I have known this book existed for a long time, but it was a very spur of the moment decision to read it. As I have been gradually getting better at cooking, I have wanted to learn more about famous chefs. The memoir of one of America’s most famous cooking personalities seemed like a good place to start.
My Life in France tells the story of how Julia Child fell in love with French cooking while her husband was stationed in Paris after World War II. She goes on to study at the Cordon Bleu, and meets Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, and the three of them start a cooking school for Americans in Paris. Through this she discovers her passion for cookbook research and writing, and goes on to become the first ever television chef. It is a story where extreme dedication and zeal meet with enormous amounts of good luck to form the tale of an extraordinary woman. The book read quickly, despite its length. What really amazed me was her work ethic. I can’t imagine sitting down to research, edit, and write a cookbook where every ingredient had to be so carefully measured. Not only that, but each French ingredient, even simple flour, had to be compared with its American counterpart, all while typing on a typewriter and exchanging letters and collaborating with her co-author, Simone Beck. My Millennial brain can hardly fathom how difficult that must have been. The difficulties of a working relationship with a close friend, and the demands of the publishing business were not glossed over either. Throughout the whole story, Julia Child maintains a truly inspiring amount of optimism in the face of hardships, and humility in the light of triumphs. Needless to say, Julia Child has been added to my list of heroes after finishing this book, and I highly recommend it.