How Chinese Food Inspired Julia Child's Love Of Cooking

When hearing of inspirational dining experiences of the famous and beloved chef, television host, and cookbook author Julia Child, you'll likely hear of the French delicacies. Maybe she was dining on sole meunière at restaurants like Chez George in Paris, France (Town & Country), or trying the iconic pot-au-feu at Pot au Feu in Providence, Rhode Island. However, it's rare to read about Julia Child's experiences with various cuisines outside of the French cooking style. Like a true culinary genius, Julia Child had a love of good food — from all over the world (not exclusively French food).

Take, for instance, her love of Chinese food. Written in her own words, Julia Child is on record saying, "I would be perfectly happy w. only Chinese food" (via The New Yorker). As a personality for the show "The French Chef," it seems uncharacteristic to live a life free of butter and cheese. But what if we told you Chinese food was the cuisine that opened Julia Child's eyes and inspired her to embark on her journey into a wonderful world of culinary adventures?

How was Julia Child introduced to Chinese food?

During her time living in China throughout the Second World War (via History), Julia Child became a fan of authentic Chinese food — merely by hating the Chinese adaptation of American food. "American food in China was terrible," she once wrote, adding, "The Chinese food was wonderful, and we ate out as often as we could. That is when I became interested in food. I just loved Chinese food" (via France 24).

According to the Wall Street Journal, living in China and experiencing Chinese food introduced Julia Child's palate to the wonders of food and in admiring cuisine. She developed this appreciation in China, not in France nor with French food as so many famously think.

So why didn't Julia Child cook Chinese food herself? Simply put, she didn't believe there was enough time in a lifetime to learn everything about French cooking alone, so to layer Chinese cuisine on top of that wouldn't be in her best interest, per The New Yorker. Still, Julia Child continued to love experiencing and dining on phenomenal Chinese food wherever she could find it.