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I just finished Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz. It was a little long on detail (important books can be fewer than 300 pages, don't let anybody tell you different), but hers was an illustrious life, and there's nothing like getting to the end of a 500-plus-page biography to give a reader a sense of grand scale.
Julia didn’t find her niche—she could barely cook!—until she was in her 30s, so there’s hope for us all. WGBH paid her only $50 a show when she started on television in 1963—and she had to buy the food out of that! Spitz gives us lots of gossip about her relationships with collaborators, but he doesn’t mention how Julia reacted to Julie Powell, the blogger who cooked all the recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a year. He does say, though, that Child thought Dan Aykroyd’s impersonation of her was hilarious and kept a tape of the skit to show to guests for years afterward.
You can find seasons one and two of Julia’s first show, The French Chef, on DVD at the library (you can find them all streaming online), as well as videos of her cooking with Jacques Pépin; and we have the recent movie, Julie & Julia, with Meryl Streep. (Child thought Streep was an alarmist about pesticides, but towards the end of her life she was starting to change her mind.)
Originally posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2012
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