Julia Child Quotes

There are few, if any, people more quotable in the history of food writing than Julia Child. John collates just a handful of his favourites.

There is really no reason to post this article today, it’s not the anniversary of her birthday (August 15th), in fact it’s not the anniversary of anything Julia related that I’m aware of. When I was looking for something on the shelf this morning I just happened to lay my hand on a Julia Child book and was reminded just how much I love her writing.

So, I thought I’d collate a few of my favourite lines/quotes from the life and work of a woman who played a massive part in shaping the modern “foodie” world, and who is always a sheer joy to read.

on Eating…

Dining with one’s friends and beloved family is certainly one of life’s primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul-satisfying and eternal. In spite of food fads, fitness programs, and health concerns, we must never lose sight of a beautifully-conceived meal.

You have to eat to cook. You can’t be a good cook and be a non-eater. I think eating is the secret to good cooking.

People who love to eat are always the best people.

I’m awfully sorry for people who are taken in by all of today’s dietary mumbo jumbo. They are not getting any enjoyment out of their food.

on Cooking…

You learn to cook so that you don’t have to be a slave to recipes. You get what’s in season and you know what to do with it.

Noncooks think it’s silly to invest two hours’ work in two minutes’ enjoyment; but if cooking is evanescent, so is the ballet.

Of course I made many boo-boos. At first this broke my heart, but then I came to understand that learning how to fix one’s mistakes, or live with them, was an important part of becoming a cook.

Cooking is one failure after another, and that’s how you finally learn.

on Ingredients…

With enough butter, anything is good.

It is hard to imagine a civilization without onions.

How can a nation be called great if its bread tastes like kleenex?

The American poultry industry had made it possible to grow a fine-looking fryer in record time and sell it at a reasonable price, but no one mentioned that the result usually tasted like the stuffing inside of a teddy bear.

on Wine…

As you get older, you shouldn’t waste time drinking bad wine.

Fine wine is a living liquid … Its life comprises youth, maturity, old age, and death.

…and just general wisdom

Drama is very important in life: You have to come on with a bang. You never want to go out with a whimper. Everything can have drama if it’s done right. Even a pancake.

Always remember: If you’re alone in the kitchen and you drop the lamb, you can always just pick it up. Who’s going to know?

and finally

A quote that is often misattributed to Julia Child but is actually from a 1956 article by Harriet Van Horne, included here anyway because I really like it.

Cooking is like love; it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.

10 thoughts on “Julia Child Quotes

  • February 11, 2014 at 5:32 pm
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    “How can a nation be called great if its bread tastes like kleenex?”
    Where is she talking about?

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    • February 12, 2014 at 3:42 pm
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      That would be the United States.

      Reply
      • October 30, 2014 at 4:41 pm
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        Why do so many of you “foodie” people hate on America all the time. Are you just jealous of our country, I mean really how petty can you be!

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        • November 4, 2014 at 9:43 am
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          Nobody is hating America, Julia Child was American herself, she was just saying that the bread is a bit crap there. A lot of the criticism comes from the fact that the food is so processed that you are barely eating the original ingredients at all.

          Reply
  • March 20, 2014 at 11:26 am
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    I never get tired of reading Julia 🙂

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  • September 30, 2014 at 9:39 am
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    “It is hard to imagine a civilization without onions.”

    It is actually, is there anywhere that they don’t eat onions?

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    • October 10, 2014 at 6:20 pm
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      Vaishnavas (believers in a certain branch of Hinduism) often don’t eat onions, garlics, or other plants from the onion family.

      There might be other groups or places, but that’s the only one that springs to mind.

      Reply
  • December 6, 2016 at 12:43 pm
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    Always remember: If you’re alone in the kitchen and you drop the lamb, you can always just pick it up. Who’s going to know?

    Absolutely!

    Reply
  • December 15, 2016 at 3:43 pm
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    Cooking is like love; it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.
    Was not a quote from Julia Child. It is attributed to Harriet Van Horne 1956.
    The Julia Child foundation has confirmed this to me.

    Reply
    • December 16, 2016 at 2:54 pm
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      How right you are Lisa!

      The quote is originally from a 1956 Vogue article by Harriet Van Horne entitled ‘Not for Jiffy Cooks’.

      It is frequently misattributed to Julia Child or sometimes to Sydney Smith, thanks for setting us straight, I have updated the article.

      Reply

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