21 November 2015

Weekend Cooking: As Always, Julia edited by Joan Reardon

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend 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.

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Review: As Always, Julia edited by Joan ReardonI belong to a group of Julia Child fans who simply can't get enough of her. Although her story has been told time and again, I couldn't resist reading just one more book.

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
ISBN-13: 9780547417714
Source: Borrowed (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


15 comments:

jama 11/21/15, 7:37 AM  

I never tire of reading about Julia. I've dipped into these letters now and again and find them fascinating. Thank goodness for Avis, or we might not have ever seen MTAOFC in print!

Molly Totoro 11/21/15, 7:40 AM  

I am also a Julia fan, and I enjoy epistolary novels (I think letters add a unique intimacy). This book sounds like a win-win.

Tina 11/21/15, 8:08 AM  

Me too! I am a fan and have read most biographies and books I can about Julia. She was truly an amazing woman. That's a good book you are featuring today.

JoAnn 11/21/15, 8:13 AM  

This book somehow makes it into my hands every time I'm in B&N.... will treat myself one of these days!

Karen 11/21/15, 8:44 AM  

A new insight into all that is Julia? Count me in!

bermudaonion 11/21/15, 9:15 AM  

I love reading letters so I think I would like this book too.

Nan 11/21/15, 9:58 AM  

I am one of those Julia fans, too. I have three big books on my shelf waiting for me, including this one. I also bought a children's book biography of her. I so admire this woman.

Katherine P 11/21/15, 10:16 AM  

I read My Life in France a few years ago and for some reason Julia and I did not get along. I think I should give her another chance and this sounds like a pretty good way to do it! Sounds like an interesting read.

rhapsodyinbooks 11/21/15, 10:54 AM  

I agree one can never get tired of reading about her!

Tea Norman 11/21/15, 2:52 PM  

I really like to read letters. I would really enjoy this one.

Melynda Brown 11/22/15, 4:03 AM  

I need to check this out at the library; Julia Child is very interesting, having lived a very full life. Thanks for hosting.

Joy 11/22/15, 10:06 AM  

I think I would enjoy this one. I read a couple of biographies a few years ago that talked about these letters. What a treat to actually read them!

(Diane) bookchickdi 11/22/15, 3:06 PM  

When I visit the Smithsonian American History Museum, I always spend time at the Julia Child kitchen exhibit. I should look this book up.

Margot 11/23/15, 1:19 AM  

I'm so glad you posted about this book. It reminds me that I have a copy up in the cloud of my kindle. I love reading her books or books about her. Thanks.

Laurie C 11/23/15, 8:19 AM  

Sounds like one of those good reads that I'll never get to! I never got to Dearie, either, and really wanted to read that one!

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