2 Love Affairs: Julia Child

16 Sep

Written by Brandon Johnson

Read Julia Part 1 here

Julia (Part 2)
Paul was a well-traveled OSS cartographer, an artist, and poet who spoke fluent French. In addition to Paul’s laudable credentials, he was a black belt in Judo to boot. But Julia was not impressed. She wrote in her diary “He has an unbecoming nose, and light hair which is not on top.” Paul’s feelings were mutual. He wrote to his brother “She’s an extremely sloppy thinker” and “wildly emotional”. Soon, however, the two once reluctant co-workers would become close. Julia and Paul decided to travel across the country over a summer with bottles of whisky, martinis and gin. They married that September. Happy yet bandaged from a car accident, Julia became Mrs. Child in the fall of 1946. Then, on a trip to Paris Paul introduced her to La Couronne, an old French restaurant, and a second love affair began, this time with food.

The French Connection
Over the years Paul refined Julia. He attracted her curious mind to poetry, art, and La Couronne, the French restaurant that would spark her true passion. It was at La Couronne where she had tender fish with rich Normandy butter. The waiter meticulously, de-boned the fish in front of her, pouring the luxurious sauce on top, and paired it with the perfect wine; French dining was a celebration of food. Julia stated, “It was love at first bite”. She desired to learn more. After Paul and Julia settled in Paris, she enrolled in the renowned, Cordon Bleu. She worked with G.I.s instead of housewives, and was almost denied her certificate of completion by the director of the school, Madame Broussard.

“They wanted put me in a class with a bunch of house wives, and I didn’t like that… working with a bunch of house wives.” – Julia Child
As an enthusiastic and opinionated pupil and driven by the directors disdain for her cooking; Julia was determined to prove her skill. While she grew as a student she met and partnered with Simca Beck. A strong-minded taskmaster, Simca was writing a cookbook with her contemporary Louisette Bertholle. They needed an American contributor for the book and Julia fit in perfectly. Simca and Louisette wanted a basic cookbook but Julia wished to make a book that told everyday housewives how to master French cooking, step by step. For almost 10 years Julia dedicated herself to the cookbook. 500 pages later, meticulously detailing poultry and stock, was Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1. The manuscript was submitted for publishing and rejected. The publishing company didn’t think it was suited for an American audience. Julia went back to work, editing and re-testing recipes. She again collaborated with Simca and after 2 years of revisions, they agreed that the book was ready to be resubmitted. They were wrong and the book was denied again. Not until it was read by a new publisher Alferd Knoph and Judith Jones was the book published in 1961.

Soon after the book’s success, Julia found herself in front of a camera on the television show called “I’ve Been Reading” in her new town of Cambridge, Mass. The producers of the show couldn’t have cared less about food and made this apparent to Julia. With a whisk and hot plate in hand, Julia paid no mind to the pessimism. She was determined to show America how to make a French omelet. After the show aired, letters from viewers poured in. The station took notice and “The French Chef” starring Julia Child was born along with her television career with Paul by her side as her cohort. (The Finale in the next Issue of Eat Life)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: