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Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Add one part Julia and stir: Karen Karbo’s JULIA CHILD RULES

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Books about Julia Child are among my secret reading pleasures. But I was skeptical when I heard about Karen Karbo’s Julia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life (skirt! Books/Globe Pequot Press). It sounded like yet another gimmicky project, like the blog-book-movie phenomenon, Julie and Julia. I must admit that I enjoyed Julie Powell’s account of her year of cooking every recipe in Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking; it’s a funny, engaging, stylishly written page-turner. But there’s a quality about it that’s so anti-Julia—an edge of smugness and seeming lack of compassion for, well, humanity. In the first chapter of the book, Powell encounters a mentally ill homeless person on her way home from a bad day at work…

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