As Always, Julia – The Letters of Julia Child and Avis Devoto by Joan Reardon

A collection of letters written in the 1950s between Julia Child and her pen pal, Avis Devoto, this book reveals a fascinating correspondence between two women, both avid fans of French cooking, living on opposite sides of the Atlantic. Julia was in France when she read an article on knives in Harper’s magazine by Bernard Devoto (Avis’s journalist/ historian husband who taught at Harvard). In his piece he was crusading for American women to find good carbon steel kitchen knives, and Julia responded by sending him a French “couteau.” Avis wrote the thank you for her spouse, and the long correspondence began. A well connected book reviewer in the Boston area, Avis became Julia’s champion, guiding her with invaluable advice as she wrote Mastering the Art of French Cooking with her French co-authors. But this book is about much more than how that celebrated tome got its start. These two women in their richly detailed letters give a vivid portrayal of life in the fifties in the U.S, including their worries over McCarthyism. Edited beautifully by well-known culinary historian and biographer, Joan Reardon, this is a magical read for everyone, not just foodies.

As Always, Julia-The Letters of Julia Child and Avis Devoto
Edited by Joan Reardon
Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt
$26

 

 

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