Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child

Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child - Before there was a Food Network, there was Julia Child. "Dearie" is an entertaining and often poignant look at her life.Bob Spitz presents us with a well-researched biography that could easily have been dry as burnt toast and instead lets us see behind the television personality to the woman.Julia McWilliams was born in 1912 into a well-to-do Pasadena family and seemed to have her life mapped out; ideas about women's roles were firmly entrenched in both society and her family. Instead, she longs to break out; after attending Smith College, she is at loose ends until she decides to work for the OSS. Traveling all over the world, she meets a fascinating new circle of friends ... and her future husband, Paul Child.It is Paul's OSS assignment to Paris that brings Julia into a whole new world of food, including fighting her way into Le Cordon Bleu classes with more content than those offered to bored housewives. Child is eager to learn proper technique, which becomes extremely important later when she and two of her friends decide that they want to write a cookbook that teaches American women how to prepare French food (the famous "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" books).Spitz not only takes us through the ups and downs of the Childs' marriage, but also the challenges involved in producing cookbooks (constant testing of recipes and techniques) and even producing the first television cooking show ("The French Chef"). The format is now a familiar one: a chef in the kitchen talking about how to use the ingredients and/or prepare the dishes, all the while producing pots and pans that show all stages from start to finished project.I think it is fair to say that there would be no Food Network without the pioneering efforts of Julia Child!This is not, however, a book about cooking. It's about a fascinating and complex woman who loved good food and wine, could swear like a stevedore, and was always ripe for some kind of adventure. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.(Review based on uncorrected advance proof.)