Things I Love: Julia Child’s “My Life in France”

Forgive me this “Julie and Julia” moment (did anyone else want to slap the whine right out of Amy Adams’ character in that movie?), but I’m a wee bit obsessed with Julia Child right now.

I finally started reading her delightfully unpretentious memoir, “My Life in France,” and halfway through it, I am convinced that we would have been best friends had we been contemporaries. I’m almost ready to take the plunge and buy her intimidating classic, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” There are so many butter-based sauces in my future.

I love how she falls in love with Paris, one of my most favorite cities, when she and her husband Paul move there after World War II. I love how she falls in love with French food and cooking and how she describes every memorable meal in mouthwatering detail. And I love how she falls in love with Marseille when she and her husband move there after Paris, even though it is not as outwardly charming as Paris and is often accused of being dirty and dangerous.

This is how my friend Julia describes it:

Marseille’s hot noise was so different from Paris’s cool sophistication. To may of our northern-French friends it was terra incognita: they had never been here, and considered it a rough, rude, “southern” place. But it struck me as a rich broth of vigorous, emotional, uninhibited Life– a veritable “bouillabaisse of a city,” as Paul put it.

Yes. She is talking about Marseille, a gritty yet beautiful city that I really like, but she could be also be describing Naples or New Orleans. Vigorous, emotional, uninhibited. Eccentric, vibrant, exhilarating. Just the way I like my cities.

3 comments

1 Sierra { 09.01.11 at 8:59 am }

I am also in the Julia Childs fan club. I never saw her cooking shows or read any of The Art of French Cooking, but, like you, fell for her after reading “My Life in France.” To me, expats fall into too categories – those who complain about everything and those who enthuse about everything. Julia is definitely the latter and she reminds me to quit being such a pill and look at the bright side of LA (Can NorCal people who move to SoCal be considered expats? Discuss amongst yourselves :) )

2 Sheridan { 09.03.11 at 5:20 pm }

Her writing is fantastic! I’ve been reading “As Always, Julia” for awhile and love her political quips and social commentaries.

3 Gillian { 09.05.11 at 3:19 am }

Sierra. I completely agree. I had a couple rough “I don’t heart Italy” moments over the last few days, then I thought, “What Would Julia Do?” (that’s what “WWJD” stands for, right?). There are going to be annoying things that are different than home, but we are so lucky to live in another country and I love that she really gets that and embraces new places wholeheartedly. And a NorCal girl living in SoCal is absolutely an expat :)

I want to read that next, Sheridan! She is so funny and straightforward. I hope she is helping you adjust to live in France.

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