Questions prepared by Matthew Hughes (Manager, Global Education Programs)
Discussion Questions for My Life in France
1. Julia Child describes her first meal in France as a “morsel of perfection” (p. 18), and, years later, she realizes it was an “epiphany” (p. 333). Is there a meal from your first experience in another country or culture that opened you to new experiences in an unexpected way?
2. When Julia and her husband first moved to France, travel and communication were slower and more deliberate than they are today. What sort of challenges does international distance pose for Julia’s work and relationships?
3. How would Julia’s experience have been different if her husband had not been a government employee? Do you think she would have found the same love of food and culture in another way?
4. How is Julia’s way of learning about France and French culture different from the approach many tourists use? What lessons can we take away from this approach?
5. Julia and Paul lived in France at a time when many Americans were skeptical of outside influences. At which groups do you see such skepticism aimed today? What efforts are being made to dispel misunderstandings around these groups?
6. By the end of her life, Julia had made her home in numerous countries. What was it about France that spoke so clearly to Julia and drew her back so frequently? Do you have such a place?
7. At several points in the book, Julia finds it difficult to share the depth of her experience with others who have not had the same experience. When you travel or have cultural interactions, how do you share your experience in a way that others can find meaningful, too?
8. Have you ever had a project that resembles Julia’s—one that takes years to complete and has its share of setbacks and detours along the way? What approach did you use to stay focused and see it through?
9. Besides cuisine, what mode of cultural expression (music, art, dance, clothing, etc.) captivates you when you encounter another culture? Why?
10. What do you think was Julia’s most significant realization about France during the course of her time there? About the U.S.?
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