Julia Child did not like nutritionists.
She thought our interest in nutritional values (“nutritionism”) had ruined the pleasure and cultural meaning of food.
In 1991, the food writer and cookbook author Nancy Harmon Jenkins, had the thrilling (if overly optimistic) idea that if Julia met me, she would change her mind about nutritionists. Nancy arranged to host a dinner party to introduce us.
But woe. Nancy fell and broke her foot.
Julia would do the dinner. In her Cambridge kitchen!
I wish I could say that the evening was a great success but it did not go well. Julia did sign my copy of Mastering, but grudgingly (even though it had been so well used that it was falling apart).
Later, after my NYU department introduced our academic programs in Food Studies—so clearly inspired by her work—she relented.
I have a handful of treasured cards and letters from her. Here’s one:
I miss her.
As does everyone else:
- Julia Moskin’s thoughtful and affectionate overview in the New York Times
- Jacques Pépin’s lovely tribute, also in the Times
- PBS’s remix of old clips (thanks to Alyce Conrad for sending the link)
- Frontburner tributes from the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals)
- And the Google homepage today: