I recently read My Life in France written by Julia Child and Alex Prod’homme. It’s not so much a book about food as it is a book about her life. Over the years she recounted stories to Alex Prod’homme and he compiled them into this book. I was not prepared to love the book as much as a did. I gobbled it up while leaving my to do list untouched.
Julia Child’s voice comes through in the book. Her personality shines out of every page. It is light-hearted, but you feel the tension when it’s appropriate (like in her relationship with Simone Beck after many years of working together on the cook books). The book follows her life mostly from her move to France with her husband to after her second cook book is published and she is in the midst of her television show. Here and there she gives snippets of her life when she was younger, but the majority of it focuses on the period of her life that made her such an extraordinary chef.
Now I’m not writing this to tell you how awesome the book is (although it was, so go read it…like yesterday), I’m here to tell you that I want to learn Julia’s knowledge! If there is one thing I took from My Life in France it was that she put thousands upon thousands of hours of work into her cookbooks. She wasn’t content with merely saying, “This is a good recipe. Let’s put this in.” She wanted every recipe to work perfectly every time it was made. This required her to test recipes again and again and again.
I have owned Mastering the Art of French Cooking, her first cookbook, for a few years. In that time I’ve only made one recipe out of it, crepes. And you know what? They work every time! It’s the best crepe recipe I’ve ever used! Reading about her diligence and hard work has made me want to try more recipes, and learn the little techniques she used to make such wonderful food.
Something to aid me in my new found adventure is her show The French Chef. I came across it on Amazon Prime and she is such a treat to watch! You can tell things are carefully planned out, but there is also an air of unpredictability about it. Well, maybe that’s not the right word, unscripted-ness works a little better.
I’m just so enamored with her. This tall, brave (she moved to numerous countries where she didn’t speak the language), hard working, friendly, soft-hearted perfectionist. I wish I could have met her, but alas I must settle for watching her show and trying to cook her perfected recipes.