Monday, April 18, 2011

"Julia Child's The French Chef" by Dana Polan

Julia Child was a larger than life personality who revolutionized the way people viewed cooking shows, and the preparation and enjoyment of food. Yes, there were cooking shows before "The French Chef," but Dana Polan shows us in his book how Ms. Child's mannerisms and character combined with her love of French cooking to produce one of the most memorable cooking shows in television history. The show ran from 1963 - 1973, first in black and white then transitioning to color, leaving her mark on generations of viewers. The popularity of the show proved that a chef with a sense of humor, the opportunity to make and fix mistakes on the air, the love of bringing food to life, and the love of inviting people into her kitchen would be a huge success. Her invitation to cook and dine brought a "friendness" to the kitchen, which had many times been a place of drudgery. Dana Polan has done a tremendous amount of research to show just how revolutionary "The French Chef" was. the pictures and cartoons he has added bring flavor to the pages. One of the interesting points he makes is that Julia Child wanted the viewer to be more like a participant, desiring that camera angles were over her shoulder, not just front view of hands. While that didn't happen, she would romp around the kitchen making the camera and viewer follow along. Come, join him on this wonderful adventure into the history and learn more about the influence of "Julia Child's The French Chef."

This is a truly wonderful book. It was fun to relive my childhood memories of the show and to see how it ties into cooking shows before and after it. Julia Child tried to make French cooking look fun and normal for everyone, and this book brought all of those memories back. This book has encouraged me to look for her show wherever I can find it. It is a great book for individuals to read, but I also recommend it to groups especially if you can watch a show and discuss the book together. I received an advance copy through Net Galley and thank them for it!


  1. Let me thank you for the lovely review of my book. It is very gratifying when an author sets out to do certain things with a book and a reader gets those fully and appreciatively. I'd love to say more so can you email me at so we can talk more directly?

    Again, thank you.