Today marks 100 years since her birth. She is remembered by chefs, celebrities and lay folks alike for bringing cooking - specifically French cooking - to the masses in a straightforward manner that was also joyous and celebratory. It's true that my only memories of her from childhood are brief blips on the television (accompanied by an oddly high-pitched voice) as I quickly flipped channels to a some more flashy and exciting programming, and it was only later on in life that I met the woman through her work and her legacy. Years ago when I read Julie Powell's Julie and Julia, the famed blog-turned book-turned movie, I grew interested in Julia Child, having discovered small bits of information about her. She was over six feet tall, she was in her thirties when she got married and she signed up for classes at the Le Cordon Bleu to learn to cook because she was bored living in Paris. It was enough to drive me to read My Life in France and learn more about her personal life. She adored her husband. She valued taste over nutrition. She built a successful writing and television career later in life.
I have never read Mastering the Art of French Cooking and probably never will. But I'm inspired by Julia Child because she didn't take herself too seriously and believed that anyone could cook. She pioneered cooking programs, paving the way for the Food Network and celebrity chefs, for better or worse. And she taught people like me how to have fun in the kitchen.