Monday, May 22, 2006

What I'm Reading: Julia Child

Last weekend I read My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud'Homme. As the title suggests, it's the story of Julia's life in France with her new husband Paul, how she learned to love French food and cooking, and how she wrote Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It's an entertaining read and I could just hear her voice as I read it -- what fun!

I was so impressed I shared a quote with my technical writing students today:
Writing has to be lively, especially for things as technical and potentially dullsville as recipes. I tried to keep my style amusing and non-pedantic, but also clear and correct. I remained my own best audience: I wanted to know why things happened on the stove, and when, and what I could to do to shape the outcome. I assumed that our ideal reader -- the servantless American cook who enjoyed producing something wonderful to eat -- would feel the same way. (77)

I loved visiting Julia Child's Kitchen at the Smithsonian and I bought her last DVD, Julia's Kitchen Wisdom, with some of my birthday money.

Julie Powell, a 30-year old secretary, loved Julia so much that she spent a year trying every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She chronicled her progress on her award-winning blog The Julia/Julie Project, which was published in book form as Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen. Such an ambitious project would never occur to me. I guess I like eating more than cooking!

I recommend any and all of Julia's books, but My Life in France is personal glimpse into her private life that is well worth reading.

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