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Larry King Live

Julia Child Dispenses Her 'Kitchen Wisdom'

Aired December 28, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Julia Child is still cooking at 88; and her story is not all spoons and spices. She's next, on LARRY KING LIVE.

Great pleasure to have our special guest, appropriate guest in this holiday season, the wonderful Julia Child; the legendary cook, TV star, best-selling author. Her newest book is "Julia's Kitchen Wisdom, Essential Techniques and Recipes From a Lifetime of Cooking."

And earlier this year Ms. Child became the first United States chef to receive the French government's highest award, the legion of honor.

And it's an honor to have you on this program, finally.

JULIA CHILD, AUTHOR, "JULIA'S KITCHEN WISDOM": It's lovely to be with you again, Larry. I think it was a long time ago...

KING: Long time ago.

CHILD: ... in the '60s maybe.

KING: In the '60s on radio and on television in Miami.

CHILD: That was it.

KING: Long time ago; we were both sprightly then.

CHILD: Well, we're sprightlier now.

KING: Before we get to all of this cooking business, you had an extraordinary young life. You weren't a cook as kid, right, in fact, you didn't like the kitchen.

CHILD: No, I just ate.

KING: You just ate, didn't like -- and you were a basketball player.

CHILD: Well, until they changed the rules, because I'm 6 feet, and when I got to college they decided I was too tall. So they threw the ball in and my career was over.

KING: Oh, you were the jump ball specialist. CHILD: I was the jumping...

KING: That's when they had a jump ball after ever basket.

CHILD: The jumping center, yes.

KING: So you -- where did you play? At what -- did you play at Smith?

CHILD: No, just -- I played, you know, in grade school and boarding school.

KING: And then from there, what did you plan to do with your life? What was your major, what were you going to be?

CHILD: I was going to be a great woman novelist. Then the war came along and I think it's hard for young people today, don't you, to realize that when World War II happened we were dying to go and help our country.

KING: I guess people don't understand that.

CHILD: No, I don't think so.

KING: You were ashamed not to go.

CHILD: Exactly; and I think the Japanese made a great mistake in bombing Pearl Harbor, because we were attacked; we had to save ourselves, didn't we.

KING: They underestimated.

CHILD: They certainly did.

KING: So what did you do with your wish?

CHILD: Well, I went to Washington, as most everyone did. I started out with a terrible job where I just typed little white cards so fast I didn't even go to bathroom. And then I found that wasn't getting me anywhere, so I had some friends in the OSS -- that was Office of Strategic Services.

KING: Precursor of the CIA.

CHILD: Precursor of the CIA. So I got a job there. Again, very menial because when I went to college in the '30s, women could be a nurse or a secretary or a teacher. So I didn't -- I just had a good time at college, I didn't do anything else.

KING: Only 5 percent, I think, of the female population went to college.

CHILD: I think so.

KING: Yes; so then what happened at the OSS?

CHILD: And then at the OSS I was in General Donovan's office.

KING: The famed Wild Bill Donovan.

CHILD: He was wonderful -- doing the files. And then they began sending people abroad, and I knew some day I'd get to Europe, so I volunteered for the Far East. And I got to Salon in Indian China.

KING: In what post?

CHILD: Again, as a file clerk. That was all I was good for. But at least I knew what was going on.

KING: Did you get to do some spying?

CHILD: No, I was always a file clerk -- and said, if you try anything fancy, you're going to be home on the next boat.

KING: But the file clerk had to know a lot of what was going on.

CHILD: We just had to make up a good system and...

KING: But you knew, from filing things, who was where, what was happening.

CHILD: I knew what was happening in everything. But I had a good time, I mean, it was a fascinating war. We had very interesting people.

KING: Boy, did we. You sail on to Sri Lanka.

CHILD: Sri Lanka; and then I went on up to China to Kunming and Chung King, always in the files.

KING: Was that frustrating to you?

CHILD: No, I was -- just felt very luck to go to those places.

KING: Did you know all the agents?

CHILD: No, I didn't because they were all secret and they had secret names; but I could file any document. We made up our own system and -- well, they're fascinating people there. I just thought I was very lucky.

KING: Where were you when the war ended?

CHILD: I was in Kunming, China. I remember when the bomb dropped...

KING: The atomic bomb?

CHILD: ... and nobody knew what it was, really. And everything stopped. It's amazing; about the next day the whole thing was over and we were on our way back, practically.

