Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Dearie - Bob Spitz

Title: Dearie: The remarkable life of Julia Child
Author: Bob Spitz
Pages (File Size): 576 (7530 KB)
Published: 2012
Challenges: E-Book, Foodies
Genre: Non-fiction, Biography
Edition: E-Book
Source: Library

Description: It’s rare for someone to emerge in America who can change our attitudes, our beliefs, and our very culture. It’s even rarer when that someone is a middle-aged, six-foot three-inch woman whose first exposure to an unsuspecting public is cooking an omelet on a hot plate on a local TV station.  And yet, that’s exactly what Julia Child did.  The warble-voiced doyenne of television cookery became an iconic cult figure and joyous rule-breaker as she touched off the food revolution that has gripped America for more than fifty years.

Now, in Bob Spitz’s definitive, wonderfully affectionate biography, the Julia we know and love comes vividly — and surprisingly — to life.  In Dearie, Spitz employs the same skill he brought to his best-selling, critically acclaimed book The Beatles, providing a clear-eyed portrait of one of the most fascinating and influential Americans of our time — a woman known to all, yet known by only a few.

At its heart, Dearie is a story about a woman’s search for her own unique expression.  Julia Child was a directionless, gawky young woman who ran off halfway around the world to join a spy agency during World War II.  She eventually settled in Paris, where she learned to cook and collaborated on the writing of what would become Mastering the Art of French Cooking, a book that changed the food culture of America.   She was already fifty when The French Chef went on the air —  at a time in our history when women weren’t making those leaps.  Julia became the first educational TV star, virtually launching PBS as we know it today; her marriage to Paul Child formed a decades-long love story that was romantic, touching, and quite extraordinary.

A fearless, ambitious, supremely confident woman, Julia took on all the pretensions that embellished tony French cuisine and fricasseed them to a fare-thee-well, paving the way for everything that has happened since in American cooking, from TV dinners and Big Macs to sea urchin foam and the Food Channel.  Julia Child’s story, however, is more than the tale of a talented woman and her sumptuous craft.  It is also a saga of America’s coming of age and growing sophistication, from the Depression Era to the turbulent sixties and the excesses of the eighties to the greening of the American kitchen.  Julia had an effect on and was equally affected by the baby boom, the sexual revolution, and the start of the women’s liberation movement.

On the centenary of her birth, Julia finally gets the biography she richly deserves.  An in-depth, intimate narrative, full of fresh information and insights, Dearie is an entertaining, all-out adventure story of one of our most fascinating and beloved figures. (via Goodreads)



Thoughts: This my second book about Julia Child that I have read (read My Life in France last year) and I really enjoyed with the book and was quite impressed not only with Julia's life, but also with the detail of that was put into the book.  It made me want to purchased a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol. 1 and more impressed that got published when it did.  I won't say entirely how much I was impressed with the publication of the book, but I can tell you I didn't put the book down during that section and was totally enamoured with that.

If there was one thing that impressed me about Julia Child is that she was incredibly decisive about getting the book published.  She didn't let moving around due to Paul's job and a co-author not helping out impede her to making sure that this cookbook was published; it was almost like she was a woman with a mission to make sure that American cooks were able to make the same things that were made in France and to let them know that cooking something was something to be enjoyed and to be done with a sense of purpose.  I got the impression that she believed that a meal shouldn't come from a can or a box, but rather something that was to feed not only your body, but also your soul.

Also she didn't like the whole health food movement, but believed that food should be enjoyed in moderation, rather than in large amounts.  So yes, have those foods that are fatty and not exactly good for you, but have them in moderation and have them occasionally.

While for the most part the book was really good, it was a little slow at the beginning, but once it got into her adult years, it just seemed to really get going.

Bottom line: If you are fan of Julia Child and if you are a foodie fan, I would highly recommend this book.  Highly recommended.

Rating: 4.5/5

Pages for 2013: 12129

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