CNN is reporting that Julia Child has died. Child introduced French Cooking to a wide audience in America through her many cookbooks and PBS cooking shows.
Child was born in Pasadena, California as Julia McWilliams, and grew to 6' 2" tall. She served with the Office Of Strategic Services in Washington D.C., Ceylon, and China during World War II. Her husband Paul Child was assigned to the U.S. Information Service in Paris after the war, and Julia learned fine French cooking, with an emphasis on butter and cream at the famous Cordon Bleu cooking school in that city.
In 1961, she released her book "Mastering the Art of French Cooking", which she wrote in collaboration with friends Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle. Judith Jones recalls the making of the book at Knopf here. WGBH in Boston saw the potential in the book for a new kind of public television show and in 1963 "The French Chef" based on "Mastering..." premiered with Child as a host. It was wildly popular and inspired a generation of chefs.
Child's unique vocal style was parodied by comedians for years. The most famous of these was Dan Akroyd's "Save the Liver" sketch on Saturday Night Live.
Child's kitchen from "The French Chef" resides now in the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian has a great collection of stories about her on their website. Food TV chef Sarah Moulton, a former food prep assistant for Child, helped prepare the items for the Smithsonian exhibit.
Child was 91 and will be missed by gastronomes around the world.