KING: You were there... CHILD: It was amazing.

KING: ... when Chiang Kai-shek still ran China, then, right?

CHILD: Yes, he did.

KING: And did you get to see a lot of soldiers come through, and...

CHILD: Well, quite a few because we were in the OSS; we were sort of semi-military, I think.

KING: You met your husband, though.

CHILD: I met my husband Paul in Salon.

KING: What was he doing?

CHILD: Well, he was in what they called visual presentation. He was making maps and visual aids and things like that.

KING: What was living like there; I mean, during the war, when you were -- that's where the war was.

CHILD: We were always way back from anything.

KING: So you never were in threat of your life?

CHILD: In Salon we lived in the Queens Hotel, opposite the Sacred Lake, next to the Temple of the Tombs (ph). We were living very nicely there. And then in China, we were in the -- when we were in Chung King we were in, kind of, just a house, where all the girls were housed.

KING: Were you ever in life's danger, do you think.

CHILD: Absolutely not.

KING: Absolutely not. Did you see the coming of Mao?

CHILD: No; we knew very little about what was going on because Roosevelt was not interested in the Far East. He was much more interested in Europe.

KING: You meet Paul there, you get married there in 1946 because the war ends, right? You both come to the states together?

CHILD: And then Paul had grown up in France and he spoke beautiful French. And, at that time, when war was over, we were trying to win Europe to our point of view, so he was sent to Paris.

KING: And that's where you went.

CHILD: And we had just got married and I just started cooking, and I couldn't get over that food, so that's how I got into food.

KING: So you lived in Paris for a long time?

CHILD: Oh, we were there 5 1/2 years; and then we were in Marseille for two years.

KING: She's 88 years young, has a new book out. We'll talk about that book, lots of other things, don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Smell it, and it should not smell fishy, but it should smell of the sea.

CHILD: I think it's totally opposite -- they won't let you smell it, there. You open it up; you smell it, and if it's not good you say, smell this. Take it back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean it just means, again, that you have to find the ingredients that are exactly in season.

CHILD: I can smell the perfume of those mushrooms and it's very, very pleasant.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And again, this is just when you want to eat, there -- one quick tip, just make it, serve it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHILD: We don't care about nutrients, we care about taste.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, but when you can put both together, you know.

CHILD: But it's still a little -- it's not very tender; and it still has a slight bitterness to it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So fold it over, I'm making sure that the lettuce leaves get fully coated. So this is pretty well coated here.

CHILD: We can taste it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Make sure that the dressing is adhering to the lettuce and it tastes good.

CHILD: That's really good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: She's now 34 years old, she's married, she's out of the OSS, she's living in Paris and you are not a cook, right?

CHILD: No, I was just starting to cook.

KING: You didn't cook at all; you knew nothing about cooking?

CHILD: Not much.

KING: What got you interested?

CHILD: Well, my husband had been brought up with very good food because his mother was a wonderful cook, and he had been brought up in France, and I realized that I would have to learn -- and I was very anxious to anyway, and the food was so good over there.

So, I went to the Cordon Bleu, and luckily, was able to get an intensive course with some GIs. We were down in the basement of the building, cooking with the wonderful old chef. So, I was...

KING: GIs went to learn to cook there?

CHILD: Well, you -- after World War II, you got two years free education.

KING: The GI Bill. I didn't know they played for the Cordon Bleu school though.

CHILD: Well, they did. They can take anything they wanted for two years.

KING: Even in Europe?

CHILD: Um-hmm.

KING: All right. How -- we've heard about that school forever. How good is that school?

CHILD: It's very good now, particularly. When it was -- in those days, it was run by a woman, a Madam Blasseur (ph), who was not a very nice woman. And she didn't like Americans, but she liked our money. But we had wonderful chefs. And now it's run by Andre Controle (ph) and their branches in Canada, and even in Pasadena, California.

KING: Where you were born.

CHILD: Where I was born.

KING: What does Cordon Bleu mean?

CHILD: It means blue ribbon. And that was just the blue ribbon for chefs.

KING: And it's become to known as -- that if you're a cordon bleu chef, you are...

CHILD: Yes. I'm not a chef. I think -- I think in this country, we use the term very loosely. I'm a cook and a teacher.

KING: Ah ha, break it down. A chef is what?

CHILD: A chef is the head of, a head of a kitchen with people under him.

KING: You've never had that?

CHILD: No, no.

