I read this memoir on the heels of reading Julie & Julia, and it was a very pleasant departure from the former. In this last book of Julia Child’s before her death, she recounts her life from the early days of her marriage to Paul Child, mostly encompassing her time spent in France following the end of the second World War.
Not only was this memoir fascinating, but Alex Prud’homme (Paul Child’s grand-nephew) did a wonderful job as co-writer, capturing the fun-loving and enthusiastic personality of the queen of French cooking. (Or cookery, as Julia Child would call it).
This book was such a pleasure to read! I felt as if I was experiencing the beauty of France – the scenery, the people and the food – right along with Julia Child. In addition, understanding Paul Child’s work in helping post-war Europe and the lives of Europeans at the time gives the reader a fascinating peek into a side of history that is often forgotten. We read about the seriousness of the Russian threat, the ineptness of large bureaucracies, and how people are basically the same throughout time, but of course must play the hand they are dealt.
But best of all, is Julia’s introduction to the wonderful food of France. It is amazing to learn that she grew up in a family where the women were not expected to cook, so Mrs. Child went into her marriage with few culinary skills. The idea of learning French cooking came about because of her husband’s passion for the cuisine and her desire to please him. I loved how supportive Paul Child became as his wife’s interest grew into more than just trying a few recipes from a cookbook. He supported her from the early stages of cooking classes, to writing a cookbook, and beyond into the world of television. Their marriage was as much a joy to read about as was Julia’s love for cooking.
What a wonderful way to celebrate love, good food, and a life well-lived.
5 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2006