I remember seeing Julia Child on television as a kid, but it was only after reading My Life in France (M) and cooking some recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking (M) that I realized how important Julia Child is to the way that we cook and eat today. I absolutely loved this biography because it is so easy to hear Julia Child's voice in her writing, and it gives a clear picture of how her love of food and cooking began.
Although it may come as a surprise to some, Child explains that when she was first married she was not a very adventurous, nor a very skilled cook. It was only when she and her husband Paul moved to France, that she began to develop her passion for all things culinary.
Child recalls her struggles and triumphs as an American woman attempting to cope with the rigours of attending cooking school at the Cordon Bleu, and how she came to appreciate the importance of food and cooking in France. Her descriptions of eating sole meuniere (flat fish fried in butter with lemon and parsley), and of choosing vegetables and bartering in the produce markets take you straight to Paris, and inspire you to try some of the recipes in her cookbooks.
Central to Child's memoir is her relationship with her collaborator Simone Beck, and her work on Mastering the Art of French Cooking, a cookbook designed to allow American cooks to create authentic French dishes. Despite the years that have passed, her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking is still the most complete guide to French cooking and eating that I can think of - and most importantly, the recipes are really foolproof. Julia Child's biography is bursting with her joy and her love of life, food and France - and it rubs off.