A Passion for Food
Julia Child experienced foreign and unfamiliar cuisines for the first time during World War II. Working for the OSS (Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the CIA), she traveled to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and China. With her colleagues, including her future husband, Paul Cushing Child, Julia went out to eat in China as often as she could. She discovered that Paul’s interest in food was becoming an interest of hers as well.
After the war, in 1946, Julia and Paul married. Paul’s work took them to Paris in 1948, and Julia found, “As soon as we got over there and I tasted that food I just couldn’t get over it.”
In Paris, Paul suggested she go to the elite Cordon Bleu cooking school. Because of her war service, she was eligible for U.S. government–funded training. Along with several American GIs, she entered the professional course. The training she received there, with its emphasis on precise, hands-on technical knowledge and demonstrations by chefs, convinced her that she had found her life’s work.
Signaling mirror, around 1944
(reproduction, to protect original from overexposure to light)
Légion d’honneur medal, 2000