I grew up like most other kids, waking up on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons, but unlike most kids, after cartoons I would watch my cooking shows.
So it was inevitable that I would learn about Julia Child, in all her splendor, at such an early age.
I mean she was a rock star in my eyes. She wasn’t afraid to use butter (but didn’t take it to a gross Paula Deen level), she would nonchalantly whack any piece of meat with her cleaver, but, most importantly, she was such a goofball, and I was hooked!
And I wasn’t the only one. Today we celebrate what would have been Julia’s 100th birthday.
I think we all know a bit about Julia, the woman who brought French Cooking to American homes with her co-authored cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her television cooking shows, but here are a few things you might not have known about the woman I call the Mother of French Cooking in America.
Did you know that Julia Child…
1. Worked with The Office of Strategic Services, which was the predecessor to the CIA. Some say she worked as a spy, and maybe cataloging highly-classified documents would fall under that position.
2. Was an inventor. During WWII she worked on developing shark repellant for underwater explosives, which were crucial in our fight against the German submarines.
3. At 6’2, was the tallest student in her class at San Francisco’s Katherine Branson School for Girls, and was described by a friend at the time as being “really, really wild.”
4. Intended to become a famous woman novelist while attending Smith College, which claims Sylvia Plath, Nancy Reagan and Gloria Steinem as alumnae.
5. Was fired from home furnishing company W&J Sloane’s Los Angeles branch for “gross insubordination.”
Quotes from Julia:
- “I can’t stand those over-sanitary people.” In response to letters from viewers criticizing her for not washing her hands.
- “I would rather eat one tablespoon of chocolate russe cake than three bowls of Jell-O,” Julia advised after hearing concerns about the high levels of fat in French cooking.
- “The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”
- “The best way to execute French cooking is to get good and loaded and whack the hell out of a chicken. Bon appétit. ”
And finally, here is a great piece from Los Angeles-based illustrator Ann Shen, complete with fun facts about Julia:
“Cookbook Author Julia Child of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”-Biography.” Accessed 14 August 2012.
“Julia Child.” Accessed 14 August 2012.
“Julia Child: America’s French Chef.” Accessed 14 August 2012.
”Julia Child Biography.” Accessed 14 August 2012.