The Remarkable Life of Julia Child

Book - 2012
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It is rare for someone to emerge in America who can change our attitudes, our beliefs, and our very culture. It is even rarer when that someone is a middle--aged, six-foot three-inch woman whose first exposure to an unsuspecting public is cooking an omelet on a hot plate on a local TV station. And yet, that is exactly what Julia Child did. The warble voiced doyenne of television cookery became an iconic cult figure and joyous rule breaker as she touched off the food revolution that has gripped America for more than fifty years. In this biography, the Julia we know and love comes to life. In it the author provides a portrait of one of the most fascinating and influential Americans of our time, a woman known to all, yet known by only a few. At its heart, this biography is a story about a woman's search for her own unique expression. Julia Child was a directionless, gawky young woman who ran off halfway around the world to join a spy agency during World War II. She eventually settled in Paris, where she learned to cook and collaborated on the writing of what would become Mastering the Art of French Cooking, a book that changed the food culture of America. She was already fifty when The French Chef went on the air, at a time in our history when women were not making those leaps. Julia became the first educational TV star, virtually launching PBS as we know it today; her marriage to Paul Child formed a decades long love story that was romantic, touching, and quite extraordinary. A fearless, ambitious, supremely confident woman, Julia took on all the pretensions that embellished tony French cuisine and fricasseed them to a fare-thee-well, paving the way for everything that has happened since in American cooking, from TV dinners and Big Macs to sea urchin foam and the Food Channel. Julia Child's story, however, is more than the tale of a talented woman and her sumptuous craft. It is also a saga of America's coming of age and growing sophistication, from the Depression Era to the turbulent sixties and the excesses of the eighties to the greening of the American kitchen. Julia had an effect on and was equally affected by the baby boom, the sexual revolution, and the start of the women's liberation movement. On the centenary of her birth, Julia finally gets the biography she richly deserves. An in-depth, intimate narrative, full of fresh information and insights, this biography is the story of one of our most fascinating and beloved figures.
Publisher: New York : Knopf, 2012.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780307272225
Branch Call Number: B Child, Julia
Characteristics: viii, 557 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.


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The French Chef: 55 Years of Julia Child on TV

On February 2, 1963, Julia Child began regularly entering American homes with her television program The French Chef. The show was filmed live-to-tape, leaving little room for error, resulting in occasional accidents that became a trademark. A 1964 Saturday Evening Post article noted: "She may lose the butter or even drop the turkey in the sink, but Julia Child has won a devoted TV… (more)

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Jul 23, 2013

Remarkable life indeed. I really enjoyed this book about Julia. She was a wonderful woman.

Evamach Apr 10, 2013

While I did see some of her shows and have one of her cookbooks, what I really appreciated in this book is the tale of the development of Julia as a person, and the wonderfully evocative descriptions of her relationships, with her husband, her co-authors and more.

I am only mildly interested in cooking, so I was not sure I would get through this huge book but it held my interest throughout.

Mar 09, 2013

Wow, I had no idea that Julia came from such a privaleged background!

Mar 04, 2013

A delightfully written and exhaustively researched biography on Julia Child. I laughed so much during the chapters on her childhood ... what a pistol Julia was even then! The book covers her entire life (Julia kept up an amazing work schedule even into her late 80s). Upon finishing this long biography, I felt like I had lost a very close friend. If you loved her memoir My Life in France, or the movie Julie and Julia, you will absolutely devour this book. It's just wonderful, dearie.

Jan 19, 2013

A truly amazing and enjoyable biography.

Jan 03, 2013

What a life! This is an amazing biography of a cultural icon. She brought authentic French cooking into the homes of millions, and was the inspiration for all the cooking shows you see on television today. It would be so beneficial if the shows we have on today would actually review some of Mrs. Child's shows, and actually teach the viewers something, rather than just act a form of mindless entertainment.

Dec 05, 2012

coulda been shorter

VanessaCCL Oct 16, 2012

"Julia Child, cookbook author and television star, lived a rich and complex life even before she discovered French cuisine in 1948. In Dearie, biographer Bob Spitz recounts details of Child's California upbringing, her wartime service with the OSS, her loving relationship with her husband, and her friendships and professional ties. Her apparently inexhaustible energy, joie de vivre, and charm come to life on the pages of this biography." From Next Reads Biography & Memoir October 2012 newsletter

Sep 27, 2012

Fascinating story about a truly remarkable woman, that had me you-tubing clips from her old shows. I was already familiar with the overall Julia Child story (wealthy parents, worked for the agency that would become the CIA in WWII, moved to France where she fell in love with French cooking, attended Le Cordon Bleu and co-wrote a cookbook designed to introduce French techniques to American cooks, practically created PBS as we know it with her show The French Chef, etc.) but I was amazed at how hard she worked, what a perfectionist she was, how the TV persona was both natural and crafted, and many other details of her life. The only thing keeping me from giving it five stars is the author's over-reliance on cliches, and his obvious favoritism toward his subject.

Sep 23, 2012

Since seeing her first TV show live on public TV in the '60s, I've been a huge Julia-phile and will read anything and everything about her. Lots of fascinating new background and information in this book, and I enjoyed reading it. Only complaint is the author's too-cute, somewhat flippant language in places, that felt like an intrusion in the account of an actual person.


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