Julia Child moved to France to be with her husband on a government mission
Long before the release of her cookbook and decades before she began her career as an immediately sympathetic television chef, Child was a United States government employee. Her work in government led her to her husband, Paul Child, and her own post in the State Department took them to France.
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The Childs moved to Paris in 1948 and spent several years in Europe before returning to the United States. Once back in the United States, Child’s media career began. By the time The French chef first child was in his fifties. She worked in the 1990s before retiring to Montecito, California. Her life in France was so crucial that the world probably never could have met the ever-optimistic chef without her.
What did Julia Child eat at La Couronne?
The Childs’ very first meal in France took place at La Couronne in Rouen, about an hour from their ship docking. The restaurant, famous for its classic French cuisine, was established in the 1300s. This meal had a profound impact on Child, and she would go on to explain it in glorious and delicious detail decades after the plates were cleaned. So, what exactly did the child eat that day?
The Childs started their first meal with oysters, enjoying them with rye bread and butter. For the main course, the couple ordered Sole meunière, apparently at the urging of their server. Sole Meuniere is a pan-seared fish dish that is accompanied by a brown butter sauce and garnished with parsley, according to Wikipedia. For their last dish, Paul ordered the pair of coffee and white cheese. They also had dinner on Salade Verte and, as Child mentioned in his book My life in France, she experienced a real French baguette for the first time today. She walked away from the meal with a new appreciation for France, but it apparently ignited something else in her, too.
She insisted the couple’s first meal in France was the most exciting of their life
The child and her husband ate this first meal shortly after docking in France. The couple had made the trip across the ocean, with their station wagon, on the SS America. The trip had been difficult. Leaving New York at the end of October 1948, they encountered a terrible storm. In his book, My life in France, Child recalled that she and Paul were among the only passengers to make it to the ship’s dining room for several days.
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By the time they found their way back to dry land, they were ready for a real meal. Leaving Le Hèvre, the couple headed for Paris, stopping in Rouen for dinner. There, Child found the ambiance of France and the French charming. She enjoyed the way they treated food as an art and a hobby. She described her meal at La Couronne as the “most exciting” meal of her life.
Child later called the meal the most important meal of his life, according to The new yorker. This meal would have changed everything for Child and inspired her to develop her love of food, which ultimately led him to Le Cordon Bleu, which ultimately led to his cookbooks and cooking show.