Bon Appétit — And Happy Birthday to Julia Child
Did you drop the chicken on the floor? Maybe you weren’t able to grab the potatoes in the pan after that daredevil flip. No worries. Julia would never judge.
Today — August 15 — is Julia Child’s birthday. The extraordinary cook, author, and TV superhero would have been 100 years old. And, boy, do we miss her. (Just in time for the celebration — Dearie: The Remakable Life of Julia Child, by Bob Spitz — is being published today.)
It’s not just that she knew how to cook and teach. Or cook and write. It wasn’t about being fancy or trying to impress anyone. It was all about the food. She loved food, and it showed in everything she did. Making the perfect French onion soup meant you were practicing an art form, an age-old process handed down through the generations from chef to chef. There was no pretense with Julia Child.
Julia was born in Pasadena, Calif., the same year the Titanic sunk. She joined the OSS (the precursor to the CIA) in 1941, as a typist. In 1944 she was posted to Kandy, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), and was later sent to China. In 1946, while in Ceylon, she met Paul Cushing Child, also an OSS employee, and the two were married. He joined the Foreign Service two years later, and the couple moved to Paris, where her love affair with food began.
In 1961, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which she co-wrote with French chef and author Simone Beck, became a best-seller. Julia also became a TV icon; her hit show, The French Chef, first aired on PBS in 1963. Of course, Julia had a famous run on Saturday Night Live, hilariously — and lovingly — spoofed by Dan Aykroyd.
Julia Child was also immortalized by Meryl Streep in the hit movie, Julie and Julia. Today, Julia’s famous kitchen from Cambridge, Mass., which was the setting for most of her TV shows, is on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
Don’t forget to save the liver!
Master the art of French cooking with great recipes for French cuisine!