American History

HISTORY TODAY: American Chef & Cook Book Writer Said Never Lose Site of a Beautifully Conceived Meal


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AceHistoryDesk – American chef Julia Child said we must never lose sight of a beautifully conceived meal,’ said chef, TV host and cookbook author

Julia Child

American cooking expert, television personality and cookbook author Julia Child died on this day in history, Aug. 13, 2004, in Santa Barbara, California.

Known for her promotion of traditional French cuisine, especially through her programs on public television, Child taught millions of Americans how to cook and helped elevate the nation’s culinary standards, according to NPR.

Child started her kitchen revolution in 1961 when she published, along with co-authors Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, the classic, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” the same source indicated. 

With over one million copies sold and a 40th anniversary edition published in 2001, the book is still considered the definitive classical French cookbook in the English language, according to The Spokesman-Review.

Her subsequent cookbooks included “The French Chef Cookbook”; “Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. II,” with Beck; “From Julia Child’s Kitchen”; “Julia Child & Company”; “Julia Child & More Company”; and “The Way to Cook,” in October 1989.

Julia Child in her kitchen

Child had a goal of promoting classic cooking methods and ideologies.

“In spite of food fads, fitness programs and health concerns, we must never lose sight of a beautifully conceived meal,” Child is quoted as saying in “The Way to Cook.”

Child was 51 when she debuted on television as “The French Chef.” 

This groundbreaking series began in 1963 and continued for 206 episodes, the same source noted. 

Child, who had a towering 6-foot 2-inch frame and a distinct warbling voice, ended each show with “Bon appétit,’” noted

Julia Child

Child was born in Pasadena, California, on Aug. 15, 1912, as Julia Carolyn McWilliams, and grew up in a life of wealth and privilege, said the National Women’s History Museum.

Her father was a banker and landowner, while her mother hailed from the Weston family, proprietors of the Weston Paper Company in Massachusetts, the same source recounted. 

Child graduated from Smith College.

Following World War II, she married Paul Child, whom she had met while working for the Office of Strategic Services in India. 

“We must never lose sight of a beautifully conceived meal.”

Paul Child worked for the U.S. Foreign Service, and in 1948, the couple was posted to Paris for his work. 

“It was in Paris that Child began to take cooking seriously, and enrolled in the famous Le Cordon Bleu cooking school,” noted The National Women’s History Museum. 

The couple returned to the U.S. in the 1960s and settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Julia Child, chef, TV host and cookbook author

At this time, Child was approached by television executives to host a cooking show, “The French Chef,” based on her book, the same source chronicled.

More than two decades after the last show was filmed, the series remained a hit for PBS and cable, noted multiple sources.  

Child’s candid autobiography, “My Life in France” (cowritten with a grandnephew, Alex Prud’homme), was published in 2006, according to 

In 2009, Nora Ephron used that volume as half of the story she told in the hit movie, “Julie & Julia,” which starred Meryl Streep as the popular chef, the same source said. 

Child received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2003 from President George W. Bush.

Child received several honors, including a Peabody Award (1964), an Emmy Award (1966) for her television work and a National Book Award in 1980 for her book, “Julia Child and More Company,” published by Knopf. 

Child also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2003 from President George W. Bush. 

In 2007, Child was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

In addition, select items from her kitchen and cooking implements were put on display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C, according to

Child died just two days before her 92nd birthday, on Aug. 13, 2004.

Erica Lamberg is a contributing reporter for Fox News Digital.

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