Re­mem­ber­ing Ju­lia

Bi­og­ra­phy on life of Ju­lia Child re­leased to co­in­cide with 100th birthday

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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.”

THE CANA­DIAN PRESS/AP — Nancy Palmieri

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

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