Julia Child: Fun Facts for Foodies

Elisa Lichtenbaum | August 9, 2018

Julia Child, circa 1978. Credit: ©James Scherer for WGBH, Boston.

Julia Child (1912-2004) is fondly remembered for introducing French cuisine to American home cooks through her television series – beginning with WGBH’s The French Chef in 1963 – and through her several cookbooks. Child was a pioneer in public television’s long tradition of cooking programs, revolutionizing the way America cooks, eats and thinks about food. From 1963 to 1973, The French Chef broadcast 300 episodes from Child’s kitchen into American homes. To mark what would have been Child’s 106th birthday on August 15, 2018, PBS celebrates with offering a dozen episodes of The French Chef with Julia Child to stream with the member benefit Passport. By early September, 52 episodes will be available at any one time, and be updated in a rotating feast of episode selections.

Fun Facts

Julia Child's kitchen

Julia Child’s Kitchen at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The kitchen is from Child’s Massachusetts home exactly as it appeared in November 2001, when she donated it. Photo: Angela de Março/Flickr.

  1. The French Chef, which premiered in 1963, was the first cooking show on PBS.
  2. Child won a Primetime Emmy Award for The French Chef in 1966, becoming the first educational television personality to receive an Emmy.
  3. In 1993, Child became the first woman inducted into The Culinary Institute of America’s Hall of Fame.
  4. Donated the kitchen from her Cambridge, MA, home to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, where it was displayed in a 2002 exhibition, Bon Appétit! Julia Child’s Kitchen at the Smithsonian.
  5. Lovingly (and bloodily) spoofed by Dan Aykroyd in a hilarious 1978 Saturday Night Live sketch.
  6. Immortalized by Meryl Streep in the 2009 Nora Ephron movie Julie and Julia, in which the main character vows to prepare all 524 recipes in Childs’ cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Memorable Quote

“If you’re afraid of butter, use cream.”

Notable Books

Mastering the Art of French Cooking, 1961.
Julia Child’s legendary first cookbook, co-authored with Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle.

The French Chef Cookbook, 1968.
The complete collection of recipes from Julia Child’s pioneering PBS cooking show.

Julia and Jacques: Cooking at Home, 1999.
Julia Child and French chef Jacques Pépin wrote this as a companion book to their popular PBS series.

Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom, 2000.
Julia Child’s essential recipes and techniques

My Life in France, 2006.
Julia Child’s beloved memoir, written with her grandnephew Alex Prud’homme. The foundation of the book were letters she had originally written to relatives while she was living in France from the late 1940s to mid-1950s.

Watch Julia Child Shows Online

A Julia Childs documentary and many episodes from three of her PBS cooking shows can be streamed with the PBS station member benefit Passport. Join THIRTEEN Passport today to watch and learn from the ebullient and talented Childs, and to see a wealth of documentaries and scripted dramas in the on-demand library of quality public television programming.

American Masters – Julia! America’s Favorite Chef

Child and her professional colleagues James Beard, Jacques Pépin, and Alice Waters are all part of American Masters Chefs Flight in 2017, which included documentaries on each culinary legend. American Masters – Julia! America’s Favorite Chef (2004) tells two love stories: one between Julia and her husband Paul Child, the other between Julia and French food.

The French Chef with Julia Child

Julia Child broadcast The French Chef from WGBH in Boston, racking up 300 episodes between 1963 and 1973, assuring Americans that they could cook the French way, too. Twelve half-hour episodes from her groundbreaking series The French Chef with Julia Child are now streaming. By early September, there will be 52 episodes, so tie on that apron and get ready to expand your cooking repertoire! A rotating selection of episodes will be available through August 2019. The first episodes cover:

  1. Asparagus Tip to Butt
  2. The show opens with Child glowing over how much she appreciates asparagus and giving viewers advice about how to judge, purchase, and store it. Child emphasizes the importance of preparing asparagus the French way— – cutting off only a small amount of the bottom and especially peeling the stalk – asserting that it results in using more of the asparagus, makes it easier to cook and eat, and results in fresher-tasting finished asparagus. She goes on to prepare a sauce maltese (hollandaise sauce with orange flavoring), demonstrating how to beat eggs yolks, juice and other ingredients over heat until they become a custard.

  3. Cake For Company
  4. Cassoulet
  5. Coq Au Vin
  6. Crepes Suzette
  7. French Onion Soup
  8. French Tarts Apple Style
  9. Mousse Au Chocolat
  10. Quiche Lorraine and Company
  11. Roast Duck a l’Orange
  12. Soup au Pisto
  13. Tarts Aux Fruits

Watch The French Chef with Julia Child.

Baking with Julia

Watch Baking with Julia episodes from the 1990s, in which Child joins the country’s most outstanding pastry chefs and bakers in the kitchen. Baking partners include Martha Stewart, Nick Malgieri, Lauren Groveman and more.

In Julia’s Kitchen

Revisit episodes of In Julia’s Kitchen from 1992 and 1995, and watch Child and the top chefs in the world take an in-depth look at contemporary American cooking. Among the many guests are Charlie Trotter, Daniel Boulud, Madhur Jaffrey and more.