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The Legendary Julia Child

Quote for Today: “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” Julia Child

Julia Child

Julia Child

On this day in 1912, America’s Grande Dame of cooking, Julia Child was born (August 15, 1912 – August 13, 2004). The popular television chef and author was born Julia McWilliams in Pasadena, California to John McWilliams Jr. a Princeton graduate and investor in California real estate and his wife, the former Julia Carolyn Weston, a paper company heiress whose father served as Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts.

In 1930 she enrolled at Smith College in Massachusetts with the intention of becoming a writer. At the onset of World War II, Julia moved to Washington, D.C. where she volunteered as a research assistant for the Office of Strategic Services, a newly formed government intelligence agency. Here she was given assignments with her colleagues around the world playing a key role in the communication of top secret documents between U.S. Government Officials and their intelligence officers. In 1945, Julia began a relationship with her future husband, Paul Child, a fellow Office of Strategic Services (OSS) officer.

After the war they returned to America and were married. In 1948, Paul was reassigned to the U.S. Information Service and the couple moved to his new post in Paris. It is here that Paul introduced her to his love of fine food and she was hooked.

Her first French culinary experiences were such an epiphany that she enrolled in the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in order to recreate those great dishes on her own. Following her six month training, Julia banded with fellow students, Simone Beck and Louisetta Berthalle to collaborate on a two volume cookbook designed to teach sophisticated French cooking to mainstream Americans.

French Cooking Julia Child

Julia Child’s French Cooking

The original publisher rejected the manuscript due to its length. The second publisher embraced the three pound cookbook and published it in 1961 under the title “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” This ground-breaking book remained the best selling cookbook for its first five years of publication.

Julia Child has influenced many of the world’s culinary icons including  Jacques Pepin, James Beard and Craig Claiborne.  Network cooking guru, Martha Stewart credits Julia Child with making her a good cook. Here is a video and recipe for Bearnaise Sauce with Julia Child and Martha Stewart. You, too, can master French cooking.

Julia Child and Jacques Pepin

Julia Child and Jacques Pepin

 

Julia Child and James Beard

Julia Child and James Beard

Julia Child & Martha Stewart

Julia Child & Martha Stewart

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Chef TJ & CJ

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