Thursday, May 10, 2007
Julia Child by Laura Shapiro
Did you know that Julia Child had plastic surgery? Multiple times? I didn't, and I thought that was going to be the only new information I learned from this book which is part of the Penguin Lives series. These books are short, less than 200 pages and I wondered how much one could learn about someone in such a short book. I've read My Life in France which was written by Child and her nephew and it was a wonderful memoir but I wanted to read something more objective.
The book covers Julia's early life, her relationship with Paul Child, the BOOK, the television shows, and finally the aftermath. The final 2 chapters made the book worthwhile. Julia's prejudice against homosexuals is described at length. It turns out Julia was a supporter of MSG, canned food when prepared correctly, and the various government food boards and councils which support industrial farming. She was opposed to the organic, local, sustainable food movement, calling it's advocates 'cultists'. I find this all so fascinating, coming from a woman who lived to cook and eat. Apparently she believed simple preparations were boring, and ingredients, irregardless of quality, could taste wonderful when prepared well.
All in all, I found this a quick read, and ultimately enlightening about Julia's views.
I will include this as my first entry in the Non-fiction Five Challenge.