Does it matter? A recent story in the The New York Times notes that despite her canonization as the unofficial ambassador for French cuisine in this country, most French people haven’t heard of Julia Child.
In a way, it makes sense. Her book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, was always intended for an American audience. It was never translated to French for one obvious reasons — in theory, the French know how to cook their own cuisine.
I bought a copy in London in 2002 and that copy wasn’t translated to English, either, meaning that it had no specific shifts for UK cooks such as gas marks and English measures. Consider that on Amazon.co.uk, there are only three reviews for the seminal work, two posted by Americans living abroad. On Amazon in the United States, there are 134 reviews.
The NY Times noted: “In an interview
in the French daily newspaper Le Figaro last week, [Meryl] Streep said:
“What surprises me is that the French don’t know her at all. While for
Americans, she was one of the best ambassadors of France … since
The irony is that at the same time that Julie & Julia introduces a whole new generation to Julia Child, it may also be introducing her to the people whose cuisine she championed for more than half of her life, too.