Prologue to a Twins Blog

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Life in France

Okay, so I've never lived in France and probably never will, but Julia Child has. She is my new infatuation of the moment and this is the title of her autobiography, that I just read, documenting her years spent in France and learning how to cook. Yes, you read that correctly... learning how to cook. She was not born with a silver spoon and a stick of butter in her hand.

Surprisingly, Julia Child was an American who didn't even learn how to cook until she was 36! I thought she was born knowing how to cook. I thought with a cooking show called The French Chef that she was French. You know, why would she call herself the "French Chef" if she wasn't French. There was hope for me yet! This new information about her pulled me right in and I wanted to learn more so I bought the book. As it turns out, she was nothing like how I thought she was and I'm really glad about that.

I've traveled to France 3 times and each time I've gone, I've left saying "I will never, ever go back there." The food does nothing for me, the people I encountered were rude, the language is a challenge for me, crossing the streets as a pedestrian is life-threatening and yet there is something about it that keeps drawing me back. It's that "something" that Julia fell in love with immediately, but has taken me many years to realize.

Even now if you ask me if I like France, I will answer "no," but yet every book title that is published with "France" or "Paris" in its title catches my eye; I rent (and enjoy) French movies; I've read everything currently published about Marie Antoinette, Louis XIV and the French Revolution; I'm secretly studying the language; and planning when I can take the twins to my one of my favorite places, the Palace of Versailles. But, the really nice thing about being obsessed, if you will, about France was being introduced to Julia.

That's how my obsession with Julia Child started, just because her book had "France" in it. And, here is the really funny thing, I don't even like to cook. Food does not interest me at all - my taste buds cannot tell the difference between a Morton's Steakhouse steak and an Applebee's steak. And yet, just like France, there is something about her that I am fascinated by.

So to make a long story even longer, what I've realized is that I do make impressions based on what I see with my eyes, but sometimes those impressions are just not correct. I guess you really can't judge a book (or a person or even a country) by its cover.

I read My Life in France at about the same time that I heard that Julie & Julia, the movie, was coming out so the timing was perfect. I actually finished the book the night before I went to see the movie! Just so you can see how (dare I say) cute, Julia Child is, take a moment to watch the trailer from Julie & Julia. The Julia side of the movie follows the book very closely and brings Julia back to life again.


  1. Hi Shelby, I always viewed Julia Child as some snooty cook who thought she was better than everyone else. I'm not sure why I thought that...maybe it was the way she talked or how she seemed to know everything about everything. But obviously I misjudged her. I wonder what made her want to learn how to cook at the age of 36.

    I've never been to France but I have heard that the French people are rude. I think my husband has been there once.

    Love the look of your new blog!!! I'm gonna add you to my blogroll!

  2. Hi Shelby! I recently saw Julie & Julia and I would highly recommend it if you are a fan. It was the first movie I've seen in months (I'd go weekly if I could) and was so glad I picked it.

  3. I loved this book, too. I was fascinated by Julia's stories, and even though I can't relate to her desire to be a great cook, I really admired her enthusiasm for doing something well and her tolerance of difficult situations. I was also amazed at the great detail that Julia remembered considering she wrote this book in her 90s! The movie was great, too, although it obviously left out a lot of details since Julia only got half the screen time. I gave my copy of the book to someone else to read. I highly recommend it!