Review : My Life In France

Posted: July 6, 2009 in Reviews

My knowledge of cooking is bare minimum. I am not ashamed of admitting that, ok fine a little bit ashamed but I never got a chance to learn. With occasional pasta , instant noodles and soups that I used to make in my hostel at the medical college , I am totally clueless about cooking. Mom doesn’t allow me in the kitchen , so by Indian standards I am totally lacking in one skill that every girl my age should have acquired. But since I read this book , I have started taking lessons from mom. Small step but I have finally begun.

Coming to the book. Just as it was about cooking , my knowledge about cooks wasn’t good either. I frequently came across the phrases like ‘You can be called a great cook only when you can cook like Julia Child’ when my friends talked about cooking (which they do so very frequently),I would be the only person in the group asking , who is that? I was so ignorant , that during these discussions I was totally ignored by my friends šŸ™‚

Few days back I came across many blogs having Julie & Julia giveaway and curiosity got better of me. I wanted to know about this lady who had so much to her credit.Cook books, TV shows, a memoir co authored by her and a movie based on her life. If I didn’t read about her now,I knew I would be labelled a consciously ignorant fool . So I started reading My Life In France by Julia Child and Alex Prudhomme.

My opinion after I finished it : The book is great and so is Julia Child. An American woman who knew nothing about France , its culture , food or even language dived head on in to and emerged as an inspiration to millions. That’s one very very good story. It’s a story told in simple beautiful way that you feel as if you are reading something your friend has written for you. It makes you feel as if you have known her all along and she is just bringing you up to date with certain things you missed while chatting with her. Narrative gets 5 stars from my side.

Her experiences in the kitchen , her own and in her Cardon Bleu classroom are told in such a way that you can just picturise her learning proper preparation of glazed onions, crudites, salade verte , or the basic sauces. You feel for her when she learns all the difficult recipes for her examination to earn a diploma from the institute and her shock when she realises that the preparation’s asked in the practical exam are those very simple ones published on a small booklet handed to them during admission , which she had blissfully ignored. Her family life , her friends, her book Mastering The Art Of French Cooking , her relationship with her co authors has been dealt in a very honest way. You can’t help but admire this lady who made French cuisine what it means to common people today. It was there and it was good but she brought it to the masses.

I was so hungry while reading this book that I raided the refrigerator at least 3 times šŸ™‚ All the dishes discussed in the book just push you to either cook something or get a reservation at a good French restaurant. I totally went for the second option. This time my friends were surprised as I knew what I was ordering and quite a little about the lady they so revered. So , thanks to My Life In France, I am no longer, the royally ignored one in foodie discussion of my group.

  1. celi.a says:

    Great review! I always eat when I'm reading books about food and/or cooking, too. Bravo! for taking cooking lessons from your mom…that's a great way to start.
    I'm going to have to check this book out. Thanks!

  2. Shona says:

    Thanks, I had to start sometime , so better late then never šŸ™‚