Paul and Julia Child: A True Story of Food and Love
With Julia Child’s 100th birthday next month, many are reflecting on her legacy of teaching about the joys of cooking. Indeed, Julia Child demystified French cooking, bringing it to the homes of millions of Americans through both her cookbooks and her long running TV show.
But, Julia was not a born chef. Until she met Paul Child, her main relationship with food was that she enjoyed eating it. It was Paul who introduced her to fine food and France, and inspired her to build upon her remarkable intelligence, perseverance, and fortitude to become a culinary legend.
Julia Child: The Early Years
Born in Pasadena, CA on August 15, 1912, the first 30 years of Julia Child’s life was unremarkable. Born into a conservative, privileged family, she did fine in school, though she much preferred extracurricular activities to academics. An aspiring writer after college, she spent a year in New York writing press releases for a department store, and then tried her hand as a fashion writer (though she loathed fashion) back in Pasadena.
When war came, Julia, at 30, broke away from convention and the expectation that she would marry and stay in Pasadena. Instead, she took full advantage of the call to action, leaving Pasadena and the “society” life she was born into to join the war effort. At first she served as a typist, but soon ended up in the Office of Strategic Services (precursor to the CIA) in Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka) There she was finally surrounded by people who stimulated her intellect, opening her eyes to new worldviews and new passions.
Julia and Paul: A True Romance
Among the people Julia met in Ceylon was Paul Child. Though he liked her immediately, Paul initially determined that she was not a romantic candidate for him. Indeed, when Julia left Pasadena to enlist in the war, she had assumed that she would become a spinster. Lumbering at 6 foot, 2 inches, Julia’s strong and blunt personality and her unusual mannerisms were originally seen as impediments to romance by her then friend, Paul Child, who found her to be inexperienced and a “sloppy thinker.” But, just as she maximized her unusual charms to win over her TV viewership, these qualities soon became those that endeared him to her most.
Julia fell in love easily with the older and sophisticated Paul. While in Ceylon, they spent considerable time together, becoming good friends, sharing many meals and conversations about food. At some point over the next year or so, their relationship changed, and Paul described her as “a great solace” to him. They engaged in a romance, but the end of the war and return to America brought them to different coasts and an uncertain future.
It is perhaps this uncertainty about their future together that propelled Julia into her culinary exploration. In an effort to win him over, she decided to learn, and learning about cooking was top of her list. What’s amazing is that Julia had little innate skill in this area. Some are born to cook. Not Julia. As she fumbled through her cooking exploration, she wrote Paul about every detail, and their connection and longing for each other deepened. He showed up in Pasadena, they drove cross country together, and a month later they were married.
When Love and Food Meet
When Julia embarked on her culinary training shortly after arriving in France in her mid-30s, she had little experience. Paul, however, encouraged her to explore cooking. Bored at home and inspired by making great meals, she enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute. This propelled her on culinary journey that would later make her a household name.
Would Julia have become a great chef and achieved fame without Paul’s influence? Quite possibly this could have been her destiny. But, food was certainly a force that brought these two together, and their passion for it united them for life.
Other Article by this Author
- Decorating a Birthday Cake Like a Professional (Hubn...
Decorating a birthday cake at home can be quick and easy provided you have the right supplies and a little imagination. This articles describes the supplies and materials needed to create a beautiful, professional looking cake at home. It also gives
- Potato and Arugula Salad with Corn and Tomatoes
A modern twist on potato salad, this colorful salad is packed with nutrient-rich additions, like tomatoes, basil, arugula, and corn. Replacing mayonnaise with a mustard-based dressing, and adding some goat cheese, this salad can be a hearty side or a
- Chocolate Mary Ann Pan Cake with Ganache and Raspber...
Making a chocolate cake from scratch is easy and can result in a decadent, beautiful dessert. When baked in a Mary Ann pan, this chocolate cake, topped with raspberries and whipped cream, is sure to impress.
- Best Family Friendly Restaurants in Boston
These family friendly, kid-friendly restaurants offer inventive, delicious food for both adults and their children, while also offering some kind of entertainment for the kids. This article reviews the food and atmosphere of five family friendly rest