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Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson serves up the best info and tips on Northwest food, cooking, dining and restaurants.

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August 14, 2008 8:44 AM

The spy who came into our kitchen

Posted by Nancy Leson

The big news in the food world this morning? Julia Child was a spy!

No!

This certainly won't be news to members of my book club, who recently read Julia's memoir, "My Life in France" and later discussed it over Julia's recipes and plenty of wine (I made moules marinieres). We figured that, having met her husband Paul when they were both working for the OSS in Ceylon (and later China), surely, once they got to France, the missus was doing more than just throwing dinner parties in their Paris flat on the "Roo de Loo."

Nor will it surprise reporter Susan Stamberg, who filed a 2002 NPR report regarding the exhibit "Clandestine Women: The Untold Stories of Women in Espionage," in which she quotes the curator of The National Women's History Museum, noting:

"Decades before becoming a famous chef, [Child] worked for the Office of Strategic Services. (The OSS was the predecessor to the CIA.) She was assigned to solve a problem for U.S. naval forces during World War II: Sharks would bump into explosives that were placed underwater, setting them off and warning the German U-boats they were intended to sink. `So... Julia Child and a few of her male compatriots got together and literally cooked up a shark repellent,' that was used to coat the explosives, McCarthy says."

Had Dan Ackroyd know that, he'd have donned his Julia Child get-up and used a Shark-O-Matic in his dead-on SNL tribute.

So, she can fry, make pie and spy. Shocked? Not me -- seen (out of focus, notebook in hand) spying on her at Sur la Table in this 1995 Seattle Times file-photo:


James Bond has nothing on Julia: She was a spy, yes. What's more, she could expertly wield a deadly weapon to honor her native country. And if you need proof, watch this telling video.


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Posted by AVID

10:14 AM, Aug 14, 2008

Julia's "Chicken Kiev" will never seem the same again. ; -)

Posted by CindyW

10:35 AM, Aug 14, 2008

LOLing. Thanks, AVID. You gave me a big laugh this morning. :)

Posted by Christina

1:46 PM, Aug 14, 2008

Oooo, maybe Julia belongs on a postage stamp! The book Nancy mentions is so much fun to read. Seattle Public Library has it in their collection.

Posted by Kris

3:07 PM, Aug 14, 2008

She should have put out a recipe book 'From the Oven With Love' or perhaps 'A License to Cook'

Posted by coffeeboss

3:12 PM, Aug 14, 2008

I imagine Julia Child as a sort of Ninja Super-Spy, wielding her impressive set of large, very sharp knives. This is a great story!

Posted by AVID

3:15 PM, Aug 14, 2008

Hahaha. That's a good one Kris.
How about, "The Pie Who Loved Me" ?

Posted by AVID

3:43 PM, Aug 14, 2008

Sorry Sorry. One more.:
"Doughnuts are Forever"

Posted by Kris

4:18 PM, Aug 14, 2008

HA, nice AVID, I definitely like the Doughnuts one. I was also thinking 'The Spy Who Loved Cooking'

Or from one of my favorite Tom Clancy books 'The Cook and the Kremlin'

Posted by Kris

4:25 PM, Aug 14, 2008

OH, Ok a few more I cooked up earlier...

'Stoveraker' 'On Her Majesty's Secret Recipe' 'Live and Let Rise' 'Dr. Dough' 'The Woman With the Golden Whisk' 'For Your Tastebuds Only' 'The Child Supremacy' 'Kitchen Impossible' 'Get Child'

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Listen to Nancy at 5:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. during Morning Edition, at 4:40 p.m. during All Things Considered and again the following Saturday at 8:30 a.m. during Weekend Edition on KPLU 88.5.

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