In reading Julia Child’s memoir, My Life in France, I have been consistently surprised and delighted to share in her unique and fresh perspective on the world around her. She was open to experience and lived for adventure; of course, we all have a rosy glow when reminiscing about the past, but in her retelling, the reader is transported to the streets of Paris, the fish markets of Marseilles, the countryside spotted with orange flowers, all tied together by mouthwatering descriptions of French food and wine.
Paul Child, Julia’s husband, worked in government service for many years, beginning before World War II and continuing in various embassy posts (which is how they ended up living in Paris in the first place).
He was serving the US Government in the Marseilles post during the era of Senator Joe McCarthy, most known for his 1950s communist witch hunts. At one point, Paul was called to Washington, DC to be interrogated by the McCarthy commission; Julia recounts how the feeling of betrayal and anger remained with them “like ashes in our mouths.”
Making my bed (okay, laying in my bed) after reading this passage, I caught myself thinking “the government always screws you.” This is both somewhat correct and wildly inaccurate.