Julia Child is a public television deity in a holy trinity that includes Mr. Rogers and Big Bird.
Imagine how popular she’d be if everyone know how much she loved cats.
We Love Julia
Julie Child was an unlikely television star. At six feet, two inches tall (188 centimeters), she was a striking, if not conventionally beautiful woman.
And that voice!
Her close friend, Jacques Pépin, called it “shrill and warm at the same time.”
I loved watching her show when I was a kid. She looked like she was having so much fun. And although I could never imagine cooking the complicated French dishes she made on her show, I was sorely tempted.
Who wouldn’t want to be as confident and fun-loving as Julia Child?
Julia Loved Cats
Julia Child has been the subject of several documentaries and even a feature film. Several autobiographies have been written about her. But not until Patricia Barey and Theresa Burson wrote, Julia’s Cats: Julia Child’s Life in the Company of Cats (affiliate link) did I have any idea how cat crazy Julia Child was.
Apparently her love of cats (documented thoroughly in her letters and photographs of her) was not important enough to include in her biographies, until now.
Julia Child adopted many cats throughout her life. She wrote extensively about their escapades to her family. And she decorated her letters with her collection of cat stamps.
After she wrote Mastering the Art of French Cooking, 50th Anniversary Edition (affiliate link), Child traveled frequently. Production of The French Chef for public television took even more time and meant she could only indulge her kitty love while vacationing in Provence. When she returned to Cambridge for the next television season, she left her beloved cats with her close friend on whose land she had built a house.
But even if she couldn’t always have live cats with her, Child filled her house with cat tchotchkes and artwork. She took in strays and found them new homes.
If Julia Child hadn’t discovered her love of cooking first and had been born a few decades later, I’m reasonably sure she would have become a cat blogger.
Passion Is Irresistible
When Julia Child cooked a Sole Meunière, I wanted to head to the fish market. When she reminisced about French bistros, I’d start checking bargain airfares to Paris. And now that I’ve read her descriptions of her beloved poussiquettes, I imagine introducing Honey to a kitten.
Happy, passionate people are hard to resist. And Julia Child appeared to be both.
I may never be able to turn out a perfect, crusty French bread. I’ll certainly never speak fluent French. But there’s a pretty good chance I could come to love cats.
And that’s not a bad way to imitate a television deity.
Your Turn: Were you a Julia Child fan? Did you know she was a crazy cat lady?
It’s Pet Travel Tuesday. You can see my full review of Julia’s Cats at A Traveler’s Library.
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