Monday, October 15, 2012

Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child

Bob Spitz

A Thanksgiving hotline direct to Julia Child, can you imagine? You open the oven door to find a charred turkey that is half the size it was when it went in a few hours ago. Your heart sinks. You want to cry. But then you call Julia: “Yes, dearie, you just put that bird right on the table.” And you would.  Because after talking to Julia Child you would have the confidence to follow her motto: Never apologize for your cooking. Keeping her name in the phone book meant Julia could respond to anyone’s cry for help when it came to cooking, which is one of the many remarkable things I learned about Julia Child from reading Bob Spitz’s biography.

Julia Child was a dynamo: cooking mentor, TV star, top-selling author, educational and social activist. In Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child, Spitz seems to be channeling the life-force of this fascinating woman, his words streaming in an excited conversational style. Here we learn about Julia’s Foreign Office work during the war, that first bite of sole meuniere in Paris that sparked her career, and her forty-eight-year marriage to Paul Child, whose eventual decline into dementia was the greatest hardship of her life. Accessing Julia’s diaries and letters, Spitz infuses his account of Julia’s life with all the right ingredients: humour, a genuine love of his subject, and a foodie’s sense of mouthwatering details.

- Morvern McNie

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