“You have to eat to cook. You can’t be a good cook and be a noneater. I think eating is the secret to good cooking.”
Today would have been Julia’s 100th birthday. Google has a special tribute (pictured left). Chefs across the country are creating special menus (check out a special JC100 round-up of Washington, DC, restaurant specials by Brightest Young Things) and the National Museum of American History is launching a special exhibition of Julia’s famous kitchen set-up, designed by her husband Paul Child. This is one of those moments I wish I still lived in DC!
Before I left for Paris a few weeks ago, I read My Life in France, the autobiography of Julia Child… you know, just to get my head into le Parisienne state of mind. (Also re-watched Midnight in Paris, Amelie and Moulin Rouge!) The book documents Julia’s formative years living in Paris in the 1940’s and 50’s, when she discovered the culinary delights of France and nurtured what would become an intense lifelong passion for cooking.
But delectable cuisine aside, one of the most interesting things about her was that she didn’t even start cooking until she was 32 and didn’t become famous until well into her 50’s! A departure from our current circus of pre-pubescent teen sensations and self-obsessed idiots who are famous for, um … nothing? (read: Kardashians and Hiltons). It was curiously satisfying to watch how a giant, 6’2″ American civil servant-turned-Francophile with no children managed to win the hearts of households across America — without even trying to be pretty or super likeable, but all because she so loved to cook and so wanted to share it. An unlikely celebrity … but a true product of her passion!
Read the book, I highly recommend it, especially when paired with a leisure visit to Paris. Some other things I loved about the book was her endearing relationship with her husband, Paul Child (they were such an adorable team, mutually supporting one another’s talents and passions, like two peas in a pod); her indomitable spirit and tenacity in perfecting every little dish; and best of all, her pure and unapologetic love for FOOD, something I can certainly identify with.