Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World - Ann Shen (2016)
One of the most famous chefs in history, Julia Child (1912-2004) lived a life that proved you’re never too old to find your calling. A late bloomer, Child started out as a secretary in the Secret Intelligence department of the Office of Strategic Services (a precursor to the CIA). While working for the OSS, she met her husband, Paul Child. They married when she was thirty-six and moved to Paris. She didn’t know what she was doing with her life then, until she had a revelatory meal in Rouen that set her on her history-making path. Child decided to become a chef, attending Le Cordon Bleu and studying privately with master chefs until she met two friends in a cooking club. Together, they started a cooking school of their own and wrote Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The cookbook was first rejected by publishers for being too much like an encyclopedia; eventually a publisher picked it up, and it became an instant bestseller that introduced French cuisine to American kitchens everywhere. Child was forty-nine when it was published, and it’s still in print today.
She went on to publish over eighteen books in her lifetime. The Childs moved back to the United States, and at fifty-one she became a television star in a number of her own cooking shows, bringing the gregarious, six-foot-two chef into American homes and hearts. Child became the first woman inducted into the Culinary Institute of America’s Hall of Fame. She attributed her long life to red meat and gin.