Julia’s Cats

This charming and delightful book chronicles the many cats that filled the incomparable Julia Child’s home and personal life. Appropriately, it is Julia’s cats that take center stage (as any self respecting cat would have it) while the more familiar story of her rise to culinary fame unfolds in the background. Based on letters sent by Julia and her husband Paul, along with a few original interviews with Julia Child herself, the book traces the beginnings of Julia’s feline love affair, beginning with her adoption of French cat Minette, procured to help with the mouse problem in the Child’s Parisienne apartment. While in Paris, Julia’s obsession with cooking is ignited and Minette is her cooking companion, there to taste test and help clean up any cream spillage—in French cooking this a real hazard. When Julia and Paul build a house in Provence, Julia attracts a succession of cats, all with wonderful franglais names like Minimouche, Minouche, le Petit Prince, Whiskey-Minoir, and Minimere. The couple travel back and forth between France and the States while Julia films her cooking show, with Provence and its cats acting as a reprieve from her busy American life. In the early ‘80s, Julia and Paul move back to the States permanently and, though Julia doesn’t adopt another “pouiseiquette,” as she called them, until 2003 at age 91, her love of cats endured. The stories recounted, which mostly revolve around Julia’s various cats and of course bits of news and gossip, reveal a side of Julia and her relationship with Paul passed over by previous books, biographies, and interviews, making Julia’s Cats an intriguing read. It would have been Julia’s 100th birthday this August and this book is a great way to celebrate.—LE

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