Julia Child’s legacy extends beyond introducing French cooking to the modern American masses. She was a chipper, award-winning media personality who reassured her audiences that it’s OK to make mistakes, taught them about perseverance and always emphasized fun.
Finding passion and success took years for Child. She worked in advertising and later for the U.S. government’s precursor to the CIA, and it wasn’t until she was in her late 30s that she attended Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Paris.
In 1961, when Child was 49, she and two colleagues published Mastering the Art of French Cooking, the cookbook that launched her career. This was after its original publisher, Houghton Mifflin, dropped the book. Despite this roadblock -- and countless botched recipes along the way -- Child’s cooking show The French Chef premiered in 1963, making her a household name.
Child, born on Aug. 15, 1912, passed away in 2004. Today, on what would have been her 104th birthday, here are some of her most memorable quotes for inspiration in all of your entrepreneurial endeavors.
“Just speak very loudly and quickly, and state your position with utter conviction, as the French do, and you'll have a marvelous time!”
“When you flip anything, you just have to have the courage of your convictions, particularly if it’s sort of a loose mass like this. *Flips potato pancake and spills it onto the stove* Well, that didn’t go very well. See, when I flipped it, I didn’t have the courage to do it the way I should’ve. But you can always pick it up, and if you’re alone in the kitchen, who is going to see? But the only way you learn how to flip things is just to flip them.
“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.”
On trial and error
“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!”
“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
“If you're afraid of butter, use cream.”
“You'll never know everything about anything, especially something you love.”
“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 soufflé. I did that at least 28 times before I finally conquered it.”
“A cookbook is only as good as its poorest recipe.”
“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 yet done.”
“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 caused me to back down from forcefully stated positions; and I was overly emotional at the expense of careful, 'scientific' thought. I was 37 years old and still discovering who I was.”
“If everything doesn’t happen quite the way you’d like, it doesn’t make too much difference, because you can fix it.”
On time management
“And remember that a soufflé will wait for you. You can get it ready two hours ahead, hold it, bake it about 40 minutes before you serve it. The important thing is how to time it so neither one of you collapses!”
“Maybe the cat has fallen into the stew, or the lettuce has frozen or the cake has collapsed -- eh bien, tant pis! [well, too bad!] Usually one’s cooking is better than one thinks it is. And if the food is truly vile, as my ersatz eggs Florentine surely were, then the cook must simply grit her teeth and bear it with a smile -- and learn from her mistakes.”
“Tears mess up your makeup.”
“Always start out with a larger pot than what you think you need.”
“Let’s go into the kitchen, and we’re going to make the best chocolate cake you ever put in your mouth!”