Great New Book for Foodies!

Title: As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child & Avis Devoto

Author: Joan Reardon

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Pages: 448

Genre: Non-Fiction- Biography

Julia Child- her very name conjures visions of Coq au Vin, Beef Bourguignon, and butter. As a confirmed foodie and Julia fan, I was fascinated by As Always, Julia. The book is made up almost entirely of the letters exchanged by Julia Child and friend Avis Devoto during the years 1952-1989, with a bit of explanatory filler by the author, Joan Reardon. Their correspondence and friendship began when Mrs. Child wrote a letter of appreciation to Mrs. Devoto’s husband regarding a magazine article he had written on kitchen knives. Mrs. Devoto answered the letter on her husband’s behalf and the two women became pen pals, with Mrs. Devoto becoming the champion of Mrs. Child’s book in the publishing world.

A great deal of the letters focus on the developing and publishing of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, the cookbook that made Julia Child a household name. But there is so much more of interest to be found in the correspondence. Much is said of the McCarthy era, when so many people were unjustly accused of being Communist sympathizers. The many references to little-known intellectuals and politicians of the period made for hard reading sometimes- the author had to make a number of footnotes to explain who was who and what was what, which was both helpful and distracting. It was worth soldiering through, however, as I gained so much insight into both of these captivating ladies and the society they lived in.

I highly recommend this book to any Julia Child afficionado or food-lover. If you are not immersed in the world of food, you might not enjoy this book, as there are so many food references. That being said, the glimpse into the world of the fifties and early sixties may be interesting enough to hold anyone’s attention.

Note: I received an electronic galley of this book from the publisher for reviewing purposes. It was released on 12/01/2010.

Published in: on December 14, 2010 at 6:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

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