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336 pages, Hardcover
First published January 1, 2006
I learned how to do things professionally, like how to fix properly a piece of fish in thirteen different ways, or how to use the specialized vocabulary of the kitchen -- petits des are vegetables "diced quite finely;" a douille is the tin nozzle of a pastry bag that lets you squeeze a cake decoration as the icing blurps out.I am always pleased when blurps show up in my reading.
[My sister] Dortie wrote to say she was pregnant, and described herself as "fat and helpless." I was so happy for her now that she was a full-fledged woman, with a breast-full of milk.The idea that pregnancy is a requirement of womanhood now strikes us as borderline offensive, and while many people would comfortably describe their loved ones as "with a child in the womb," the "breast-full of milk" seems a little too food-obsessed, to my ears.
After I’d written two politically provocative letters to my father, he had not replied. Instead, he’d deposited five hundred dollars in the bank so that I could buy some decent winter clothes. This put me in a quandary. I was grateful for his help, of course, but did I really want to accept his money? Well, I didHow lovely of her to overcome her stern principles to take her father’s money. Mind you, she was thirty-seven years old at the time she took handouts from her father while scorning his viewpoint. Nothing pathetic about that. But the worst is that even after decades to mature and reflect on him, she still used ungenerous and disloyal phrases like “moneyed, materialistic, not at all introspective…not intellectual, and was intolerant and incurious…he was an example of how not to be” and the kicker: “frankly, my father’s death came as a relief more than a shock. I suddenly felt we could go to California whenever we wanted to, without restraints or family trouble.” What a peach of a daughter she must have been. Too bad we can’t ask Pop what he thought of her.
Ike was just not inspiring: I got nothing but a hollow feeling from his utterances, as if Pluto the dog were suddenly making human noises.Although here, you can kind of see her point. After all, Eisenhower was just the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, architect of D-Day, and the president who maintained peace and prosperity in the face of Soviet aggression. What is that to a woman who has mastered the complex art of boiling eggs?
It was those ruddy English faces, so held in by duty, the sense of “what is done” and “what is not done,” and always swigging tea and chirping, that made me want to scream like a hyenathe military:
The army families showed almost no interest in Germany or the Germans…wives were perfectly nice, but conventional, incurious, and conservative; the men spoke in Southern accents, usually about sex and drinkAmericans (of course):
unlike most of the US Army types, our OSS colleagues were a fascinating bunch
many of our fellow citizens seemed blissfully unaware of world politics or culture, and seemed exclusively interested in business and their own comfortfellow chefs:
she didn’t strike us as especially organized, or soberher co-author:
She was a dear friend, but horribly disorganized and rather full of herselfand even, occasionally, her beloved France:
Simca didn’t have as full a grasp of the language as she thought she did
I usually knew more about a dish than the French did, which is so often the case with a foreignerIn fact, no one lived up to Julia’s exacting standards except, of course, Julia herself.
”In the blood-heat of pursuing the enemy, many people are forgetting what we are fighting for. We are fighting for our hard-won liberty and freedom, for our Constitution and the due processes of our laws; and for the right to differ in ideas, religion, and politics. And I am convinced that in your zeal to fight against our enemies, you, too, have forgotten what you are fighting for.”