Julia Child: A Life by Laura Shapiro

Julia Child, larger than life!

About Julia Child: A Life by Laura Shapiro: With a swooping voice, an irrepressible sense of humor, and a passion for good food, Julia Child ushered in the nation's culinary renaissance. In Julia Child, award-winning food writer Laura Shapiro tells the story of Child's unlikely career path, from California party girl to coolheaded chief clerk in a World War II spy station to bewildered amateur cook and finally to the Cordon Bleu in Paris, the school that inspired her calling. A food lover who was quintessentially American, right down to her little-known recipe for classic tuna fish casserole, Shapiro's "Julia Child" personifies her own most famous lesson: that learning how to cook means learning how to live.

My thoughts 

The book in one sentence: A peek into the lesser known of Julia Child's extraordinary cooking and non-cooking life.  

Julia Child is quite a character, well-beloved within the cooking circles, and recently the subject of a Julia and Julia starring no less than Meryl Streep. But did you know that the movie was actually based on blog that turned into a book with the subtitle: How one girl risked her marriage, her job, and her sanity to master the art of living. (I mean, seriously, how can you not pick up something with a subtitle like that?)

Given my nice little history (yes, a blog, a book and a movie, ha!) with Julia Child, I looked up some of her online shows and found her utterly charming. She's funny yet witty. She's awkward yet somehow manages to be likeable in her off-kilter manner. She has an incredible spirit that comes across in her show, her cooking, and her outlook in life.

Julia Child: A Life is only one among the numerous biographies out there, chronicling Julia's years of hard work on pulling together Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

The book in itself was a pioneer work, making the male-dominated culinary world of Cordon Bleu finally, accessible to the every day housewife. Move over Rachel Ray and Jamie Oliver, you're no Julia Child yet! Julia definitely paved the way for making the culinary world a much more fun arena and not the serious, staid world it was. Not to say that Julia wasn't serious about what she did. She was dead serious, which is why Mastering the Art of French Cooking is such an exacting book, with its precise measurements and each little detail documented,  allowing anyone to recreate French cooking, even without the rigorous training (though we gotta practice!)

This book was a total charmer. It made me want to get to know Julia even more. And learn how to flip an omelette expertly!

See the videos below and see her with her "swooping voice," her un-shy manner of hacking away at meats, and her pan-throwing!

Verdict: If you love Julia Child, this book is a great resource for better understanding the woman behind the larger-than-life persona on TV.

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© guiltless readingMaira Gall