I played the audio discs at night when my husband was home from work. Very often he’d end up laughing or smiling at what we were hearing, at other times raising his eyebrows and making wide eyes. And I was doing the same thing.
“The French Chef in America: Julia Child’s Second Act” is eleven hours and nine discs, and, unless you are into trucking, I’d suggest getting the actual book. But, you know what? It was still enjoyable. It’s read by the author (and Julia’s great-nephew) Alex Prud’homme. He does a fine job-even if the French accents sound a bit strange.
This book covers what happens after “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” both in Julia’s professional and personal life. Most of us are somewhat familiar with the tale of her living in France and meeting Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, and how their book changed American cooking forever. The story of how Julia continued changing the landscape even as we were introduced to nouvelle cooking, diets, organics, and more convenience foods is an interesting subject. No matter the waves of cultural change that came, her ideas remained mostly valid. That rarely happens.
Equally interesting is the story of herself and her husband. The process of aging and ailing in a loving relationship is heart-breaking. Truly, it is here.
Those she mentored and her friends (like Jacques Pepin, who we remember watching years ago as he cooked side by side with her on what we think was one of the best shows on PBS, or Simca, who led a rather bad ass life if I do say so myself) make for wonderful writing.
The second half of Julia Child’s story seems to be less talked about. But, I swear to you, it is so worth reading about. “The French Chef in America” is filled with crisp details that bring everything to life. Whether you get the audio book or the actual book, if you were fascinated by this “revolutionary in pearls”, then this is a great pick for you.
*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review*
I also absolutely recommend “My Life in France” by the same author, which tackles the creation of Julia’s first book and her time in, you guessed it, France. It’s a lovely read, though I will tell you I felt like more was going on in this second book.