By the time I was old
enough to be interested in cooking
programs, Julia Child was in her
sixties, so my image of her was always
of an elderly lady with a warbling,
raspy voice presiding over cooking
programs with an authority that I
never understood. Of course, I
was familiar with her famous cook book
but I couldn't fathom what the fuss was
about, and why people so adored her.
Now I understand! Reading the memoir of this feisty "rather loud and unserious" six-foot-two Californian is a huge pleasure, and the photographs of France and the French, mostly taken by her husband, are exceptional. As always, it is so easy to assume that success comes to famous people easily, but this impression is quickly corrected when reading of the extraordinary efforts she went through for nine years, before Mastering the Art of French Cooking was eventually published in 1961 when she was about 49 years old.
This review was originally published in April 2006, and has been updated for the October 2007 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.
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