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Julia Child: The Woman Who Bought Cooking To TV

Very few people have passion so great that they are remembered for it years after passing. One such person is Julia Child. Her insatiable curiosity and tenacious spirit drove her to try, test, prove and communicate how to make delicious food. Cooking and teaching how to cook empowered Julia to the extent that she eventually transformed American cuisine and food culture with her efforts. She was the first woman to host a cooking show on television in 1963 on PBS. She inspired millions, including amateur chefs and professional cooks, with her exceptional skills, easy kitchen spirit and passion for learning.

Early Life

Julia Child was born Julia McWilliams on 15th August 1912 in Pasadena, California. She was the eldest of three children and lived a privileged childhood due to her family’s wealth. She attended San Francisco elite Kathrine Branson School for Girls, where she explored her talent for sports, particularly golf, tennis and small-game hunting. She then enrolled at Smith College in Northampton, intending to become a writer, submitting her work to newspapers, including The New Yorker, but never had any of it published.

After finishing college, Julia moved to New York, where she worked in the advertising department of a famous home furnishing company. However, she was later fired over ‘gross insubordination.’

When World War II started, she volunteered as a research assistant for a newly formed government intelligence agency. She was soon sent around the world, including China, Colombo, Kunming and Sri Lanka, on assignments. In Sri Lanka, she met her future husband, Paul Child.

Introduction to French Cooking

The Childs moved to France in 1948 when Paul was reassigned to the US Information Service at the American Embassy in Paris. While Julia lived in France, she developed a keen fondness for French cuisine and attended the world-famous Cordon Bleu Cooking School. She trained for six months and got private lessons with the master chef Max Bugnard after which she bonded with her fellows at the cooking school, Simon Beck and Louisette Bertholle, and formed a cooking school, L’Ecole de Trios Gourmands (The School of Three Gourmands).

Together, the three women published Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 1961. This book ultimately brought French Cooking and techniques to the American public. It was this book that launched Julia Child’s cooking career, which lasted for forty years successfully.

Television Career

When Julia returned to the United States in the 1960s, television executives approached her to host a cooking show, The French Chef, based on her book. Hence, came out her first show in 1963, on PBS and remained on air for over a decade. On the show, Julia translated French cuisine for the American audience and significantly changed how Americans thought about food, television, and women. Although she didn’t look like a glamorous woman and didn’t behave like a restrained one, she had an incredible personality at work, which somehow, against all odds, succeeded in public. The show bought Julia a Peaby and Emmy Award, and hence she went on to publish several cookbooks, including another volume of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

It is safe to say that Julia Child changed how Americans related to food. She became a celebrity shortly after the popular show was aired on 96 stations throughout America. Due to her fame and demand, she did more series and television shows such as Julia Child and Company, Julia Child and More Company and Dinner at Julia’s In.

Julia Child passed away in August 2004 due to Kidney failure. Even in her final days, she had no intention of slowing down. Today, her memory lives on through her cookbooks and cooking shows. In honor of her hard work and contribution to the food industry, the Julia Child Award was established in 2015. It is given to individuals who make a profound difference in how America cooks, eats and drinks. And just like that, her memory still lives with millions of Americans.

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