Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child

Bob Spitz. Knopf, $28.95 (560p) ISBN 978-0-307-27222-5
On November 3, 1948, a lunch in a Paris restaurant of sole meunière, the sole so very fresh with its delicate texture and cooked like an omelet in nothing but a bath of clarified butter, changed Julia Child’s life. In that moment, Child (1912–2004) recognized and embraced food as her calling, setting out initially to learn the finer points of cooking, and French cooking in particular. In this affectionate and entertaining tribute to the witty, down-to-earth, bumptious, and passionate host of The French Chef, Spitz (The Beatles) exhaustively chronicles Child’s life and career from her childhood in California through her social butterfly flitting at Smith and her work for a Pasadena department store to her stint in government service, her marriage to Paul Child, and her rise to become America’s food darling with the publication of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her many television shows. In spite of her miserable failures in her early attempts to prepare food for her husband, a determined Child enrolled in courses at the renowned French cooking school, Le Cordon Bleu, where she mastered everything from sauces to soufflés. Spitz reminds us that Child had always possessed a tremendous amount of excess energy with no outlet for expressing it. With the publication of her cookbook and the subsequent television shows, she discovered the place where she could use her cooking skills, her force of personality, and her abundant charm. Released to coincide with Child’s centenary, Spitz’s delightful biography succeeds in being as big as its subject. Agent: Sloan Harris, ICM. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/09/2012
Release date: 08/07/2012
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