Julia Childs in her own words

Chef and sayer of very Pinterest friendly quotes, Julia Childs was a multi-talented woman who could have devoted her life to many things. She thankfully chose food, and inspired a generation to cook with skill and passion. We love the way she spoke about food, and we’re pretty sure we can’t do much better – so here’s a little about her life told through the medium of some of her best quotes.

‘I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.’

Julia’s career didn’t start anywhere near the kitchen. During the war she joined the Office of Strategic Services, working her way up from typist to assistant develop a shark repellent. She was posted in Sri Lanka and China – where she met her husband to be, Paul Cushing Child.

‘Cooking is like love; it should be entered into with abandon or not at all’

Paul was an artist, poet, and to our mind a real catch. He’d spent some time living in France and became obsessed with their food. Once married, the couple moved back there, and Julia had a meal of oysters, and sole meuniére that changed her life.

‘Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it’

Julia became obsessed with French cooking, she studied at Le Cordon Bleu and joined the women’s cooking club Le Cercle des Gourmettes where she met Simone Beck who was writing a French cookbook for Americans, and who better to help her than an American studying French cooking?

‘No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing’

After having their book rejected by publishers for being a little to encyclopaedia-like, they edited it down to 726 pages and finally got it published in 1961. Mastering the Art of French Cooking was a best seller and even the critics loved it. The success of the book led to a few TV appearances, where viewers were drawn to her warmth and let’s face it, knock out smile.  

‘Nothing is too much trouble if it turns out the way it should’

Julia strongly believed that anyone could be a great cook, and her books were written with a precise amount of detail to empower those from all backgrounds to try, and not be afraid to fail. She wrote three more books, The French Chef Cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Volume Two, and her final book; From Julia Child’s Kitchen was illustrated with her husband’s photographs.

‘The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve gotta have a what-the-hell attitude’

Julia was given her own television program in 1963, which typical of the time was completely unedited. It showcased any little blunders she made to her entire audience. It was partly this that made her so watchable. The series ran for ten years, and was mostly filmed in her own kitchen which was specially designed for her as she was 6ft 4in. Imagine what she could have hidden in those top cupboards! Maybe that shark repellent recipe? The kitchen is now on display at the National Museum of American history, so bring a stool and you’ll be able to see yourself.

‘The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook’

Often criticised for her high calorie ingredients, Julia never faltered with her belief that food was so much more than nutrition – it was joy.

‘People who love to eat are always the best people’

In 2004, Julia died of kidney failure. During her life she inspired thousands to cook, and she continues to encourage gastronomy and culinary arts through The Julia Child Foundation.

‘A party without cake is just a meeting’

Which means that Dishy are sometimes partying from 9am.  

Donna Amey