Thursday, December 23, 2010

Book Review: As Always, Julia

In 1951, the American West historian Bernard DeVoto wrote an article for Harper’s magazine in which he deplored the lack of adequate knives for the American housewife's kitchen. In Paris, Julia Child read the article and sent him a French kitchen knife. Avis DeVoto, Bernard’s wife, who answered her husband’s mail, wrote back to Julia. From this start, the two women corresponded until Avis’ death in 1989.

As Always, Julia covers only ten years of their 38-year friendship. During that 10-year period, Julia attended Le Cordon Bleu school to learn how to master French cooking and decided to write a French cookbook for American women.

Over the course of their friendship, the two women wrote hundreds of letters. Interspersed through out their discussions of cooking and eating were equally fascinating discussions of politics, living in foreign countries, cookbooks, publishing, and many other topics.

One has to wonder whether these two erudite and intelligent women would produce such a body of correspondence in this day of 140-character tweets, 500-word blog posts, and emails.

If you love cooking, eating, Julia Child, cookbooks, and intelligent women, this book will fascinate you

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