KING: You've never ran a restaurant?

CHILD: Never have, I've worked in one briefly.

KING: So you're a cook?

CHILD: I'm a cook.

KING: You've cooked for lots of people.

CHILD: Yes, I'm a cook and a teacher.

KING: Teach people how to cook and you cook?

CHILD: Yes.

KING: But you're not. No one's ever paid you to be a chef?

CHILD: No. The reason we called our show "The French Chef," was because it was going to be French cooking, and I was hoping we'd get some French chefs on. And besides it was short, so it would fit in the "TV Guide."

KING: Ha ha. Why are, why are most chefs men?

CHILD: Well, women are coming in now.

KING: Why has it been a men's field?

CHILD: Well, I think, I think, for women, for such a long time, they had to keep house, and do all the laundry and everything like that. So they never really had a chance to get out and be chefs -- and it's hard work.

KING: Because we always associate mom as the cook.

CHILD: Yes, well, the mom of -- the household cook is very different in the restaurant.

KING: Is it a different talent?

CHILD: Well, I didn't realize how different it was until I began working with Jacques Pepan (ph). He's a professional chef, and if you're a professional chef, you have to learn how to do everything very well, and very fast. You can't sort of linger around the way you are -- are at home and take your time over things. KING: Dinner will be in an hour, gang.

CHILD: Yes.

KING: You can't do that.

CHILD: And you can't -- you have to be very fast and very good. So it's quite different. But it's very useful to know their techniques. You know what's interesting, though, in this country, a chef has a real position. But, in France, a chef still an uveryea (ph), a workman.

KING: Really?

CHILD: And a workman is a lower class person, and I think, thank God in this country, we don't have...

KING: We, we treat, but over...

CHILD: ... all that class system.

KING: ... in France the teacher is treated better than we treat our teachers right? professors...

CHILD: Yes.

KING: ... we hold them in high...

CHILD: I think that's very definitely.

KING: What -- did you take it to right away? Were you a good student right away?

CHILD: Well, I was. because I was very anxious to learn, and the food so good. And it was, it was -- I'd been waiting for this career all my life, really. It was just exactly what I wanted and I loved every minute of it.

KING: What makes a good chef?

CHILD: Well, good training, and a desire to do it, and to love -- the love of your work. And you need, you certainly need a certain amount of manual dexterity.

KING: How much of it is inborn?

CHILD: I don't know, like in your business, how much inborn?

KING: Don't know.

CHILD: You don't know.

KING: But however, there are some, right, who just know the right amount of pepper?

CHILD: Well, that's been, and that's also I think having eaten well for a long time, and knowing what things are supposed to taste like. Because if you can't -- if you don't know what good food is supposed to taste like, you can't produce it.

KING: The subject is perfect for holiday season, it's food. Our guest is the legendary cook, TV star, and author of the new book "Julia's Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes for a Lifetime of Cooking.". More with Julia Child after this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, it used to be very popular. I mean, a -- steak dianne, you know. And I haven't seen restaurants for so many years.

CHILD: I think we could put a little more stock in Josh (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, needs more stock.

CHILD: The steak's getting dipped into this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Smells good.

CHILD: It's supposed to be nice and rouge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it is rouge.

CHILD: Now these are really ready to serve.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: My guest is Julia Child. Her husband, Paul, passed away at the age of what?

CHILD: Ninety-two.

KING: Ninety-two. The Childs do live a long time. There are no Child children, so Julia carries on the tradition with that wonderful name.

CHILD: Well, we eat well, and have a good time, Larry.

KING: All right, lots of thing to talk about, and from someone who's a novice and who knows nothing about cooking. OK. Does a chef have to like -- or a cook have to like, everything they make?

CHILD: Well, if they don't like what they doing, it won't turn out well.

KING: Well, what I mean -- let's say you're a great chef, but you don't like veal. Personally, you don't like the taste of veal. It just doesn't appeal to you. Can you cook good veal?

CHILD: Well, you could, but that would be unlikely if you were a great cook. KING: So you have to like everything?

CHILD: Well, I think, pretty much so. And if you didn't like it, you would cook something else. Though, if you are in restaurant, you would be forced to do what they wanted.

KING: So, you would be in tough shape.

CHILD: You'd be in tough shape.

KING: But does...

CHILD: But I think...

KING: But does a home cook have to like everything she cooks?

