Julia Child Didn’t Like Talking About Her Experience With Cancer

Julia Child, a renowned chef and cookbook author, is credited for introducing numerous French recipes. The celebrity TV trailblazer and government spy published cookbooks and held a show in the PBS television series.  She gained her culinary skills from a culinary institute in France.

She contributed her works in the cookbook known as Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which emerged the best-selling in 1961 after the first publication. Child is also the primary inspiration for the film Julie $ Julia, which intertwines her life with that of Julie Powell.  

However, she didn’t have the chance to meet blogger Powell. When asked to comment about the blogger’s works, she commented that she didn’t endorse Powell as a serious chef.

Julia Child’s aspirations and achievements

Julie Child cooking
Julie Child cooking | ABC via Getty Images

Child had aspirations to join the military and serve the nation. However, it was not possible to join the military as she was too tall. After failing to join the military, she was hired as an assistant in a government office, Office of Strategic Services, during World War II.

In 1949, she attended a class in Cordon Bleu, and surprisingly she was the only woman in that class. She was also the first woman to join the Culinary Institute of America. Child made a debut on the TV screens through a Boston TV channel where she shared her tips on making an omelet. The omelet dish was part of a book tour for her book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Child filmed her cooking shows in her kitchen, and most of them were unedited. Her wish was to donate her cooking tools and kitchen to Smithsonian after her demise. Her works and tools are well exhibited in the museum, and the public can view them.

Julia Child’s experience with cancer

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In 1968, when Child was 55, she discovered a lump in her breast during a self-assessment procedure. She went to the hospital, and her doctor conducted a biopsy, which showed cancerous cells in her breast.  The doctor requested a radical mastectomy, and Child had to stay in the hospital for 10 days.

The surgical procedure was conducted at Beth Israel Hospital, which is located in Boston.

Child’s recovery from the breast surgery

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Child was skeptical about sharing her woes to the public. She didn’t mention her cancer discovery and life-saving surgical procedure in any of her public conversations. In the recovery stage of the surgery, she opted for a private recovery.

Her husband, Paul Child, a photographer and artist, who died in 1994, was her only support system in the recovery stage. He assisted her in getting back on her feet, and after a few weeks, she was on the screens, hosting her favorite cooking show. However, Paul was devastated by the thought of losing her wife to cancer. Child would, on occasion basis, weep in her bathtub.

In 1974 Child opens up about her cancer journey though she hated being termed a cancer survivor. She advises women to exercise and ask their doctors to conduct various mammograms. 

According to Taste of Home, she didn’t want to sound like she was complaining about her treatment or recovery. She didn’t speak about it in public very often.

She did advise women to aim for early detection of cancerous cells in their breast for better and early management.

Julia Child lived for 36 years following her recovery and died from unrelated causes in 2004, two days before turning 92.