Monday, November 19, 2012

Book Review: Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child

I doubt I ever read a biography that covered every aspect of an individual’s life more thoroughly than this book. It was as though author Bob Spitz had a ringside seat beginning with Julia Child’s childhood escapades and her relationship with her difficult father right on through years of trying to find her niche in the world. Then he recorded her unstoppable enthusiasm once she discovered a passion for French cooking. With her devoted husband Paul cheering her on, Julia mesmerized public television audiences with her culinary skills, recipes and a wicked sense of humor.

This is the story of a women who said what she thought and let the chips—along with utensils and anything else that got in her way—fall where they may. The book also offers an education in culinary trends and the chefs who espoused them. The author had access to a treasure trove of letters from Paul to his twin brother Charles almost daily for more than 30 years along with Julia’s frequent letters to her dear friend Simca. Plus Spitz interviewed Julia herself for various articles.

At times I could have done with a little less detail, and I would have preferred not to read some of the saltier expressions, but overall the book delivers exactly what it promises: a front row seat to the life of someone who changed the landscape of American cooking. Dearie includes a 21-page index and neat photos of Julia in action. Bon appetit!

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