Reading: My Life in France

I have been reading Julia Child’s autobiography entitled My Life in France. I am reading it as part of the Book Club at The Kitchn, and I have been reading it here and there during my numerous study breaks. Now that my exams are over, this week has been dedicated to catching up with the Book Club’s reading schedule.

I am thoroughly enjoying the book and find it to be a fast and delightful read. Julia Child was a staple of my home while I was growing up; on the weekends, my family and I would gather around the television to watch her cooking show on PBS. The book chronicles how she got into the gastronomical business during her sojourn in France while her husband was stationed there following the war. It’s great to learn about how her love of cooking began, especially since she didn’t grow up in a family of cooks and didn’t learn how to cook until she was in her thirties.

However, what I have been enjoying most of about this autobiography is her vivid descriptions of her life in France. Once she docked on French land, it was as if she had donned rose-colored glasses and kept them on for the next few years of her life. She found joy and passion in every instance of her time in France, from traveling through the Riviera to haggling with the administration at the Cordon Bleu culinary institute. Her excitement really translated through the words on the pages of the book, and I really empathize with her. This book has brought back some great memories from my semester in France. She even described having to hang groceries out of the window to keep them chilled since she didn’t have a refrigerator at the beginning; decades later, I had to do the same thing if I wanted to have fresh milk instead of UV milk in the morning due to my own lack of a refrigerator.

Since reading this book, I do have one regret. I regret not sampling more of the French cuisine. Oh, I became a HUGE fan of the patisseries lining the streets of France, but when it came to savory foods, I wasn’t as adventurous. Some of the items on the menus of traditional French restaurants made me squirm a little. After reading Julia’s descriptions of such food and how much she enjoyed eating them, I definitely won’t make the same mistake twice if I ever get the chance to visit France again.

So if you find yourself with a bit of free time, check out this book.