i‑Learner Education Centre

Teacher Diaries

Teacher Diaries: Ms. Willow – Non-Fiction

I LOVE reading fiction – the stories, the characters, the writing style – they all fire up my imagination and keep me fully engaged.

The non-fiction that I read has to be able to do the same. There are many interesting non-fiction books out there, but if they aren’t as engaging as a fiction book, I find that the facts in them just slip from my mind, and my attention drifts away all too easily.

One of my favourite non-fiction books – which definitely does have a great story, a fantastic set of characters, and an enjoyable style – is My Life in France by Julia Child. I re-read it often, returning to it whenever I need to be fired up by the life-force of Julia Child.

Child discovered most of her passions late in life. She fell in love with travelling and with her husband well into her thirties, and she was almost forty before she took up cooking, which she then went on to dedicate her life to.

The book details the period of her life when she first began to cook, after she moved to Paris with her husband. She demanded to be able to learn in the professional level class at the Cordon Bleu, rather than the housewives class which they tried to push her into. She strove to learn everything she could about the subject. Then, she felt that she wanted to share her knowledge, and so she joined forces with two women she knew in order to write a cookbook to bring the French style to America. Nobody wanted to publish her cookbook, as they didn’t think that anybody would buy it. Yet, still she persisted.

Child’s cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, went on to become a groundbreaking book, which has been continuously reprinted since its publication in 1961 all the way to present day. Child presented many TV series about cooking in the US, not stopping until she was in her eighties.

Her book, My Life in France, captures all of her dedication and enthusiasm, and is a wonderful read even for someone who has no interest in cooking (like me!).