Biography on life of Julia Child released to coincide with 100th birthday
good cook, having been brought up in a wealthy home in Pasadena, Calif., she embraced it with fervour, taking lessons at the famed Cordon Bleu culinary arts school.
It was there and from her new friends, chefs and others involved with French cuisine that she developed an obvious talent in the kitchen.
Food became her raison d’etre and she and Paul would dine out often in Paris restaurants, shop in the quaint markets and entertain frequently so Julia could treat her friends to her new-found love.
Returning to the U.S., she was determined to encourage people to learn how to cook the French way and, as a result, she carved out another career, teaching cuisine on television.
At the age of 50, she became host of The French Chef, the first nationwide cooking show.
It was the first time a woman was seen as a professional in the kitchen. Frustrated housewives welcomed the larger-than-life personality and showmanship of this outspoken woman on their television screens.
“Julia believed in high-quality ingredients and meals that were well prepared and nothing packaged,’ says Spitz.
He says that before The French Chef aired on PBS, many housewives sought convenience in the kitchen and were in thrall to packaged and frozen food, TV dinners, fish sticks, converted rice, Jell-O moulds and iceberg lettuce.
“Watching Julia cook with competence and ease, viewers were convinced that they could, too, and American cooking was never the same.”
“If she was still alive she would be thrilled that so many people are concentrating on good food,” says Spitz.
One amusing story he recalls is when he and Child returned from Italy.
“When we got back to the U.S. she told me she had a yen for a particular restaurant,” he says. “It was McDonald’s and we each had a Big Mac and large fries. She was in heaven.”
A new biography of Julia Child is full of fresh stories; author Bob Spitz gleaned information from her private papers and scrapbooks, her husband’s letters and interviews with her family, friends and colleagues.
BY JUDY CREIGHTON