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Summary

Summary

It's rare for someone to emerge in America who can change our attitudes, our beliefs, and our very culture. It's even rarer when that someone is a middle-aged, six-foot three-inch woman whose first exposure to an unsuspecting public is cooking an omelet on a hot plate on a local TV station.nbsp; And yet, that's exactly what Julia Child did.nbsp; The warble-voiced doyenne of television cookery became an iconic cult figure and joyous rule-breaker as she touched off the food revolution that has gripped America for more than fifty years. Now, in Bob Spitz's definitive, wonderfully affectionate biography, the Julia we know and love comes vividly -- and surprisingly -- to life.nbsp; In Dearie , Spitz employs the same skill he brought to his best-selling, critically acclaimed book The Beatles , providing a clear-eyed portrait of one of the most fascinating and influential Americans of our time -- a woman known to all, yet known by only a few. At its heart, Dearie is a story about a woman's search for her own unique expression.nbsp; Julia Child was a directionless, gawky young woman who ran off halfway around the world to join a spy agency during World War II.nbsp; She eventually settled in Paris, where she learned to cook and collaborated on the writing of what would become Mastering the Art of French Cooking, a book that changed the food culture of America.nbsp;nbsp; She was already fifty when The French Chef went on the air -- nbsp;at a time in our history when women weren't making those leaps.nbsp; Julia became the first educational TV star, virtually launching PBS as we know it today; her marriage to Paul Child formed a decades-long love story that was romantic, touching, and quite extraordinary. A fearless, ambitious, supremely confident woman, Julia took on all the pretensions that embellished tony French cuisine and fricasseed them to a fare-thee-well, paving the way for everything that has happened since in American cooking, from TV dinners and Big Macs to sea urchin foam and the Food Channel.nbsp; Julia Child's story, however, is more than the tale of a talented woman and her sumptuous craft.nbsp; It is also a saga of America's coming of age and growing sophistication, from the Depression Era to the turbulent sixties and the excesses of the eighties to the greening of the American kitchen.nbsp; Julia had an effect on and was equally affected by the baby boom, the sexual revolution, and the start of the women's liberation movement. On the centenary of her birth, Julia finally gets the biography she richly deserves.nbsp; An in-depth, intimate narrative, full of fresh information and insights, Dearie is an entertaining, all-out adventure story of one of our most fascinating and beloved figures.


Author Notes

Bob Spitz is an American journalist and author best known for his celebrity biographies, including the New York Times best seller The Beatles: The Biography. Articles by Spitz appear regularly in The New York Times Magazine, GQ, Conde Nast Traveler, Men's Journal, In Style, Esquire and The Washington Post. Some of his non-fiction titles include The Saucier's Apprentice: One Long Strange Trip through the Great Cooking Schools of Europe, Barefoot in Babylon: The Creation of the Woodstock Music Festival and Dylan: A Biography. His title Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child made the New York Times Best Seller List for 2012. (Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The latest biography of Julia Child commemorates the centennial of the birth of America's undisputed queen of cuisine. Drawing on diaries and correspondence, it fleshes out details of her already much-examined life. Spitz reviews Child's upbringing in Pasadena, her education, her wartime career in America's intelligence services, and her move to Paris, her life's undisputed turning point. Spitz awards her husband, Paul, full credit for providing a solid marriage and encouraging his wife to realize her ambitions as cook, writer, television performer, and teacher. Spitz's research pays off in revealing accounts of Child's sometimes-prickly collaborations with coauthors and her generous friendships and occasional rivalries with professional colleagues. Spitz adeptly details her conflicts with publishers and television producers, who did not always live up to her exacting standards. Boundlessly talented and energetic, Child worked well into her eighties, despite her beloved's devastating illness and the deaths of so many fellow cooks and friends.--Knoblauch, Mark Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

On November 3, 1948, a lunch in a Paris restaurant of sole meuniere, 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 souffles. 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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Choice Review

Spitz, a freelance journalist best known as a rock 'n' roll biographer (The Beatles: The Biography, 2005), shifts his attention to the rock star of home cooking, Julia Child. Over 27 chapters, Spitz moves chronologically through Child's life. Crosscutting themes include the rise of feminism that paralleled the subject's career and Child's "secret ingredient"--fun. Artifacts such as photographs and the script from the first episode of Child's show are included; more would have been welcome. The book, released on what would have been her centennial birthday, is marketed as an engaging trade publication. The style is readable, if cheesy ("Her French ... had fallen flatter than a crepe ..."). While the book is indexed, scholars will be frustrated by the lack of notes. There has been no shortage of Child biographies over the past decade: Laura Shapiro's excellent Julia Child: A Life (2007), Noel Riley Fitch's Appetite for Life: The Biography of Julia Child (CH, May'98, 35-5037), and, with her nephew Alex Prud'homme, Child's compelling autobiography My Life in France (CH, Sep'06, 44-0279). Spitz's approach compares well in its breadth and celebration of Child's fun-loving, temperamental, nonconformist side. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers. J. M. Deutsch CUNY Kingsborough Community College


Table of Contents

Prologuep. 3
1 Paradisep. 21
2 "On Her Way"p. 37
3 Julia of the Almost Springp. 63
4 Only a Butterflyp. 79
5 Keeper of the Secretsp. 97
6 Paulp. 113
7 A Diamond in the Roughp. 129
8 Lucky to Be Alivep. 145
9 Devouring Paris Wholep. 161
10 Lady Sings the Bleusp. 189
11 What She'd Gotten Herself Intop. 211
12 A Memorable Feastp. 231
13 Franchy Frenchp. 247
14 This Elephant of Oursp. 265
15 Julia's Turn to Bloomp. 291
16 Taking Everything in Stridep. 307
17 A Monstrously Busy Lifep. 325
18 A Law unto Herselfp. 341
19 The Mad Women of La Peetchp. 359
20 A Household Namep. 379
21 We Are Not All Eternalp. 399
22 Looking Forwardp. 419
23 Enoughp. 441
24 The End of an Erap. 459
25 No One Gets Out Alivep. 479
26 The Beginning of the Endp. 495
27 The Raftp. 511
Sources and Acknowledgmentsp. 531
Author's Notep. 535
Indexp. 537

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