"I was a six-foot-two, thirty-six-year-old, rather loud and unserious Californian. The sight of France in my porthole was like a giant question mark."
Julia Child, My Life in France
The French Chef.
Breast cancer survivor.
Even has her own holiday.*
Everyone's celebrating the life of the extraordinary Julia Child, who, with her "way with a whisk on camera" (New York Times), revolutionized the American kitchen.
In honor of the observance of what would have been her hundredth birthday this month (August 15), here are a few of Julia's bons mots to go with your bonbons!
"The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude."
"In department stores, so much kitchen equipment is bought indiscriminately by people who just come in for men’s underwear."
"I always give my bird a generous butter massage before I put it in the oven. Why? Because I think the chicken likes it — and, more important, I like to give it."
"Everything in moderation . . . including moderation."
"I have trouble with toast. Toast is very difficult. You have to watch it all the time or it burns up."
"Noodles are not only amusing, but delicious."
"The tomato hides its griefs. Internal damage is hard to spot."
"Noncooks think it's silly to invest two hours' work in two minutes' enjoyment; but if cooking is evanescent, so is the ballet."
"The measure of achievement is not winning awards. It's doing something that you appreciate, something you believe is worthwhile. I think of my strawberry soufflé. I did that at least twenty-eight times before I finally conquered it."
"I like beer."
Her quip, "I think every woman should have a blowtorch," made while caramelizing a crème brûlée, inspired PPP's mini gift book of the same name, which is filled with "Fiery Thoughts for Feisty Females" from everyone from Mae West to Eleanor Roosevelt.
Happy Birthday, Julia!
*"Yes, Julia has a holiday! Her alma mater, Smith College, holds Julia Child Day in her honor each November. Dining halls prepare meals from her recipes, and speakers hold forth on subjects related to her accomplishments and passions. For more information, see http://www.smith.edu/events/child.php."
–Talia, PPP editor and a Smith alumna with fond memories of Julia’s legacy
Image of Julia Child courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. UH Digital Library.