Julia Child Loved Cats

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.

Two cats in Provence.

Two cats in Provence.

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.

Julia Child said, if you're afraid of butter, use cream.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

Honey the Golden Retriever is not a dog I am afraid of.

Did you say we’re getting a cat? When?

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.

Disclaimer: Books links in this post are to Amazon. If you buy something using the link I will earn a few cents but you will not pay more. Thanks for supporting Something Wagging This Way Comes.

 

photo credits: Phil Denton via photopin cc and  Andrea Schaffer via photopin cc. Click images to learn more about the photographers.

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Comments

  1. What a brilliant idea for a book. And thanks so much for sharing it here and at A Traveler’s Library. What adorable cat pictures you found, too!

  2. I was never a huge fan, but I did enjoy learning more about her through Julie and Julia. I did not know she was a cat person, maybe since she was childless she poured that unconditional love onto cats.

  3. I bet you are right! I could just see her blogging about her cats, cat health topics and rescue!

    (We are a bit like her, in that we have our house decorated in collie stuff! lol)

  4. We did not know much about her but certainly never heard anything about her being cat crazy. I hear that I look like a dog Julia Childs when I cook. I am a dog, but I can say that cats really aren’t that bad. I have 2 and one of them and I hang out together a lot. Give a kitten a try…soon you will have 2…3…who knows how many! They are great for snuggling!

    • One of the reasons I’ve started thinking about a cat is because Honey likes them so much. She definitely has some kitty friends in the neighborhood.

      And, if we’re going to live on a boat someday, a cat would certainly fit better than another dog. :)

  5. We had no idea she was a crazy cat lady. Good for her. Have a terrific Tuesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  6. I didn’t know she liked cats, but then I’d hardly heard of her before I saw ‘Julie & Julia’. I suppose cats can help in the kitchen, but they’re not as good at cleaning up the dropped bits as dogs are!

    • I think Julia Child found her cats were very good at cleaning up dropped bits. Of course, she was often cooking with high quality fish and pate de fois gras, too. :)

      And I wouldn’t expect my British friends to be familiar with her. During the height of her career, most people did not give English cooking very much respect. And she didn’t think there was anything in the world that competed with French cuisine.

  7. Embarrassed to say I’m not really sure who she is… But off to google her now:-)

    • As I said to Clowie’s person, I’d be surprised if she made any waves in Britain. She really was a French foodie. She didn’t think much of American food either. :)

  8. I had no idea! But you know, it doesn’t surprise me that she was a cat lady.

    I remember watching Julia when I was very little, and then I’ve seen some things as an adult. It’s a bucket list thing of mine to cook some kind of Julia Child recipe just once in my life. After reading some things about her life and watching a movie about her, I think she’s one of those people who would have been successful at whatever she set out to do. My guess is that she wouldn’t just have been a cat blogger, she’d have run a cat rescue and probably done a lot to change the state of cats in shelters today with much higher adoption rates.

    • You’re so right about Julia! She never did commercial endorsements or even benefits for worthy organizations, except for public television. But as she traveled around the country, she often helped with fund raisers for local animal shelters. Our book, Julia’s Cats, describes how in her later years she paid frequent visits to a Santa Barbara “cat house” to play with the rescued kitties. And she once told a reporter that if she hadn’t discovered French food first, she might have decided to become a feline vet!

  9. De Cunningham (@Skye613 ) says:

    Loved that book! Wonderful post.

  10. I didn’t know this about her! I love Julia Child and this makes me love her more. She makes the cooking look so fun and easy :) cats rock!

  11. Pam I hope you get this. Could you do me a favour? Next time you are on 24 paws blog can you let them know I can’t leave comments since they made the change. I do stop by but that is all I can do.
    Many thanks
    Molly

  12. I love Julia Child because she was the real deal. So many famous people are actually “personalities” created to sell something. Julia wasn’t a personality in a can.

  13. I know who Julia Child is but I’m not sure how! Maybe her cooking show was on TV here? One day I’ll watch the movie. People are full of surprises aren’t they:) It often pays to do more than scratch the surface. Turkish Van cats are actually fond of water Pamela. Just sayin!

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