CHILD: I think, for the home cook, you can cook what you want, so it's quite a different thing. You are not forced into anything. But I think that the culinary arts -- it's a wonderful career now, because you're with people who just love what they're doing. And everybody knows everybody. Or knows about everybody. We have one or two sour apples, but on the whole, the restaurant chefs and cooking teachers and cookbook writers -- we all know each other, and it's a wonderful...

KING: Is there a lot of jealousy in the field?

CHILD: No. Well, there -- with some of the...

KING: I mean, like, you got famous. Do a lot of people get bugged by that?

CHILD: No.

KING: You haven't seen it.

CHILD: Oh, I have seen just a little bit of it. But on the whole, everybody supports everybody. And it's wonderful.

KING: How did you get on to television?

CHILD: Well, it was really kind of a mistake. After our first book, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" came out, luckily for me...

KING: So, you're now back in the States?

CHILD: I was back in the States. And it came out just at the right time: the Kennedy's were in the White House, and we had a wonderful French chef, Rene Verdoun (ph).

KING: Remember that name.

CHILD: Remember his name. And everything they did was news. And at that time, this was...

KING: Whatever Jackie tasted, ate -- whatever they cooked, you knew what they had.

CHILD: This was in the early '60s. And at that time, people had more time, and I think there were not two people working the family. People were doing a lot more cooking.

KING: So your book came out. It was a hit.

CHILD: It was a hit right away. And public television was then called educational television.

KING: Correct.

CHILD: Mostly talking heads. And they wanted to liven it up a little more, and get more audience. So they got an art show and a science show, and they asked me if I would like to do a cooking show.

And so Paul and I said fine. So we did 13 shows that were on -- old tape. And it turned out, that there really was an audience there, so that was (UNINTELLIGIBLE). The first one was in February, 1963.

KING: And took off right away, though?

CHILD: Took off right away.

KING: I mean, everyone kind of quickly knew Julia Child on -- you were the first big name on Education TV. Were you there with Mr. Rodgers, same time?

CHILD: Oh, I was. Yes, I was on his show once. He was darling.

KING: A great man.

CHILD: But at that time, people were really interested in food and there wasn't any other cooking program at all.

KING: But a lot of it was also, you agree, your personality. Your unique voice; people imitated it. They do you on "Saturday Night Live," We'll talk about that later. I mean, the high pitch; that unique approach to food that you took.

CHILD: Well, I'm sort of a ham, Larry, so that helps.

KING: You liked it?

CHILD: I loved it and had a good time. It was like, again, like a big family. We all ate what we cooked and just had a good time.

KING: You had an audience?

CHILD: Sometimes we had an audience for fund-raising.

KING: Did the things ever go wrong?

CHILD: Oh...

(CROSSTALK) KING: I mean, you did live television.

CHILD: Oh, many times, but at the very beginning, we were on a shoestring. I think I got $50 per show and we had two cameras. We didn't stop at all, and if something fell on the floor, it had to stay there. The viewers -- a lot of people would say, well, I saw you pick up that chicken and put it back on table -- which never happened at all. it just happened I was flipping a potato pancake and it went into the stove.

KING: How did you come -- let me pick that up. We'll a break and come back. How did you come to even write the book? Our guest is Julia Child, who started cooking late and hasn't stopped since. She is 88 years young; has a new book out. We'll talk about that book, lots of other things. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, NBC'S "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Welcome.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I'm Julia Child. Today, we're going to make a holiday feast, la fete holiday (ph), and we're going to start with hard bone chicken or pollar demi de fosee (ph). I'm getting a fine, fat roasting chicken like this one. First, remove giblets -- and you really should save the giblets. They make a fine stock for soup or you save the liver, and fry it up with some onions for a little snack or if you have a number of livers you can make a lovely liver pate or perhaps a delicious liverwurst, which you can spread on a cracker, a Ritz cracker, a saltine...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened?

CHILD: Well, there all of that garlic. You really would go out a little farther.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Darling...

CHILD: Now...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An Englishman. I think I've just been violated,

CHILD: I didn't know it was that easy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with Julia Child. You got good grades at Cordon Bleu, right? I mean, you were a -- they knew you were good.

CHILD: I don't know -- I don't know. I didn't get along with Madame Grassar (ph) at all.

KING: But you hooked up with some French cooks.

