March Simple, Good, and Tasty Book Club Pick: My Life in France by Julia Child

Paris in the 1950’s. Le Cordon Bleu. Food in France. It’s a good thing these book club posts aren’t supposed to be objective, balanced journalism. Turns out I tend to like pretty much any book that has to do with making, eating, or enjoying food. (I guess that's not all that unusual here on SGT, right?) But when you add Julia Child, France and her beautiful, delicious story into the equation? Forget it -- I’m in love.

My introduction to Julia Child came from a book, rather than a meal. I didn’t grow up in a household where cooking, entertaining, or even nutrition was top of mind. My mother didn’t starve me, of course, but food wasn't something we experimented with, and it wasn't or fanciful or exotic. So my first taste of Julia came by way of Julie. And once that can was opened, I consumed every bit I could.

I’m proud to own vintage copies of both volumes of Julia’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking (thanks to my antique- and bargain-hunting mom) and I will cherish them always. I don’t necessarily cook like Julia, but the inspiration is quite something.  And then, well, did I mention how much I like French things?My Life in FranceMy Life in France

Where was I? Oh yeah! Book club! Sorry.

In this month’s Simple, Good, and Tasty book club, we’ll devour Julia Child's My Life in France and explore the French way of life through the author's eyes -- and palate. 

Before she died, Julia shared parts of her story with her nephew, Alex Prud'Homme. He rounded things out with details from the beautiful and intimate letters Julia and her husband Paul Child wrote to loved ones in America. Julia’s affair with France -- and with Paul -- are the stuff of dreams. And besides, um, there’s food. Le duh.


“…When [Julia] first arrived in 1948 with her husband, Paul, she spoke no French and knew nothing about the country itself. But as she dove into French culture, buying food at local markets and taking classes at the Cordon Bleu, her life changed forever. Julia's unforgettable story unfolds with the spirit so key to her success as a cook and teacher and writer, brilliantly capturing one of the most endearing American personalities of the last fifty years.”

It’s her story -- or maybe the story behind the story -- and it’s told beautifully. Let’s enjoy together, shall we? A few questions to get us started:

  • Is there a particular dish or meal that you associate with a place you’ve lived or traveled?
  • What most attracts you to (or drives you from) Julia’s portrayal of her experience traveling out of her country, language, and comfort zone?
  • In a way, Julia Child was the first celebrity chef. In what ways do you think current celebrity chefs featured on Food Network or The Cooking Channel honor -- or dishonor -- Julia's ethic?
  • Have you been to France? What’s your best food-related memory?

Please join us to discuss My Life in France on the last Thursday of the month, March 31st, at Mississippi Market Natural Foods Co-op’s Selby location from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. and at the Harmony Co-op in Bemidji from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. We look forward to seeing you there!


Tracy Morgan is a frequent contributor to Simple, Good and Tasty. She also runs Segnavia Creative, a business development and marketing firm, and is co-owner of the new Kitchen in the Market.  Tracy serves on the board of directors for the Mississippi Market Natural Food Co-op in St. Paul.