Rediscover: My Life in France

Julia Child (1912-2004), famed cookbook author and TV chef, brought French cuisine to American tables with Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961). Her subsequent cooking show, The French Chef, made her a household name, and forever changed the flavor of American culinary culture. Her fame never fully ebbed, though it experienced a posthumous revival with Julie Powell's blog-turned-book, Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen, which became a film starring Amy Adams as Julie and Meryl Streep as Julia in 2009.

My Life in France, published two years after Julia Child's death with the help of her journalist great-nephew, Alex Prud'homme, chronicles the formative French years of Child's life, a period that would transform her from someone with little interest in cooking into "Our Lady of the Ladle," as she was dubbed by TIME magazine. The book begins with Child's epiphany moment, a lunch of sole meunière (pan-fried fish with brown butter sauce) served in Rouen, on the way to her husband's post in Paris with the USIA. Child's journey gets only tastier from there: cooking classes at Le Cordon Bleu, an eating club with two future co-authors, and reflections on her rise to fame. This savory book is back in the spotlight: on October 4, Knopf published Prud'homme's The French Chef in America: Julia Child's Second Act (9780385351751), a "sequel in spirit" to My Life in France (Anchor, $16, 9780307277695). --Tobias Mutter

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