"In the evening, I would approach the stove armed with lofty intentions, the Joy of Cooking or Gourmet magazine tucked under my arm, and little kitchen sense. My meals were satisfactory, but they took hours of laborious effort to produce. I'd usually plop something on the table by 10:00 p.m., have a few bites, and collapse into bed. Paul was unfailingly patient. But years later he'd admit to an interviewer: "Her first attempts were not altogether successful. … I was brave because I wanted to marry Julia. I trust I did not betray my point of view." (He did not.)"
Clueless in the Kitchen when she first got married at 34,she became an exceptional cook who then went on to leave an indelible mark in the Culinary world.'My life in France' written along with her husband's nephew Alex Prud'Homme can be summed up to be about the love affair of Julia Child and France.
"Oh la Belle France----without knowing it, I was already falling in love!"
The book is based on the letters and records that were kept over the years by Julia and Paul Child. She carries the reader through Streets of Paris and into the world of French food and cooking with wit and humor..
"This is a book about some of the things I have loved most in life: my husband, Paul Child, la belle France; and the many pleasures of cooking and eating," she writes.
Considered very tall by any standards at 6 ft 2", she was fascinated by anything and everything French from the markets to patisseries to the unparalleled breads.She recounts her first meal at La Couronne in France - oysters served with rounds of pain de seigle ( a pale rye bread with a spread of unsalted butter), Sole Meunière, salad verte,paired with Pouilly-Fumé and fromage blanc with café filtre as 'absolute perfection' and 'the most exciting meal of her life'.
Her husband and a confidant, Paul Child staunchly stood by her through all the ups and downs. They shared a common passion- France.
She signed up for classes at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleau under the guidance of Chef Bugnard who she very much looked upto. She then founded a cooking school, Le Ecole Gourmettes,along with her 2 friends, Louisette and Simona.
Part II is about Mastering the art of French Cooking and her passion in making the book despite several hurdles that came along the way.Her arduous efforts behind "The Book" -'Mastering the art of French Cooking' are strikingly clear in her attention to detail and various attempts to get a dish right in order to not lose the integrity of the dish.The book was finally published by Knopf with Julia and Simona as Co Authors. Simona and Julia, however, had some differences and parted their ways.Simona went on to write her own recipe book, once again published by Knopf and Julia became widely popular as the host of the TV show The French Chef. Paul retired from the government and Paul and Julia moved from France to Cambridge, MA. Paul Child designed Julia's kitchen in Cambridge which now is a part of Smithsonian Institution.
"In all the years since that succulent meal. I have yet to lose the feelings of wonder and excitement that it inspired me. I can still almost taste it. And thinking back on it now reminds me that the pleasures of the table, and of life, are infinite- toujours bon appétit!"
The book could have been condensed down a little bit. But all in all, the book is an inspiring and an enjoyable read.