From the moment the ship docked in Le Havre in the fall of 1948 and Julia watched the well-muscled stevedores unloading the cargo to the first perfectly soigne meal that she and her husband, Paul, savored in Rouen en route to Paris, where he was to work for the USIS, Julia had an awakening that changed her life. Soon this tall, outspoken gal from Pasadena, California, who didn't speak a word of French and knew nothing about the country, was steeped in the language, chatting with purveyors in the local markets, and enrolled in the Cordon Bleu.
After managing to get her degree despite the machinations of the disagreeable directrice of the school, Julia started teaching cooking classes herself, then teamed up with two fellow gourmettes, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, to help them with a book they were trying to write on French cooking for Americans. Throwing herself heart and soul into making it a unique and thorough teaching book, only to suffer several rounds of painful rejection, is part of the behind-the-scenes drama that Julia reveals with her inimitable gusto and disarming honesty.
This memoir is laced with wonderful stories about the French character, particularly in the world of food, and the way of life that Julia embraced so wholeheartedly. Above all, she reveals the kind of spirit and determination, the sheer love of cooking, and the drive to share that with her fellow Americans that made her the extraordinary success she became.
Le voici. Et bon appetit!
©2006 Alex Prud'Homme; (P)2006 Books on Tape
"This is a valuable record of gorgeous meals in bygone Parisian restaurants, and the secret arts of a culinary genius." (Publishers Weekly)
This book is such a great story about Julia Child's early years. I read it before I left for France and it really gave me an idea of how the French are and helped me on my trip. She, with her co-author, truly captures the essence of Paris and France and while things have become more modern the spirit of the people have NOT changed.
A different Julia Child we hadn't known and grow to respect even more thru wonderfully written book that is very well read. Thank you Julia for sharing your life with us.
I don't care if the narrator cannot speak french. I love Julia and have for years. To hear her thoughts and ides for me was wonderful. I was sad to have it end, but now I can look forward to listening again
I listened to this book after seeing the movie "Julie & Julia", which I enjoyed tremendously. This book was fun and gave me an insight into her life. Because she was such an iconic personality with a very recognizable voice, I kept wishing the reader sounded more like her. The French pronunciation was painful at times, but the emotional tone brought it alive. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I wasn't sure I would like this book and much to my surprise I really enjoyed it! I read a review where one person said the accent and pronunciations were terrible but I found that since I didn't know French, I didn't care! And if I were trying to read the book, I would be lost with the French so listening was the best way to go. After reading this, I now have a desire to visit France and taste the cuisine. This is not a waste of time.....
I grew up watching Julia on TV long before the idea of a 'Food' channel was conceived.
Her book is so descriptive and colorful. She has a great sense of detail and you feel like you can see, taste and smell so many of the things she is describing.
She's a humble and lovable lady. Her confidence is inspiring as is her diligence and flexibility. An great book to listen to when I was making dinner or laying in bed.
Drawn to this title by my interest in food, french cooking, and American background, I found this book to be all that and more. Julia Child manages not only to remember details about meals eaten decades ago, but has an uncanny ability to describe them so that the reader or listener can almost taste them. She brings across clearly the essence of french cuisine which she loves, getting right to the soul of the food (not to mention the Sole Normande!). I thought the narration was good, clear and well-paced, although her "false french accent" when quoting french-speakers was a little uneccesary.
I heartily recommend this book to lovers of food and of france. It is truly inspiring!
What a wonderful memoir from beginning to end. The only reason I didn't give it the highest rating is the reader. Anyone who has ever heard Julia Child knows her distinctive high pitched voice, and the reader so clearly is not Julia, that I found it a bit disconcerting. More importantly though, she cleary doesn't speak French, although she manages a decent accent. Any first year French student knows that femme rhymes with hum not hem, that beurre blanc has no k sound at the end, that cuisine bourgoise does sound the s, etc. etc. etc. Call me a stickler for detail, but that's just plain sloppy. Sorry Julia, you deserve better.
I loved the movie regarding Julia Child's life in Julie and Julia. However, this book is a little over the top in regards to eating and French in general. I wish I had used my credit on another book.
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