When Julia Child first visited the Child family cabin in Lopaus Point, Maine, her cooking skills were non-existent. She began gradually with KP duties like peeling potatoes and chopping onions. A self-professed “social butterfly,” Julia took flight in that rustic kitchen until she and her sister-in-law Freddie began churning out delicious banquets.
At 6’3”, Julia Child was the shortest of her siblings. Her sister Dort was 6’6” and her brother John was 6’5”. What did Julia think about her height? In the new biography, Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child, available on August 8th, she bemoans the hardships of her gargantuan size and debilitating physical obstacles that eventually led to her death.
When Julia Child began her cooking class with eleven GIs at Le Cordon Bleu in 1950, she could barely boil water. Two months later, she was committed to mastering the entire Escoffier repertoire, in a series of trials and tribulations illustrated in Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child, published on August 8th. Her first stovetop challenge was boeuf bourguignon. Do you remember yours?
Julia Child’s life was changed by one meal she had at La Couronne, in Rouen, in 1948, which is recounted in exquisite detail in Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child, available on August 8th. The moment she put a forkful of sole meunière in her mouth the die was cast. Ever had an epiphany like that?
What bride hasn’t had a snafu on her wedding day? Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child, due out August 8th, tells the story of Julia’s life-threatening car accident the day before her wedding to Paul. Ever the trooper, Julia said a few wounds weren’t about to stop her from marrying Paul. Do you have any wedding disasters to share?
The stories are true. Julia worked for the OSS, the predecessor to the CIA, during World War II. Here she is in the barracks in Kandy, Ceylon, in 1944. She worked directly for “Wild Bill” Donovan, keeping records of all the spies in Southeast Asia. Julia also met her future husband Paul, who was entranced by those long legs, on exhibit here, but that’s another story in my new biography, Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child, available on August 8th. Since Julia gave all the spies their code names and knew their secret positions, does that make her a spy?
Check out Julia Child’s flash get-up outside her family’s beach house in San Malo, CA, in the late-1920s. An amateur actress, she loved costumes and dress-up, which runs counter to her beloved TV image. Ever notice that she seemed to wear the same frumpy blouse and skirt throughout her two decades on TV? In Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child, published on August 8th, you get a rare and unexpected picture of Julia, who was more image-conscious than most people realize.
Who said Julia Child had no experience in front of a camera? Here she is mugging like mad, while trying to figure out what to do with her life. In 1939, she still considered herself nothing but a social butterfly, facing a future that was all-but-hopeless. In Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child, published on August 8th, she contemplates secretarial school – really! And hat-making – double really!! Can you imagine our lives had she never made it to Le Cordon Bleu?
Turns out the most famous chef in history was a notorious party girl in college. Here she is with her boyfriend, Tom Johnston, the guy who broke Julia’s heart, the full, sad saga, of which, appears in Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child, published on August 8th to coincide with the 100th anniversary of her birth. Sure, she landed a lifelong mate in Paul, but the ghost of Tom always hovered. I’ve had some romantic setbacks, but can’t imagine a superficial college fling having that much of an impact, can you?
This is probably the last time that Julia Child ever found common ground with her father, John McWilliams. Father and daughter perpetuated a love-hate relationship that lasted throughout their lives, which unfolds dramatically in Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child, published on August 8 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Julia’s birth. Father-daughter relationships are dicey to begin with, but – this divisive?
Fortunately, for Julia Child, her husband Paul encouraged her to cook, molded her TV image, and tended to her every need. But – at what price? I can’t help thinking that this talented, sophisticated, and passionate man never realized any of his own dreams. In Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child, a portrait develops of a man who sacrificed his personal goals to insure his wife’s success. I wonder how many husbands would go to that extreme?