It's a story you think you know, and even if you have read it before, you realize that so much has happened in your life that it's more relevant and offers you a completely different perspective.
That's how I feel about "My Life In France:" despite "Julie and Julia," re-watching reruns of her on OPB or KVIE, and actually cooking from her infamous tomes, the context and spirit of Julia Child comes through and puts a whole new perspective on our own lives and how blessed we really are.
It also helps us discover the heart of our "Gastronomic Godmother," and gives us hope that, even in the darkest of times, we can find light and joy in cooking for the ones we love. Thinking of Julia as she was before PBS, before she was published, and picturing her as a passionate and green 36 year old when she first tried "Sole Meuniere"really puts things into perspective.
This perspective connects us more deeply with "The Greatest Generation" on a whole new level. Hemingway, WWII and Cold War Europe seem several degree closer, and thinking of ration cards, black outs, obsolete kitchens and the scarcity of food, it makes a lot of sense that the simple pleasures are so much more valuable to a culture steeped in a gastronomic tradition.
Even more, it helps us see multiple dimensions of Julia's development, as we witness how she interacts with people, travels throughout Europe, evolves in her relationship with Paul, and develops her love and appetite for "The Art of French Cooking." In turn, our appreciation grows as we share her experience and we become a part of it.
Of course, this goes into a whole theory of the reader/writer relationship, and how it relates to our experience at the table. For me, having immersed myself even further into the world of Julia only serves to enhance that love of food, relationships, and methodology that goes into "terroir at the table."