"To be a good cook you have to have a love of the good, a love of hard work, and a love of creating. Some people like to paint pictures, or do gardening, or build a boat in the basement. Other people get a tremendous pleasure out of the kitchen, because cooking is just as creative and imaginative an activity as drawing, or wood carving, or music. And cooking draws upon your every talent—science, mathematics, energy, history, experience—and the more experience you have the less likely are your experiments to end in drivel and disaster. The more you know, the more you can create. There’s no end to imagination in the kitchen." Julia Child -- Particular Passions: Talks with Women Who Shaped Our Times, by Lynn Gilbert. For a limited time, enjoy the a free chapter of Particular Passions on Facebook. The oral biography of Julia Child, whose love of French culture and cuisine brought a renewed appreciation for the culinary arts in America.
"I was planning to go into this cooking thing very seriously and take a long time studying and learning, but then I was suddenly thrown into it for keeps. After I had met Simca, I also met her friend and colleague, Louisette Bertholle, also a member of the gastronomy club, Le Cercle des Gourmettes. She and Simca were working on a cookbook for the United States, which had been going on for some time. One day the three of us had invited some American friends of mine for lunch. They wanted cooking lessons but said they didn’t want to go to the Cordon Bleu because they didn’t speak French, and so why didn’t we teach them? I thought, My heavens, I wasn’t nearly ready for that. But Simca, who is always ready for anything and was far more experienced than either Louisette or I, said, “Well, why not?” And we started our cooking school, L’Ecole des Trois Gourmandes, just about the next day."
– Julia Child, from 'Particular Passions: Talks with Women Who Shaped Our Times', by Lynn Gilbert.
For a limited time, enjoy the a free chapter of Particular Passions on Facebook. The oral biography of Julia Child, whose love of French culture and cuisine brought a renewed appreciation for the culinary arts in America.
"I WAS THIRTY-TWO WHEN I started cooking; up until then, I just ate. I think it kind of crawled up on me. My mother didn’t cook because I grew up in an era when most all middle-income people had maids. So she never learned, and I never really learned at all. But my grandmother was a great cook. She grew up in the farming country of Illinois—she made doughnuts and cakes and wonderful chicken, as I remember. We always had good food at her house, and at our house, too—plain good American food. But we never discussed it; it was expected to be good."
"After one taste of French food, after our very first meal in France, at Rouen, on the way from Le Havre to Paris in our old blue Buick that we had brought over with us on the boat — after that first unforgettable lunch, I was hooked. I’d never eaten like that before, I didn’t know such food existed. The wonderful attention paid to each detail of the meal was incredible to me. I’d never really drunk good wine before, and knew nothing at all about it. It was simply a whole new life experience. But you don’t spring into good cooking naked. You have to have some training. You have to learn how to eat. It’s like looking at a painting: If you don’t have any kind of background, you don’t really know what you’re looking at. The French have training from their families, they grow up with an appreciation of food, that it is an art, that it is worth considering carefully and looking at. I had to learn, and both cooking and taste developed simultaneously for me."
— Julia Child, in Particular Passions: Talks With Women Who Shaped Our Times.
Who more than Julia Child, brought the joy of cooking into our lives, and our lives back in to the kitchen. From her we learned new skills, mastering the art of French Cuisine, even savoring moments over a hot stove for the satisfaction of gathering family and friends to share in epicurean feasts.
Julia worked for the Office of Strategic Services eventually married and when they were sent to France, in wonderment she said “I was hysterical about everything in France. I thought it was so wonderful, and it took me several years at least to calm down and not be so pro-French. After one taste of French food, after our very first meal in France, at Rouen,…after that first unforgettable lunch, I was hooked. I’d never eaten like that before, I didn’t know such food existed. ….. It was simply a whole new life experience.” - Particular Passions: Talks with Women who Have Shaped our Times.
The two volumes of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” she and her collaborators produced after 9 years are the most thorough teaching books on French cooking technique in the English language. She transformed our lives, just as she had transformed her own.
“Set up a situation that presents you with something slightly beyond your reach.” - Brian Eno
Read the brief oral biography of Julia Child, whose love of French culture and cuisine brought a renewed appreciation for the culinary arts in America.