Culture

7 Fascinating Facts About Julia Child

Brush up on your history of this culinary icon
Who Was Julia Child?
Photo: Rick Friedman/Getty Images

Julia Child was one of the most fascinating figures in the culinary world, and she left behind an enduring legacy of unforgettable sayings, recipes and moments when she passed in 2004.

If you're like us, you've read every cookbook the best-selling author has written, watched every grainy episode of her old cooking shows and made as many of her classic French recipes as is physically possible. But the best part about being a die-hard Julia fan is discovering new tidbits about the woman who changed the food world forever—like the ones below.

Scroll through the list then take our quiz to find out if you know as much as you think you do about the celebrated queen of French cooking.

① Child wanted to join the military—but was too tall.

During World War II, Child discovered she was too tall to join the Women’s Army Corps, so instead she began volunteering for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Stationed at their headquarters in Washington, she worked as a research assistant in the Secret Intelligence Division.

② More than 700 pounds of butter were used on the set of her show, Baking with Julia.

According to PBS, Child cooked with 753 pounds of butter while filming Baking with Julia. And if she wasn't using butter, there was always cream

③ She was the first woman inducted into The Culinary Institute of America’s Hall of Fame.

Even though Child didn't graduate from Le Cordon Bleu Paris until 1951 (at the age of 39), she was the first woman inducted into the Culinary Institute of America's Hall of Fame in 1993.

④ Child was an avid basketball player.

In addition to participating in many other activities while attending Smith College, she was a member of the basketball team, where she could take advantage of her 6'2" height.

⑤ An omelet was the first thing she ever made on TV.

Child's first TV appearance took place in 1961 on a WGBH book review show called I’ve Been Reading. She was promoting her own book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and whipped up an omelet.

⑥ She has a rose named after her.

Child chose the rose herself after she fell in love with the buttery gold color.

⑦ She cofounded the American Institute of Wine & Food.

Child's mission with the organization was to show people there can be a balance between delicious and healthy food. The AIWF distributed brochures, pamphlets and articles that discussed topics such as quality and preparation, food safety, nutrition, and importance of physical activity.

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