My grandmother loved Julia Child, something I didn’t understand since my grandmother was Italian and Julia cooked mostly American and French recipes. None the less, when we were kids and we even went near the TV when “her show” was on, Italian words went flying. It became the norm to have one of Julia’s cooking shows on in the background during our weekly Sunday pasta dinners. Today, my daughter Christine who admits she collects cookbooks for the photos says that Julia’s books are some of the only cook books she follows the exact recipes from.
I was never interested in Julia’s fascinating life until I saw the 2009 movie Julie & Julia. The film contrasts the life of Julia Child in her early culinary years with the life of young New York blogger Julie Powell. Powell attempts to recreate all 524 recipes in Child’s cookbook in 365 days. Even if you don’t enjoy cooking, it’s a great flick.
I hope you find these tidbits about Julia’s life as interesting as I did.
- Had the first cooking show in 1963 on PBS called The French Chef.
- Was 6’2 tall and wore size 12 shoe.
- Survived breast cancer.
- Was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the U.S. highest civilian honor.
- Had a famous saying, “In cooking you have to have a what the hell attitude.”
- Attributes her long life to eating red meat and drinking gin.
- Was a research assistant in the Secret Intelligence division of the OSS. (now called the CIA)
- Married her husband Paul (who also worked for the OSS) when she was 34 years old. They were in a car accident the day before their wedding but weren’t seriously hurt.
- Was the first woman inducted into the Culinary Institute of America’s Hall of Fame in 1953.
- Used 753 pounds of butter during the cooking series Baking with Julia.
- Became interested in French cuisine while working in France with her husband and her love of French cooking was born.
- Childhood nicknames were Juju, Jukes and Jukies.
- Wrote 17 cookbooks.
- Husband Paul died in 1994 at the age of 92.
- Donated her real home kitchen to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
- Loved cats. Her first cat Minnette adopted her.
- Died in 2004 of kidney failure 2 days before her 92nd birthday.
- Julia’s last sentence of her memoir My Life in France reads “And thinking back on it now reminds me that the pleasures of the table, and of life, are infinite – toujours bon appétit!”