The Right Coast

August 13, 2004
Julia Child is Dead at 91
By Gail Heriot

I will miss Julia Child, who died just a little shy of her 92nd birthday. It's not because I aspire to be a great cook (I am an excellent eater, but a laughable cook). But there was something deeply lovable about this woman. And the fact she was 50 years old when she started her career as America's greatest authority on cooking makes her especially endearing. The whole world loves a late bloomer; they show us that there's still time.

What you may not know about Julia Child is that she was a American agent with the Office of Strategic Services (forerunner to the CIA) during World War II. Sort of anyway. The New York Times seems to pooh-pooh this phase of her life by writing that she had "fantasies of becoming a spy," but was actually simply a "file clerk in Ceylon." But if you were an American spy, wouldn't you tell the New York Times that you were just a file clerk? And at 6' 2", she must have been some file clerk ....