An American in Paris, a woman succeeding in a man’s world, author of a paradigm-shifting cookbook, the ebullient and eccentric star of a hit television cooking program that also shifted paradigms, and a woman in love—in so many ways Julia Child embodied the food and cooking branch of the Great American Dream.
But how well do you know her and her legacy? Take this quiz and find out. Answers are at bottom.
- “For me the truth always lies with Julia,” said a respected chef not commonly associated with French cuisine. “How can you doubt the one who taught you to master hollandaise and puff pastry?” Who said this? a) Roy Choi b) Susan Feniger c) Rick Bayless d) David Chang
- Another quote from a well-known female chef and food personality: “When I was first married, I studied Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking as if it were the Bible.” Name her. (Hint—and this will be a dead giveaway to her fans: Her husband is Jeffrey.) a. Martha Stewart b. Patricia Wells c. Ina Garten d. Lidia Bastianich
- When Julia graduated from Smith College in 1930 with a degree in history, she never dreamed of becoming a famous cook and personality. To what occupation did she aspire? a. Novelist b. Teacher c. Doctor d. Librarian
- It is well known that during World War II she worked for the OSS, a forerunner to the CIA. Less well known is the fact that before joining the OSS Julia applied to join the two women’s branches of the armed services, the WACS and WAVES. Both turned her down, though. Why? a. She could not cook, a condition of employment for servicewomen at the time b. She was not mechanical, also what the services were looking for. c. Poor eyesight d. At 6 foot two, she was too tall
- So esteemed is Julia’s reputation that many people do not realize she was not the sole author of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Even some foodies can’t name her two co-authors. Can you? a. Simone Beck and Aimee Cassiot b. Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle c. Simone Beck and Avis De Voto d. Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre
- Here’s an easy one. Or is it? Every Julia devotee can tell you that she trained at Le Cordon Bleu, the Parisian cooking school. But not every devotee knows what the school’s name means in English. Translate, please. a. The blue watch b. The blue rope or string c. The blue line d. The blue ribbon
- In Nora Ephron’s film Julie & Julia, Knopf book editor Judith Jones cooks a recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which was as yet unpublished. The dish she cooks—leading her to greenlight the book and publish it—is the same one Julia prepares on the first program of “The French Chef” in 1963. What was it? a. Boeuf bourguignon b. Cheese soufflé c. Roast duck a l’orange d. Grilled whole chicken
- Julie & Julia tells two interlocking stories—Julia’s adventures in France in the 1950s and those of contemporary food writer Julia Powell, who cooked every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking and blogged about it. The last meal Powell, played by Amy Adams, prepares in the film is one she had been dreading for a year. What did she need to do that so disturbed her? a. Clean and de-ink squid b. Soak and peel calf’s brains c. Bone a duck d. Skewer the rump knucklebone of a lamb
- Julia Child wrote, “He was a great inspiration, his enthusiasm about wine and food helped to shape my tastes and his encouragement saw me through discouraging moments.” To whom was she referring? a. Chef Max Bugnard, her mentor at Le Cordon Bleu b. Paul Child, her husband c. Russell Morash, producer and director of “The French Chef” d. Dan Ackroyd, who did a famous spoof of her on “Saturday Night Live.” Julia saw the show, enjoyed it, and released this tongue-in-cheek statement about it.
- 10. In 2016 Twitch, an online videogame streaming service, showed back-to-back-to-back episodes of “The French Chef” for four consecutive days. This marathon showing attracted more than a million viewers—mostly, teenage boy gamers—and spurred Twitch to stream another old-time Julia cooking show. What was the title of this award-winning PBS show that introduced her good friend Jacques Pepin to American audiences? a. “Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home” b. “In the Kitchen with Julia and Jacques” c. “Two French Chefs: Julia and Jacques” d. “Julia Child’s Kitchen, Featuring Jacques Pepin”
Answers: 1c. 2c. 3a. 4d. 5b. 6d. 7a. 8c. 9b. 10a. For more fun quizzes on food personalities, as well as lots of other entertaining culinary items, see Kevin Nelson’s Foodie Snob, published this spring by Lyons Press. This article was adapted from the book.