Appetite for Life

Appetite for Life Cover

Appetite for Life

The Biography of Julia Child

By Noel Riley Fitch

Anchor, Paperback, 9780385493833, 592pp.

Publication Date: April 13, 1999


Julia Child became a household name when she entered the lives of millions of Americans through our hearts and kitchens. Yet few know the richly varied private life that lies behind this icon, whose statuesque height and warmly enthused warble have become synonymous with the art of cooking.

In this biography we meet the earthy and outrageous Julia, who, at age eighty-five, remains a complex role model. Fitch, who had access to all of Julia's private letters and diaries, takes us through her life, from her exuberant youth as a high-spirited California girl to her years at Smith College, where she was at the center of every prank and party. When most of her girlfriends married, Julia volunteered with the OSS in India and China during World War II, and was an integral part of this elite corps. There she met her future husband, the cosmopolitan Paul Child, who introduced her to the glories of art, fine French cuisine, and love. Theirs was a deeply passionate romance and a modern marriage of equals.

Julia began her culinary training only at the age of thirty-seven at the Cordon Bleu. Later she roamed the food markets of Marseilles, Bonn, and Oslo. She invested ten years of learning and experimentation in what would become her first bestselling classic, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Now, her career is legend, spanning nearly forty years and still going strong. Generations love the humor and trademark aplomb that have made Julia a household name. Resisting fads and narrow, fanatical conventions of health-consciousness, Julia is the quintessential teacher. The perfect gift for food lovers and a romantic biography of a woman modern before her time, this is a truly American life.

About the Author
Noel Riley Fitch is the author of Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation: A History of Literary Paris in the Twenties and Thirties and Anais: The Erotic Life of Anais Nin, as well as other books chronicling the French-American artistic experience. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles and on the Left Bank in Paris. She has one grown daughter.

Praise For Appetite for Life

"Because Child allowed Fitch complete access to her papers, we get a real feel for the relentless work that went into the much-massaged  Mastering."
--Washington Post

"Fitch's richly detailed biography of Child describes how a plainspoken woman who loved food inspired millions to pick up a whisk and make a fine French dinner from scratch."

"Makes Julia [Child's] evolution from high-security clerk to cook to writer to star an incredible adventure."
--Boston Globe

"A delicious recounting of the life of the woman who has inspired confidence in generations of American cooks."
--Town & Country

"Entertaining and informative--represents the best of biographical writing."
--Library Journal