A new biography of Julia Child, Dearie, will come out just in time for her 100th birthday this August. Spoiler alert: Julia was very pro-woman. Of course, she came along at just the right time: Her big break happened in 1963 with the landmark TV show The French Chef, the same year fellow Smith College alum Betty Friedan made headlines with The Feminine Mystique, notes the AP. It was a time, as any Mad Men fan or history scholar would agree, when women were entering the workforce in record numbers and often (gasp!) too busy to cook anything better than quickie meals. “Julia turned women on to the beauty of making a wonderful meal for the family, not just scraping something together,” the bio states.
Her feminism extended beyond the avocado-green home kitchens of the sixties to restaurants, too. “Julia always considered herself a feminist. Always. But not in a fundamentalist sort of way,” says the author, Bob Spitz. “When she got to the States and ate in restaurants, she would march into the kitchen and say, ‘How many women are in here?’” (This mental image is kind of alarming, isn’t it?)
Of course, Julia Child left behind another crucial legacy that transcends gender: She made midday wine-drinking seem not only okay, but necessary.