CHILD: Oh, I hooked up with -- yes. With a wonderful chef Max Bugnard who was a great friend of ours and we had a great pastry chef. Then when I -- we started in giving cooking classes there in Paris, and I got my chef Max to come and help do -- I mean to be the chef for some of our classes.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: People paid and came to see cooking classes. And how did you get the book?

CHILD: Well, my two colleagues, Simone Beck and Louisa Bertholle had started a cookbook already on French cooking for the American kitchen, and they had a collaborator and he died, much to my delight. So, I took I took over. We had a contract with a publisher for $75 dollars. I didn't like the publisher, so we didn't pay any attention to that. And, then we had a friend -- do you remember Bernard De Voto, the great historian?

KING: No.

CHILD: His wife Avis was a friend of ours, and she managed to interest Houghton Mifflin in our books and we got $250 contract, and took us about eight or nine years and they finally got a 600-page manuscript on French sauces and French poultry, and this, if you wanted to make a duck sauce for a pressed duck, I don't know those great French dishes, you had to have a strangled duck, which is not easy to find.

KING: Or to do.

CHILD: Or to -- I don't know about doing it. But, if you didn't have the strangled duck you had to have the blood in the carcass so that you could make the sauce. You could go to the slaughterhouse and get some pig's blood and use that sauce.

KING: Fakery.

CHILD: That was the kind of thing that Houghton Mifflin didn't think people were going to take to.

KING: But, the book took off, though?

CHILD: Oh, then we went. They said they didn't want the book, so our friend Avis, who was a friend of Al Knopf, managed to sell it to Knopf. So, they've been my publisher since.

KING: You mentioned a pastry chef. Is that a different art?

CHILD: Entirely, just entirely. Pastry chef is different thing, and a boullangier, a bread -- a baker is different from a pastry chef.

KING: So, you could be great pastry chef and an ordinary chef in other areas. You wouldn't even do it if you were a great pastry chef.

CHILD: Well, many people feel that it's a good idea to start out as a pastry chef because it makes you be very exact. So if you're going to start, you could start with pastry. And then go on into cooking and you'd be a regular, a better regular chef.

KING: And what's the difference in bread?

CHILD: Boullangier, he makes those beautiful big French loaves, and croissants and everything else, it's quite different from pastry because it's yeast rising. When we -- yeast and butter. When we did baking show, and we'd get the bread and the stuff all risen and just ready to go and then the director would say "cut."

KING: Down it would come.

CHILD: Down it would come.

KING: Did you have a favorite that you liked to cook?

CHILD: Oh, I don't know. I loved -- I'm not so much of a dessert chef, but I love making puff pastry and I love making bread. I think I'm proudest really of having mastered making French baguettes or French bread in the home oven because nobody had done that before.

KING: You can do it at home?

CHILD: You can do it at home.

KING: Are you a tough critic when you eat out?

CHILD: Yes, but I don't say anything. Do you?

KING: No.

CHILD: That's different, though.

KING: No, but you make the chef nervous? Do you think.

CHILD: I don't think so. I think that a good chef is delighted to have someone who's interested in food come in to the restaurant, I would think.

KING: Why are the French the best?

CHILD: Well, because French -- to France, the food a national sport, I think. Good eating. Once you -- I think I love go into a French restaurant at noontime, and watch two men come in, carefully going over the list and carefully talking to waiter and to the wine waiter. They take it very seriously. It's always nice so see.

KING: Does anyone in France diet? CHILD: They don't have to because they don't eat these great big quantities. You know, we have our American Institute of Wine and Food and our motto is, a very good one of: Small helpings, no seconds, a little bit of everything, no snacking, and have a good time. But if you follow that, you're perfectly fine.

KING: You're sure -- let me pick up on that. Our guest is Julia Child. We're going to talk about Julia's "Kitchen Wisdom," her newest book. She's been a major figure in the cooking scene in this country for over 40 years. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's important that you butter is really cold or else you get -- it will break and it will look like drawn butter instead.

Now I'm going to take these claws and put them back, kind of, on top. The sauce can be anywhere from this color to kind of a pink. Just spoon that all over this lobster. It comes down to lobster with butter, which is a great tradition.

CHILD: Well, it's not a dish you're going to eat every day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, this is not for every day. This is special.

CHILD: If you're going to do it, do the whole hog.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: By the way, Julia Child is going to write a memoir on her and Paul's days in France.

Napoleon created the award, the Legion of Honor in 1802. Other American recipients include Robert Parker, Norman Schwarzkopf, Jerry Lewis and our guest, Julia Child. It's just a tremendous honor to get that.

