Julia Child Quotes

Selected Julia Child Quotations

Chef Julia Child Portrait Session
Chef Julia Child 1990. George Rose / Getty Images

Cookbook author and television cooking personality Julia Child introduced French cooking techniques to Americans in a way that was both entertaining and accessible. She's known for her distinctive voice and willingness to "make a mess" and for her popularization of cooking instruction.

Julia Child Quotes on Life

• Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.

• You must have discipline to have fun.

• Life itself is the proper binge.

• I think the inner person is the most important.... I would like to see an invention that keeps the mind alert. That's what is important.

• Drama is very important in life: You have to come on with a bang. You never want to go out with a whimper.

• Tears mess up your makeup.

• Everything in moderation, including moderation.

Julia Child Quotes on Friendship, Love and Marriage

• 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.

• It's fun to get together and have something good to eat at least once a day. That's what human life is all about -- enjoying things.

• You find yourself refreshed by the presence of cheerful people. Why not make an honest effort to confer that pleasure on others? Half the battle is gained if you never allow yourself to say anything gloomy.

• The secret of a happy marriage is finding the right person. You know they're right if you love to be with them all of the time.

• I wouldn't keep him around long if I didn't feed him well.

Julia Child Quotes on Cooking as Art

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

• It took architects years to get established, to show that they weren't just artisans, and that's what I hope will happen with gastronomy. For some reason people don't consider cooking a serious business, but it's like any discipline, and it's a passionate and fascinating one.

• Some people like to paint pictures, or do gardening, or build a boat in the basement. Other people get a tremendous pleasure out of the kitchen, because cooking is just as creative and imaginative an activity as drawing, or wood carving, or music.

• It's so beautifully arranged on the plate -- you know someone's fingers have been all over it.

Julia Child Quotes on How to Cook

• This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook -- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!

• You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces - just good food from fresh ingredients.

• Once you have mastered a technique, you barely have to look at a recipe again.

• Be a fearless cook! Try out new ideas and new recipes, but always buy the freshest and finest ingredients, whatever they may be. Furnish your kitchen with the most solid and workmanlike equipment you can find. Keep your knives ever sharp and -- toujours bon appetit!

• The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a 'What the hell?' attitude.

• 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?

• In department stores, so much kitchen equipment is bought indiscriminately by people who just come in for men's underwear.

• I think every woman should have a blowtorch.

• Always start out with a larger pot than what you think you need.

• The best way to execute French cooking is to get good and loaded and whack the hell out of a chicken. Bon appétit. {attributed}

Julia Child Quotes on French Cooking and French Food

• In France, cooking is a serious art form and a national sport.

• After one taste of French food ... I was hooked. I'd never eaten like that before, I didn't know such food existed.

The wonderful attention paid to each detail of the meal was incredible to me. I'd never really drunk good wine before, and knew nothing at all about it. It was simply a whole new life experience.

• Cassoulet, that best of bean feasts, is everyday fare for a peasant but ambrosia for a gastronome, though its ideal consumer is a 300-pound blocking back who has been splitting firewood nonstop for the last twelve hours on a subzero day in Manitoba.

Julia Child Quotes on American Food

• It is the Americans who have managed to crown minced beef as hamburger, and to send it round the world so that even the fussy French have taken to le boeuf hache, le hambourgaire.

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

Julia Child Quotes on How to Teach and Learn Cooking

• I would far prefer to have things happen as they naturally do, such as the mousse refusing to leave the mold, the potatoes sticking to the skillet, the apple charlotte slowly collapsing. One of the secrets of cooking is to learn to correct something if you can, and bear with it if you cannot.

• Just like becoming an expert in wine -- you learn by drinking it, the best you can afford -- you learn about great food by finding the best there is, whether simply or luxurious. The you savor it, analyze it, and discuss it with your companions, and you compare it with other experiences.

• A cookbook is only as good as its worst recipe.

Julia Child Quotes on Her Own Life

• Being tall is an advantage, especially in business. People will always remember you. And if you're in a crowd, you'll always have some clean air to breathe.

• I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.

• Until I discovered cooking, I was never really interested in anything.

• Upon reflection, I decided I had three main weaknesses: I was confused (evidenced by a lack of facts, an inability to coordinate my thoughts, and an inability to verbalize my ideas); I had a lack of confidence, which cause me to back down from forcefully stated positions; and I was overly emotional at the expense of careful, 'scientific' though.

I was thirty-seven years old and still discovering who I was.

• I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food I'm cooking.

• I don't think about whether people will remember me or not. I've been an okay person. I've learned a lot. I've taught people a thing or two. That's what's important.

Julia Child Quotes on Work and Achievement

• If you're in a good profession, it's hard to get bored, because you're never finished-there will always be work you haven't done.

• The measure of achievement is not winning awards. It's doing something that you appreciate, something you believe is worthwhile. I think of my strawberry souffle. I did that at least twenty-eight times before I finally conquered it.

About Success and Celebrity

• Why languish as a giantess when it is so much fun to be a myth?

• Celebrity has its uses. I can always get a seat in any restaurant.

Julia Child Quotes on Dieting and Diets

• Moderation. Small helpings. Sample a little bit of everything. These are the secrets of happiness and good health.

• I just hate health food.

• Dieting got really big in the '60s, when fashion models were very thin. They weren't always, you know! Now we're eating all this fat-free, fake stuff, and we're getting fat anyway because we're not satisfied.

• In spite of food fads, fitness programs, and health concerns, we must never lose sight of a beautifully conceived meal.

• The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook.

• You can have some butter, you can have some olive oil. It all comes down to moderation, variety, exercise and use your head.

• Fat gives things flavor.

• If you’re afraid of butter, just use cream.

• I find that if I just taste everything and eat small portions I maintain my weight. I watch my fat intake, but I eat hearty.

• Personally, I don't think pure vegetarianism is a healthy lifestyle. I've often wondered to myself: Does a vegetarian look forward to dinner, ever?

More About Julia Child

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About These Quotes

This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.