This book…I don’t even know how to begin explaining the love affair I’ve been having with this book the past few weeks.
As someone with formal culinary training and a background in pastry, obviously I have a passion for food. One of my early influences, back when I was first learning my way around the kitchen, was Julia Child. Most people my age had never even heard of Julia, but as soon as I discovered episodes of her old cooking shows, I fell in love with her knowledge and appreciate of le cuisine de France, and, of course, her fun personality. Reading this book was just like discovering her and my love of cooking all over again.
The book recounts Julia’s life during the years she lived in France and her journey from kitchen novice to television chef. She talks of her time spent training at Le Cordon Bleu, wandering the outdoor markets of Paris, and the hours she spent in her tiny apartment kitchen. She then recounts the years spent writing and testing recipes for her cookbooks, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volumes I and II. If there was ever any doubt, Julia was, indeed, a master in all things classical French.
I looooved reading about Julia’s early years in France – the wonder and excitement of discovering a new city, new cuisine, and a new language. Her experiences are described so vividly that it’s easy to feel like you were right there with her. (I will admit, as someone who’s already been wanderlusting after France for years, this book only intensified it.)
I also loved reading about the people in Julia’s inner circle, from her friends and family back in America to all the influential culinarians (including James Beard!) who helped her along the way. Her wit and sense of humor are interjected throughout, along with stories of not only success, but her failures, as well. Part of her charm lies in the fact that not only was she an incredibly talented and dedicated woman, but she was humble, as well.
I’m glad this book exists so that Julia can continue to inspire, despite the fact that she’s no longer with us. Bon Appetit!