CHILD: Well, I'm awfully pleased for our profession because, as I said, to...

KING: Chefs don't get that.

CHILD: Well, the cooking people are workmen; they're lower class people in Europe. If you work with your hands, unless you're a surgeon, you're the working class.

KING: You mean chefs don't make a lot of money.

CHILD: Well, a few of them do, like Paul Bercuse (ph) and a few of those people; but they don't make the money that they make here. And a lot of them love to come here because they're respected and they're received as... KING: And restaurants try to steal them away.

CHILD: Yes; and then, also it's the -- being in the culinary arts has become an honorary -- an honorable profession now.

KING: What do you think of Wolfgang Puck, by the way?

CHILD: Oh, love him; he's a great -- he's a good friend.

KING: The best-known American restaurateur.

CHILD: Well, he's a lovely fellow, too.

KING: And he loves cooking.

CHILD: He loves -- well, he loves everything about it, and he just has a new book out, also, which is a very nice one.

KING: Can you really read Julia Child, go to restaurants, and lose weight or maintain good weight -- low cholesterol? Look, can you eat in France and avoid sauces?

CHILD: Well, if -- you don't have to avoid them. The thing is, I think as we started of saying small helpings and no seconds and no snacking and a little bit of everything. In other words, you should eat a little bit of everything. But if you're going to pack it in and overeat you're just going to be fat and unhealthy.

KING: So you think you can eat a cream sauce?

CHILD: Absolutely, but you don't have to eat big dollops of it; just have a taste of it. I think, if you have a wonderful dish, even if it's loaded with all kinds of calories and things, have a taste of it. Know what it's supposed to taste like. You don't have to shovel it in.

KING: Have Americans gotten better at appreciating good food.

CHILD: Oh, yes; oh, yes. Well look at the wonderful restaurants we have now and the very excellent chefs, and the good schools.

KING: In many cities, too, you'll find a great restaurant in Wichita, Kansas and Des Moines, Iowa have great restaurants. That's spread.

CHILD: I hope so. And sometimes -- I remember going -- we had to go to a funeral up in Maine and we had to stay in an auto court and we had to eat up there. And it was awful food, I must say; even the breakfast was bad.

KING: What do you think of McDonald's?

CHILD: Well, I love McDonald's.

KING: Burger King?

CHILD: Burger King -- I think Burger King's fries are better because they're crisper.

KING: Julia; what a shock to learn -- but you can appreciate a hamburger?

CHILD: Oh, of course. I love hamburger, don't you? I love a...

KING: I don't eat meat anymore...

CHILD: You do!

KING: Well, very little.

CHILD: Well, you look healthy.

KING: Well, I try to eat...

CHILD: As I always say, read meat and gin are good things to eat.

KING: Have you ever changed any of your dietary habits?

CHILD: No.

KING: No -- you eat the sauces, you eat...

CHILD: Well, I don't eat a great deal. I stop to eat out a lot; I eat maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of what I'm served. I think the portions here are too big, don't you?

KING: They're very big.

CHILD: I went to a steak restaurant up in the Santa Barbara area, and it was so big that I had a doggy bag and it gave me two more meals out of it. That's much too much to eat, don't you think?

KING: Is wine essential?

CHILD: Oh, yes, I think wine is lovely.

KING: Why?

CHILD: Well, I think it relaxes you; I think it's very good for you, and it's lovely...

KING: It's a mate for food, right?

CHILD: As a mate for food, yes.

KING: Does it...

CHILD: And it's healthy.

KING: Do we know -- understand the palate? For example, in your studies, do you know why I may like eggs and you don't?

CHILD: Well I think that's something personal, isn't it, that's something...

KING: We don't know why, though, right?

CHILD: No, we don't. it depends on...

KING: I have a little son, he doesn't like bananas. How could you not like bananas? You've got to be crazy.

CHILD: And there's -- I know -- I have a niece who really grew up a vegetarian, she just never liked meat at all.

KING: Never liked it?

CHILD: Never liked it; it was something in her, I think.

KING: When we come back, we're going to talk about this "Kitchen Wisdom" of yours.

CHILD: Fine.

KING: The use of the word "wisdom," and what it's like to receive the French government's highest award.

Our guest is Julia Child, who keeps on keeping on; America's best known chef on the tube. We'll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHILD: One thing, Jacques (ph), when you get it so high it's hard, really, to chew it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looks beautiful.

