she was right and someone else was wrong... those parts are a bit tedious. Still, it was enough to make me buy an old dog-eared copy of "The Art of French Cooking." We'll have to see if I use it.

I told my mom about what I was reading, and she immediately dismissed Julia as "The funny old lady who always had to use butter." She wasn't very interested in my book. My mother never uses real butter. She also never enjoys cooking. Hmmm...

What I think is fascinating about Julia Child is that she didn't know how to cook until she got married (in her mid-late thirties) and didn't start taking cooking classes until she was around 40. Then she just fell in love with it and off she went. That makes me feel better about where I am right now. It makes me feel better about all the things I don't know how to do well... yet. Mostly it just makes me feel young in corners of my brain where I was starting to feel quite old.

People who are adamant Julia fans love her because she was such the anti-Martha Stewart. She was not especially aesthetic, and she messed up on her TV show all the time, but she also showed you how to not let messing up ruin your entire project/meal/experience. She was very much more "real" than most of what came after her. I can appreciate that.

1 comment:

Tracy M said...

You just bought the most wonderful cookbook ever. Keep it, and you will turn to it again and again. I'm not a Francophile, but I LOVE Julia- for all the reasons you mentioned, and more- but this gem of a book has basic information about EVERYTHING you will ever need to know when cooking. I can't tell you how many times I have been cooking something from a recipe somewhere else, and turned to Julia for basic information to complete the other recipes. It really is necessary in any well stocked kitchen.

As far as Julia and butter, look at her! The woman lived to be ancient, and loved her life. If a little butter makes the going easier, have at it! Oh, and she did promote moderation, here and there...!

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