Julia Child changed how American’s cooked and thought about food. She’s often remembered by the images of her tv show, The French Chef, which premiered in 1963 when Julia was 51 years old. Her first book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, was published in 1961 when she was 49 years old. She’s a great example of how you’re never to old for your big career or life to start and she was a Powerful Lady long before she became a celebrity.
Julia was 6’2” tall. Living in a time when women were expected to be subservient and demure, being of extraordinary height for a woman gave Julia a freedom and boldness. If you couldn’t fit into the status quo, why worry about it? In addition to being tall, Julia was smart and curious. She graduated in 1934 from Smith College, a women’s university in Massachusetts. Being tall, smart, curious, and passionate about life, Julia Child was a Powerful Lady ahead of her time and a force to be reckoned with through all stages of her life.
She was too tall to enlist in the Women’s Army Corps (can you imagine that being a thing!) during World War II, so Julia joined the OSS, Office of Strategic Service, where she quickly became a top secret researcher. She was hand-on for designing a shark repellant for the military in addition to being relocated to modern day Sri Lanka to manage, type and send clandestine communications.
All the reasons that make Julia a Powerful Lady are also what caused her husband Paul Child to fall in love with her when they met on duty in Sri Lanka. He even loved how much taller she was than him. Together they moved to Paris, France for Paul’s job with the US government as a representative.
France and its food changed Julia’s life forever. She moved to a new place, tried new foods, made new friends, and took new classes. Thanks to saying yes to what life presented her and trying new things, she discovered a whole part of herself that she may have never met. Think of all things you have yet to learn or try and are just waiting for you to discover them! Your best life could be on the other side of trying something new, just like Julia.
Being under stimulated as a housewife in Paris, Julia enrolled in the Cordon Blue as the only woman in the class and she fell in love with food. At that point her life and food where matched forever. She knew their must be a way to bring the French form of cooking to home cooks in America, so she with her partners, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, wrote Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It took years to find a publisher and she never gave up.
Upon moving to Cambridge, Massachusetts with Paul, her book was finally published and her American Chef fame quickly grew to how she is remembered today. Julia is an example of how being yourself, curious and bold, plus having friends to help along the way, you can make your dreams happen. Thank you Julia for being a Powerful Lady.
Bonus thank you to Meryl Streep for making Julia Child come to life so magically in Julie & Julia.