In addition to having one of the better articles explaining the fall of AIG, Vanity Fair's August edition also has a refresher biography about the life of Julia Child, who's being portrayed by Meryl Streep in the upcoming Julie & Julia.
Child's life has been well-documented by multiple biographers but she remains an enigma, which makes sense considering that she spent several years as a spy in the Office of Strategic Services. The article attempts to explain what Julia meant to America's cooks:
America's First Lady is not always the president's wife, though she doesChild is portrayed as someone who felt out of place during the early part of her life.
tend to be tall and tireless, and has in the past come from Wasp stock.
The 20th century can count three such women, all of whom were
cheerfully generous in the spotlight and wholly dedicated to causes
that were democratic in character ... The first was
Emily Post, the author of 1922's Etiquette ... The second was Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and a moral beacon through the 40s
and 50s. When Post died, in 1960, and Eleanor Roosevelt, in 1962, it
was not the svelte and sloe-eyed Jacqueline Kennedy who moved into this
matriarchal role -- she was too young, too shy, too feathery, too
fashionable. It was Julia Child, just turned 50.
Child was 6'2" with broad shoulders, and that defined a large part of
her adolescence. "In school plays Julia was always cast as the man or
an animal ... never the princess."
Her love life is often
presented as non-existent before she met her husband Paul Child (who
thought her a for-sure virgin) but she'd gone on dates and had "crushes" and had been proposed to in 1941.
Her first forays into cooking were less successful than her love life:
She never forgot the first meal she'd made for her new husband: calves'But
brains simmered in red wine. It was "messy to look at," she later
wrote, "and not very good to eat." She had 25 cookbooks but no
technique, and she wasn't what anyone would call a natural. Yet Paul
had lit the pilot light, and in Paris -- wooomf -- the flame.
for all the biographies and profiles on Child, the article admits the
best way to get to know Julia -- to peer into her soul -- is to read
her chef d'oeuvre Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Jacques
Pépin said he read it like a novel. Child poured her heart
and soul into it for seven years. It's also the impetus for Julie & Julia, when the Julie character tries to make all of its recipes in one year.
One more thing. During all those years on The French Chef
when she'd end the show with a glass of wine and a toast, the wine was
really Gravy Master mixed with water. Some things are better left