15 Julia Child Quotes to Live By

published Aug 11, 2023
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The undisputed queen of French cuisine, Julia Child transformed American kitchens by introducing French cooking to homes across the country with her debut cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She became a beloved household fixture through her numerous television programs and earned as much of a reputation for her wisdom and wit as she did for her cooking. 

Julia Child lived a life filled with wonder, creativity, and joy until she passed at the age of 91, but her recipes and wise words are timeless. These quotes encapsulate the very best of her clever humor and her passion for the art of cooking.

“People who love to eat are always the best people.”

Julia Child loved to entertain, and it comes as no surprise that the master chef loved to surround herself with people who love to eat. After all, cooking is the most fun when you can share the meal you’ve prepared with an excited, enthusiastic audience.

“Really, the more I cook the more I like to cook.”

It’s an understatement to say that Julia Child loved cooking, but it was her natural sense of curiosity and wonderment that kept that passion burning. Oftentimes the more we learn about something we love, the more we grow to love it.

“With enough butter, anything is good.”

Let’s face it: Butter is delicious. Even a legendary chef like Julia Child knew that adding butter to any dish can only make it better, and can even rescue a less-than-delicious meal. If you make a mistake in the kitchen, don’t worry — just break out the butter.

“I enjoy cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food … ”

For as serious as Julia Child was about her craft, she also knew not to take life too seriously. One of the reasons she was so captivating to audiences around the world was because she experienced true joy in the kitchen. Sometimes you need to take a step back and relax, enjoying a glass of wine or two along the way. 

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

It is invaluable to remember that even icons don’t always have their lives figured out in their 20s. Julia Child is proof that no matter when you start to pursue your passions, you are never too late to achieve success.

“A party without cake is really just a meeting.”

Who wants to attend a party that doesn’t have cake? Certainly not Julia Child. Life is too short not to have as much dessert as possible.

“Cooking well doesn’t mean cooking fancy.”

There are few gestures more loving than treating a loved one or guest to a delicious home-cooked meal, and good meals don’t have to be elaborate. Preparing simple meals well matters so much more than adding bells and whistles. Case in point: Julia Child’s recipe for roast chicken.

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”

Even the most accomplished people experience a fear of failure, but the key to success is overcoming that fear and trying your best. After all, what’s the worst that can happen?

“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces — just good food from fresh ingredients.”

Julia Child recognized that with cooking, what you get out of it is only as good as what you put into it. Good, fresh ingredients can yield a culinary masterpiece that is simple and delicious.

“Well, all I know is this — nothing you ever learn is really wasted, and will sometime be used.”

You never know what you’ll need to know and when, but a lifetime love of learning is a trait that is sure to come in handy sooner or later and in more ways than one.

“I think careful cooking is love, don’t you? The loveliest thing you can cook for someone who’s close to you is about as nice a Valentine as you can give.”

If your love language is “acts of service,” then you’ll agree that there is no greater act of service than cooking a meal for someone you love. Hosting a holiday, like Thanksgiving, is one way to show love to your nearest and dearest.

“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.”

While Julia Child’s advice is intended for cooking, it also pertains to how she lived her life outside of the kitchen. If there are two words that could describe her, they would be fearless and fun.

“Remember, ‘No one’s more important than people.’ In other words, friendship is the most important thing — not career or housework, or one’s fatigue — and it needs to be tended and nurtured.”

Relationships require just as much effort as work, if not more. Without the people we love, what point is there to do much else? Friendship makes the world go ‘round.

“I think every woman should have a blowtorch.”

Make no mistake about it: Julia Child was a pioneer of feminism if ever there was one. Blowtorch or not, Julia Child paved the way for countless women to pursue their passions in the kitchen, to run their own businesses, and to be fearless in everything they do.

“To be a good cook you have to have a love of the good, a love of hard work, and a love of creating.”

Julia Child’s wisdom doesn’t only apply to cooking, but to life. Pursuing the good, working hard, and creating in whatever capacity you can may very well be the recipe for happiness.