Seeing Julie & Julia sparked my interest in reading Julia Child's autobiography My Life in France. Now that I have, I can't decide whether it raised or lowered my opinion of her. There's a lot about her that I really like, but those are all the same things that the movie covered. The book seemed to bring out a few more negative qualities, though- like the fact that she could be a bit judgemental towards views that were not her own, whether about cooking or politics.
On the whole though, I thought the book painted a charming impression of her and of France. Surprisingly, it didn't really put me in the mood to cook since a lot of what she made seemed difficult and, frankly, not that appetizing (aspics? tripe? no thanks!). What did put me in a culinary mood were her descriptions of the way food in France tasted better, fresher, and more like it was supposed to taste. It reminded me of a restaurant I ate at in Maine that was one of the best I'd ever been to- Bandaloop (pictured in a horrendously blurry way below).
The focus of the restaurant is on organic, mostly locally grown ingredients, with a lot of vegetarian and vegan dishes thrown in. We ate there two nights in a row and some of the highlights the best chicken I've ever tasted and an amazing beet salad. It definitely made the case in support of local, organic eating.