I think it's fitting that I write this as Julia Child's 100th birthday is being recognized. Lately, but coincidentally, I've become quite fascinated with Julia and the impact she (and others of her era) made on the food world. So, recently, I had an opportunity to read her book, "My Life in France" co-written with Alex Prud'homme and published in 2006, two years after her passing.
This book documents her years in France, where she learned to cook and also chronicles her evolution from budding chef to cookbook author to culinary media star. What I love about this book was not just the talk about food and how she developed as a chef, but also how her philosophy and "voice" can be heard in its pages. (Now, I have to say that so far I haven't read any of Julia's other books -- although I have one poised on my nightstand -- so maybe this is typical of Julia's books). I never had a chance to meet the woman, but through her book, I feel like I am getting to know the character that she was.
There was a passage that struck me early on in the book that I think we can all take a lesson from. Julia is discussing how shopping for food in Paris was a "life-changing experience." According to her, it was during these daily shopping excursions that she learned "one of the most important lessons of my life: the value of les human relations."
As she writes... (more…)