Appetite for Life: The Biography of Julia Child

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9780385483353: Appetite for Life: The Biography of Julia Child

Julia Child became a household name when she entered the lives of millions of Americans through our hearts and kitchens.  Yet few know the richly varied private life that lies behind this icon whose statuesque height and warmly enthused warble have become synonymous with the art of cooking.  In this biography, we meet the earthy and outrageous Julia, who, at age eighty-five, remains a complex role model.  Fitch, who had access to all of Julia's private letters and diaries, takes us through her life from her exuberant youth as a high-spirited California girl to her years at Smith College, where Julia was at the center of every prank and party.  When most of her girlfriends married, Julia volunteered with the OSS in India and China during World War II, and was an integral part of this elite corps.  There she met her future husband, the cosmopolitan Paul Child, who introduced her to the glories of art, fine French cuisine, and love.  Theirs was a deeply passionate romance and a modern marriage of equals.

Julia began her culinary training only at the age of thirty-seven at the Cordon Bleu.  Later she roamed the food markets of Marseilles, Bonn, and Oslo.  She invested ten years of learning and experimentation in what would become her first bestselling classic, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  Now, her career is legend, spanning nearly forty years and still going strong.  Generations love the humor and trademark aplomb that have made Julia Child a household name.  Resisting fads and narrow, fanatical conventions of health-consciousness, Julia is the quintessential teacher.  The perfect gift for food lovers and a romantic biography of a woman modern before her time, this is a truly American life.  Bon appÚtit!

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Review:

Noel Riley Fitch's savory new biography, Appetite for Life, reveals a woman as appealing as the good food and serious cooking she popularized. As a California girl and Smith College undergraduate, Fitch writes, Julia McWilliams was notable for her high spirits and voracious appetite. Performing intelligence work in Asia during World War II, she met Paul Child, and their marriage of mutual devotion and affection endured until his death in 1994. His postwar assignment took them to France, where she discovered her true calling.

Fitch reminds us that Child championed fresh ingredients at a time when frozen foods and TV dinners dominated American supermarket shelves, and that she demystified haute cuisine with her earthy humor and casual attitude toward mistakes. This affectionate portrait of the remarkable Julia Child reflects her fervent belief that the pleasures of the table are a natural accompaniment to the pleasures of life.

From the Publisher:

Advance Praise for Appetite for Life:

"This fabulous book proves that Julia Child is quite a dish! It's just wonderful reading."
--Beverly Sills

"This book brilliantly profiles Julia Child's gargantuan spirit and joie de vivre. Her genius as a cooking teacher is almost an aside; it's her sheer exuberance for living that could teach us all a few things. It's no wonder America has long been having a mad love affair with Julia."
--Charlie Trotter, author of Charlie Trotter's Seafood and owner of Charlie Trotter's in Chicago

"Julia Child is a national treasure, and she is beautifully served by Nol Riley Fitch's intimate and illuminating biography."
--Justin Kaplan, author of Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain

"I thoroughly enjoyed reading Appetite for Life. . . Our admiration and love for Julia grows stronger as we keep reading...The narration reads like a thriller, vivid and engrossing...This well-written, lively tale brings to life a complex, multifaceted personality, endearing, and, at times, heroic."
--Jacques Ppin

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