Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Book Club, July Review

For July we read Julia Child's My life in France.

It was a lovely book about well her life in France and the making of her famous book , Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It was a great tiem for this book, considering the buzz about the movie Julie and Julia. It goes through how she met her huband Paul and their travels that came with the positions in government they had. You get to read in basically her own words the awakening that Julia had when they moved to France and how it inspired her to try cooking and how it forever changed her life with the trials of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

The Book Club post about it is here

Here are the Disscussion Questions and my answers. If you've read the book feel free to post your own answers.

1. Julia’s first meal in France (Sole Meunière) was transformative. She recalls it in the book with great detail, calling it “the most exciting meal of my life”. Do you have any one meal that stands out in your memory like this? Was it simply because the food was exquisite, or is it tied to another experience that made it particularly special?

Maybe not quite the same as Julia's experience but food wise my most stand out moment is when my now husband took me out to a fancy dinner place on a dateI was 17. We decided to order some steaks to go all out. They asked how I liked it cooked and I had no clue since all meat was cooked well done at my house. They said medium rare is popular so I decided to try it. OMG it was amazing. I've never gone back to well cooked beef ever again. I didn't realize beef could be so juicy and tender and melty (is that even a word? LOL)

2. Nowadays, with the popularity of celebrity chefs such as Rachel Ray touting “30-minute meals”, is Julia Child obsolete? Do you think people care anymore about the art of cooking and making something truly oustanding, or are most people looking for the “quick fix”? Where do you fall on the spectrum, and why?

Honestly it all depends, on a day to day basis I like things that quick and easy, or at least where you can do all the prep ahead of time and just pull it out of the fridge to put it together. For familu dinners and speical occasions I will defintely take my time and turn out something amazing. I would love to be more towards Julia's style but with having little kids I cannot be serving dinner anytime past 6 or the crankiness distroys my house.

3. For several years, Julia spent enormous amounts of time and energy writing the cookbook that would become Mastering the Art of French Cooking, despite having no assurances that the book would ever be published. Can you imagine undertaking such an enormous endeavor, not knowing if your efforts would ever bear fruit? Do you feel that this type of dedication is a vanishing quality in our society, or have you or someone you know ever undertaken a similar project not knowing whether there would be a payoff?

I couldn't imagine doing something like this. I'm having a hard time knowing I need to go back to school and what to do about that. I'm sure that while it would have been upsetting if MtAoFC didn't getting published like it did, Julie would have just said ok looked elsewhere and continued on. She was always saying in the book that she was doing it for her own research as much as for the book.

4. Julia describes her father and stepmother as being somewhat small-minded and not at all interested in “experiencing” France in the way she did. Her father’s conservative attitude was a constant source of chagrin for her, and she never felt close to him because of it. Do you feel she should have made more of an effort, or was she right to give up on him and keep her distance? Why do you think her father was threatened by Julia’s choice of husband and lifestyle?

I think she did ok. If her and Paul had to hide who they were from her father and step-mom just to have a good relationship with them, how is that a good relationship. Its sad but even though you have close bloodties with someone doesn't mean that your lives are going to be anywhere near following the same paths. No one needs toxic people in their lives and its hard to let go.

5. The memoir covers several periods in Julia’s life, from the time she arrives in France to her later years at La Pitchoune. What was your favorite part of the book or of Julia’s story, and why?

My favourite was when she started at the Cordon Blue. Her relationship with her teacher-chef was amazing. To be able to have someone who knows so much about the food and markets, and to be willing to give extra help and studies blows my mind. To read about the awakening she had once she was getting the hang of things was great. Makes me want to go to Paris and forget the tourist stuff.

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