Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Commemorates Julia Child’s 100th Birthday with As Always, Julia

BOSTON -- On August 15, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will celebrate the life of Julia Child on what would have been her 100th birthday, with the bestselling As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child & Avis Devoto released in paperback in time for this special anniversary. Child, a beloved chef, author, and television personality known for introducing the American public to French cuisine, devoted her life and career to revising timeless cooking methods and recipes for an audience interested in learning the art of good cooking.

Covering the nine-year span from 1952 to 1961, this riveting collection contains more than 200 letters exchanged between Child and Devoto, her friend and unofficial literary agent. Child’s letters reveal the depth of her wit and humor, her personal musings on her adventures in France, and the hopes for what would eventually become her bestselling cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Readers will no doubt be swept up by her love of French culture, the “wonderful, sweet” qualities of the French people, and the desire to introduce everyone in the United States to the tastes and cuisines of France. Excerpts from Child’s letters include:

On herself: “6 ft. plus, weight 150 to 160. Bosom not as copious as she would wish but has noticed that Botticelli bosoms are not big either, according to husband. Freckles.”

On Marseille and speaking French: “My this is a fun city… all this sun, and the shouting and the gaiety… and thank god I can talk French. It would be dreadful if one couldn’t make jokes and pass the time of day…  I am fluent, but I have an accent all right… but I don’t care how many mistakes I make as long as I can talk and talk and talk.”

On the French: “I must say I do love French people, and had no idea they would be as they are. I though the women would all be tiny little things, too chic for words; and the men pinching everybody, and little too. I was not prepared for this wonderful, earthy, human, sweet, gay naturalness. Cozy is the only word that expresses my feelings.”
On her hopes for the book: “I immodestly think could become a classic on French cooking, as it is a complete revising of classical methods and recipes in view of making them easier to do and bringing them up to date… addressed to an audience who likes to cook, wants to learn how, and is interested in good cooking and that is not a mass audience.”

Editor’s note: Joan Reardon is available for interviews.  If interested, please contact Christina Mamangakis at 212-420-5824 or christina.mamangakis@hmhpub.com.

About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Trade & Reference Division
With nearly two-centuries of award-winning history, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Trade and Reference Division continues to publish some of the most renowned novels, non-fiction, children’s books and reference works, Mariner Books trade paperbacks and ebooks. Its distinguished author list includes eight Nobel Prize winners, 47 Pulitzer Prize winners, 13 National Book Award winners, and more than 100 Caldecott, Newbery, Printz, and Sibert Medal and Honor recipients. HMH publishes such distinguished authors as Philip Roth, Temple Grandin, Tim O'Brien, and Umberto Eco, as well as The Best American series®, The American Heritage® family of dictionaries, The Gourmet Cookbook and other culinary classics, the Peterson Field Guides and books by J.R.R. Tolkien. Along with a celebrated lineup of children’s authors, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group is the publisher of some of the best-loved children's books and book characters including Curious George, The Little Prince and The Polar Express. For more information, visit www.hmhbooks.com.