CHILD: Look at that; isn't that nice?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And now the best part of it...

CHILD: Is the eating.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eating, yes.

CHILD: OK.

That's good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's great.

CHILD: Real American fare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHILD: I've never had a crab boiler before, and it's about time, isn't it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, indeed.

CHILD: There's your spice bag and the potatoes. I'm amazed that the artichokes would cook; they look absolutely done, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think they're actually cooked near perfection.

CHILD: This is marvelous.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with Julia Child. I mentioned the name during the break, and I haven't brought up: Emeril on The Food Network.

CHILD: Emeril Lagasse; he's wonderful.

KING: How good a cook is he?

KING: He's a wonderful cook -- well he's had fine training. He worked at the Commanders Palace in New Orleans, and he's a wonderful cook. See, I think that when the camera gets on him he really shines. And I think people might not take him very seriously, but if you look carefully at what he's doing, he knows exactly what he's doing.

KING: Well, Commanders Palace is a great restaurant.

CHILD: Great restaurant; and then he has two very fine restaurants in New Orleans. Have you been there...

KING: Alice Waters? No.

CHILD: Alice Waters is a lovely person. She's had a great effect on American cuisine.

KING: Martha Stewart.

CHILD: She's great...

KING: You like her?

CHILD: ... well, she's a real pro. Well, I've been on with her two or three times and she really knows what she's doing, and she's tough.

KING: Is she a cook?

CHILD: She's a cook -- with everything she does she does very, very well.

KING: What's the hardest -- when you're learning to be a cook, what's the hardest thing?

CHILD: To pay attention to what you're doing and to remember it so that it's part of your personal computer. So that you're learning and storing up everything every time you do it.

KING: Do you remember all your recipes?

CHILD: No; would that I did.

KING: So you have to refer to them?

CHILD: You have to refer to them.

KING: Does the great chef, as well, in the kitchen?

CHILD: Depends on how good of a memory -- and I think it depends, also, on how often you do it. Because sometimes you do something and it's just second nature.

KING: And there's always -- there's always specials of the day, right? That they're being creative with? The mussels came in today...

CHILD: In a good restaurant, you hope that there are going to be specials, because you don't want to have them -- the same menu every day.

KING: All right, tell me about "Julia's Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes."

CHILD: Well, that -- it's a little kitchen handbook to have, if you're in the kitchen, and you're going to make -- say, that you've gone up to Maine in the summertime, and you want to make a fish chowder, and you can't remember, for 18 people -- you can't remember how many onions, potatoes, and how much fish you need. You just look it up, it gives you a quick answer.

Or you are making mayonnaise, and it's turned; or you are making hollandaise, and it's turned -- how to make it back. Or what are the proportions if you're going to make a quiche?

KING: Can you be a good cook for four, and not good for 40?

CHILD: Really, mass cooking is an art form all its own.

KING: Tell me about that.

CHILD: That is not the same.

KING: You've got to know volume and...

CHILD: You have to know volume and quality, and what will work, and what will keep, and what you can do ahead. I think, mass cooking is a very different art form all its own.

KING: Now, fellows who served in the Army, Navy, and Marines have been unhappy, often -- mass cooking.

CHILD: With the food.

KING: Is that because someone is just taken out of the ranks, and made a cook?

CHILD: Probably, because the -- you can't -- you can't just do it without knowing what you are doing at all.

KING: I'll tell you what has good food: submarines.

CHILD: Oh, is it?

KING: Oh, you better have good field on a nuclear sub. You're out for 40 days.

CHILD: That is true. If you -- have you been on a sub?

KING: I was on a nuclear sub. You'd kill the chef.

CHILD: When was that?

KING: A couple months ago. I went down on the USS Ohio.

CHILD: Heavens. How long were you down?

KING: About three hours. It was a lot of fun. You'd like it.

CHILD: That Russian sub wasn't much fun.

KING: No, it happened soon after that. But the food is delicious.

CHILD: Well, good.

KING: On a great -- you know, you go down on a sub, they've got to have...

CHILD: Have you been on one of those oil platforms outside of -- outside of Santa Barbara.

KING: No. Have you?

CHILD: I have. You always hear that the food is so wonderful. It just is, there is a lot of it. It is very hearty, big food.

KING: What's the hardest type -- thing to cook? What defies cooks the most? What type of food is the most difficult, to Julia Child?

