Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Julia Child Undercover...!

Sometimes people we think we know have secrets that we don't find out about until years later.

More often than we can even imagine, famous folks are used as spies or intelligence persons. being well known often makes their secret job much easier. In a case like Julia's, she would have probably never have been suspected of anything. She certainly didn't look the part for undercover work, ya know?


Credit: Bachrach/Getty Images

The California-born Child, then known by her maiden name, Julia McWilliams, got her first taste of intelligence work in the spring of 1942 as a civilian volunteer in Los Angeles with the Aircraft Warning Service, which tracked shipping along the California coast in an effort to prevent enemy attacks. She soon applied for the WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service), but at 6’3” was rejected for being too tall. Determined to do her part for the war effort and interested in intelligence work, she got a job with the OSS in Washington, D.C., as a research assistant to the agency’s leader, William Donovan. The following year, she moved to a new department, the Emergency Sea Rescue Equipment Section, which developed ways for downed pilots to survive in remote locations; while there, she helped create a chemical shark repellent. From 1944 to 1945, Child took assignments in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and China, where as head of the OSS registry she was responsible for handling high volumes of top-secret documents. Although Child technically wasn’t spying on other people, the OSS classified her as a senior civilian intelligence officer.

While in Ceylon, Julia met Paul Child, a fellow OSS officer, who she married in 1946. In 1948, Paul Child took a job with the U.S. Information Agency in France, and Julia fell in love with the nation’s cuisine and studied at Le Cordon Bleu. In 1961, she published “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” the book that launched her career.

I would have never thought of Julia Child as part of the Intelligence community. Somehow she never fit in with my idea of someone capable of handling secret documents. I reckon my way of thinking is influenced by too much modern fiction. You may have had the same problem once or twice.

Coffee out on the patio today. If the rain starts, we'll go inside, OK?


linda m said...

I learned something new today. Never in a million years would I have guessed the Julia child worked for the intelligence office. 58 and cloudy here this morning.

Hermit's Baby Sis said...

Yes, Bubba, I had heard this before, and I think it just adds to her persona. Imagine learning to cook from a spy!
Bring on the rain!!

JO said...

Good story I new she loved France and that's where she learned to cook but not why she was there. Interesting story.

We had a really gully washer here and it is still very cloudy today

edifice rex said...

Watch the movie Julia & Julie if you ever get the chance. I loved it. Meryl Streep plays Julia Child and it portrays quite a bit of her life in France with Paul and with the intelligence agency.

HermitJim said...

Hey Linda...
Almost hard to believe, isn't it? Looks can certainly be decieving.
Thanks for stopping by today!

Hey Sis...
Does certainly give her more depth. I mean, who would have figured?
Thanks for coming over today, Sis.

Hey Jo...
Makes her story much more interesting.
Thanks. sweetie, fror dropping by today!

Hey Anne...
Thanks for the heads up about the movie. I'll have to watch it.
Thanks for the visit this morning, my friend!

The Odd Essay said...

I'd read that about Julia Child's "history"... also read that she did not like the Julia/Julie thing at all. I haven't seen the movie (read the book)... love to eat but will never master the art of French cooking :-(