Celebrating Julia Child with My Life in France

Today is Julia Child’s birthday; she would have been ninety-nine years old. This year also marks the fiftieth anniversary of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Julia Child taught people so much through her cookbooks and television shows; she constantly inspired. I bought her autobiography My Life in France about two years ago and I loved reading it as well as looking at her artist husband Paul’s photographs, which greatly adds to the reading experience and charm (especially their own holiday cards and that were depicted in Julie and Julia).

My Life in France covers the period from when Julia first went to Paris, France, tagging along with her husband who had been offered a job to run the Visual Presentation Department for the United States Information Service (USIS) in Paris. Determined to be a better cook – years later, Paul would tell an interview that “Her first attempts were not altogether successful”; growing up, she had had “zero interest in the stove” and was not encouraged to cook – she enrolled herself at Le Cordon Bleu and the rest is considered history.

Click after the jump for more images and info.

(Click the images for a larger resolution.)

For those who are considering purchasing this autobiography, I completely recommend this edition pictured. I have a paperback copy, though it is also available as a hard cover. My grandmother owns the promotional Julie and Julia movie cover and it does not have any of Paul Child’s photographs or any photos at all for that matter.

You can buy it on Amazon here.

Another memoir to celebrate the life of Julia Child is As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto and that was published last year. I am not usually one for reading private letters (I feel I’m breaching the privacy of those concerned), however this one is, in various ways, an exception. It also includes a recipe for pasta sauce that I’m keen to try, which Avis got from the poet John Ciardi – and that led me discover his excellent book, How Does a Poem Mean?

9 thoughts on “Celebrating Julia Child with My Life in France

  1. Oh my word! I remember watching her on t.v. with my Mom and Grandma and the famous SNL skit 😉 I agree that this is really the best version of the book. I love the old photographs and their romance is so inspiring! Have you ever made any of her more famous recipes?

    1. Hi, K! I don’t think I have made any of her famous recipes, although I would like to. I’d probably start with something basic.

      Another good book is that biography Julie was reading in the J&J movie, but I don’t remember the name at the moment. I didn’t like all of it, though it details more of Pulia’s (as the two were known) romance. “As Always, Julia” contains more old photos as well, including Paul’s.

    1. Hi Kim, it seems like it was a generational thing. My grandmother doesn’t have either volume of Mastering but she owns a copy of The Joy of Cooking. I’d have to ask her if she made any Julia Child recipes.

  2. Actually honey I had a lot of her cookbooks through the years but when we moved things got lost or were loaned out and being busy with a family, never returned. She had some lovely every day recipes and not just her more exotic sounding French ones. I used to love on her shows when she would cook with young chefs like Jaques Pepin, very charming!

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