10 Facts You Didn't Know About Julia Child

Julia Child was born 100 years ago today; we celebrate her legacy with French recipes and facts about the queen of French cuisine.
By: Michelle Buffardi

Today we're celebrating the 100th anniversary of Julia Child's birth. Honor the queen of French cuisine by reciting Julia quotes all day long (in your best high-pitched Julia voice, of course), watching classic videos (like this one: Julia and the Chicken Sisters), browsing bloggers' best Julia dishes, making a fancy French feast and by memorizing some Julia Child trivia to recite to anyone who will listen.

Better get started. Did you know . . .

  • Julia had several nicknames as a child, including "Juke," "Juju" and "Jukies."
  • Julia's first job after college (she graduated from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts) was in the advertising department of the New York home furnishings company W&J Sloane. Julia transferred to the store's Los Angeles branch but was soon fired for "gross insubordination."
  • When she found out that she was too tall to join the military (she was 6'2"), Julia volunteered her services to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), where she helped develop shark repellent used on underwater explosives during WWII.
  • Julia's husband Paul, whom she met while working with the OSS, took her to La Couronne restaurant that started her love affair with French food when they moved to Paris for his work.
  • “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” was rejected by publishers several times before being published in 1961 by Alfred Knopf, 10 years after Julia and her French collaborators Simca Beck and Louisette Bertholle began working on the book.
  • When Julia and Paul moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, from Paris, they designed their home kitchen around Julia's requirements as a cook, installing taller-than-average counter-tops to suit her stature.
  • Julia's first television appearance was on a show called “I’ve Been Reading,” on a public television station in Boston. Twenty-seven viewers wrote to the station wanting to see more, and the station obliged. By the end of 1965, her show The French Chef was carried by 96 PBS stations.
  • In 1993, Julia became the first woman inducted into the Culinary Institute Hall of Fame.
  • Dan Aykroyd portrayed Julia in a parody of The French Chef in a famous Saturday Night Live skit.
  • Julia has a rose named after her that she chose herself. The color? Warm butter gold.
How are you celebrating Julia?
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