Oh Julia!

Category: Mary's Blog
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Got this from my friend Linda D. and wanted to share! Just love Julia!


Julia Child, chef, author, and television personality, defended the dignity of real butter and heavy cream in the face of the food police. She made a mess in a kitchen and laughed about it. She dried lettuce by swinging it in the air. She pounded veal into submission with wild abandon. She stood over 6” tall. And, in 1968, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a mastectomy. She kicked the beast to the curb like so much silver skin to be discarded from a filet. The French Chef we saw on TV all those years was a survivor, a member of the club no one wants to join.


Julia didn’t attend the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) but she worked for the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) as a spy. After graduating from Smith College in 1934, she found work with the Office of Strategic Services (later the Central Intelligence Agency). Her first successful recipe was for shark repellent, to prevent underwater explosives meant for Nazi vessels from being jostled and detonated by sharks. She met Paul Child, fellow OSS agent and culinary expert, and she married him against her father’s wishes. (Her dad was an ardent supporter of Richard Nixon; Paul was a Democrat.)


In 1948, the Childs were jointly assigned to the U.S. Information Service in Paris. She wasn’t much of a spook by modern CIA standards. While living in France, she attended prestigious Le Cordon Bleu and studied with private chefs. In 1962, with French chefs Simone Beck and Louisette Bertolle, Julia wrote “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” She did an interview on a public television station in Boston. They offered her a cooking show of her own, and “The French Chef” went on the air in 1963.


Julia believed in real food, real ingredients: butter, meat, cream and wine. She died of kidney failure 2 days before her 92nd  birthday. Her secret to long life? “Meat and gin.”

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One Response to “Oh Julia!”

  1. Michael Says:

    Great blog, Mary – I just recently finished “My Life in France” and it was just fascinating. I’ve picked up “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and the sauce chapter alone would be worth making a cookbook out of – it’s pretty amazing.

    Netflix has old episodes of “The French Chef” available, and they are very much worth watching!

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