Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.
As Always, Julia, edited by Joan Reardon, is a collection of letters written by Julia Child and her friend and pen pal Avis DeVoto from 1952 to 1961. This was the decade during which Child was writing her Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
Avis DeVoto, a book and manuscript reviewer (among other things), was the wife of an award-winning author. The two women met on paper when Child wrote DeVoto's husband a fan letter. When Avis replied, little did she know that she had found her soul mate. The letters between the women start off somewhat formal, but once the friendship formed, they shared their opinions on many aspects of their lives, from the kitchen to the living room and even the bedroom.
Underlying these personal letters is Child's ongoing project of writing her Mastering the Art of French Cooking. DeVoto was more than supportive; she was instrumental in getting the book accepted and published by Knopf. In addition, DeVoto helped copyedit the manuscript and tweak it for an American audience.
The letters themselves make for delightful reading, giving us insight into Julia Child the person, not the famous cook or television personality. The women, of course, wrote often of meals, recipes, ingredients, kitchen equipment, and cooking techniques. But they also shared their thoughts on books, politics, and aging (the women met when they were in their forties). I loved Child's descriptions of the cities she visited or lived in, the women's discussions of McCarthyism, and their thoughts on the other people in their lives. I was also interested in Child's frank reactions to the problems and pains of moving whenever Paul, her husband, was reassigned to another city or another country.
Whether you read each letter carefully or you pick and choose, Joan Reardon's As Always, Julia is perfect for Julia Child fans and for anyone interested in food and travel during the 1950s. The letters also offer interesting insight into the writing and editing of Child's masterpiece cookbook. Check this out of the library or ask for it for Christmas. Then pour yourself a proper cup of tea and settle in for a good read. (Note: the image is from Wikimedia Commons and is in the public domain.)
Published by Houghton Mifflin, 2010
Source: Borrowed (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)