Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Culinary Revolutionary

Julia Child, who would have been 100 years old today, broke a lot of rules and defied a lot of standards during her lifetime.  She did not fit the standard of television beauty (taller than most men and middle-aged, to start), but she was the first celebrity chef, thanks to her TV show on PBS.  She did not grow up obsessed with the culinary arts, but went from having little interest in food to being a cultural kitchen icon who wrote and collaborated on several cookbooks, having survived a rough start at the famous French culinary school, Le Cordon Bleu (her characteristic optimism and fearlessness at work).

Julia was determined, joyful and inspirational.  With her husband Paul, who is said to have sparked her initial interest in French cuisine, she started a food revolution, and what a team those two made.  Their love story is extraordinary.  The kind of story too many of us no longer believe in - a successful partnership involving both friendship and romance.  And Paul never seems to have felt threatened by his wife's success.  On the contrary, he inspired, supported and worked alongside her.  Given the times they lived and loved in, their accomplishments in life, work and their marriage are impressive.

Julia Child left a lasting impression on me.  When I was a kid watching her on TV, she looked too tall and sounded too funny to not be a bit awkward, but she was terribly confident and had a great sense of humor.  The first cookbook my mother bought herself was by Julia.  As well as the first one she gave me (you can read more about that on Uncrafty).   Julia was a remarkable role model for women.  She proved that you can be a feminist, a chef, a successful businesswoman and be happily married - all at the same time.  I am currently looking forward to reading the newest of her biographies, Dearie.  But there is a slew of books that celebrate her life available, including her own memoir.  If you feel the need to be inspired lately, here's your chance:

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