CHILD: Well, I think a lot of the desserts can be quite tricky. Particularly, if you are dealing with egg yokes and things. And egg whites, and things where you have to fold, say -- fold beaten egg parts into a mass, of doing it correctly and then, timing it correctly.

KING: How do they make those cakes with the 15 layers? How do -- I know nothing about this.

CHILD: Well, you just make a whole lot of cakes, and then pile them one on top of each other. KING: There's no big secret.

CHILD: Well, I said in the little book that, once you mastered a few basic cake recipes and fillings and frostings, it's really an assembly job, unless you have all the stuff, and you know how to do it, you put it together anyway you want.

KING: Julia Child is the guest. The book is "Julia's Kitchen Wisdom." We hope you're having a happy holiday season. We'll be right back with the master of the kitchen after this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHILD: Today Jacques and I are doing desserts. And Jacques is doing comp sesert (ph). And I'm here to see that he doesn't burn down the house.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We are back with Julia Child. Now let's discuss, young people watching, mothers watching with daughters and sons about a career in this business.

CHILD: It is a wonderful career. I think you need really good training. And luckily, we have a number of really good culinary schools, of course, there is the CIA in New York and one in San Francisco.

KING: You don't mean the CIA like...

CHILD: No, the Culinary Institute of America. But you can really get very fine training now.

KING: I know that Cornell is famous for its hotel school.

CHILD: My -- with Cornell that is hotel management, but I don't think that you can be a good...

KING: But are there good colleges with cooking departments?

CHILD: Not very many.

KING: Where do you go?

CHILD: You go to the CIA, or I think that Michigan has a good one. But you have to, I think, if you are going to go in as a career you need a good liberal education first, then you go into specialization, and the more you can work in restaurants to perfect your skills, the better, but I think that culinary school is useful because you get the whole curriculum. It is a long training period, it is at least 10 at least 10 years.

KING: Why is it worth it? CHILD: Because it is a great profession to be in. You are with people who love what they are doing, and, it is like a big family. Everybody knows everybody, and, if you really go into it the right way. you just have a wonderful...

KING: Can you work your way up? Can you learn a lot as a bus boy or a waitress.

CHILD: You can start as a bus boy or a waitress, then you are going to get into the kitchen. You want to start from the beginning, from the dish washing on up, to the peeling, and everything like.

Jacques Pipan (ph), for instance. you know him, he started out as just a young teenager, he said that he was in a restaurant, he was watching them, and peeling and doing everything like that, and just now you get up to stove and you get going. He felt, gosh, I haven't done it yet. But he found he watched it enough so he knew what he was doing.

What is interesting with him too because he started in so young, he never got a formal, liberal education, until he came over here, as a young man and he put himself through Columbia, he got himself a degree and then he got himself a masters. He was going into -- this was in the '60s, he wanted to get a Ph.D, but the faculty said there is no such discipline as gastronomy.

KING: The rewards are...

CHILD: That you love what you are doing...

KING: And the joy of seeing people smile.

CHILD: Yes, and you are with people that -- you are with an awfully nice group of people.

KING: You like the people?

CHILD: I love them, they are my best friends.

KING: Why? What makes them special? Well, they've got to please people every day.

CHILD: Yeah.

KING: That puts them on the spot.

CHILD: And then they are fun to be with. And then, if you are with food people, that is all you talk about.

KING: Also, they don't get much, the food person, doesn't get much of a second chance. If I go to the restaurant, and don't like it, I don't go back -- I have got too many choices.

CHILD: That is very true. When in a restaurant, the front of the house is just as important as the back of the house. Because if you are not received nicely, and they are sort of snippy to you, you are not going to enjoy your food, are you?

KING: Is there a way to cook for children?

CHILD: Indeed, there is.

KING: Make them go with a better appreciation than just fast foods.

CHILD: The American Institute of Wine and Food is having a program called "Days of Taste," in which a chef will go into a school with fourth and fifth graders, and they will do some taste testing, like sweet, sour, bitter, and so forth. And then another day, they will go out and see how the food is grown. Then they will go to store and buy it. Then they will go to the restaurant, and the chef will cook them something for them.

But I think children have to be know what good food is supposed to taste like, that there is life beyond pizzas and hamburgers.

KING: In your travels, have you run into countries, where food isn't good? England had that reputation for a while.

CHILD: Yes, I think, if you are out in the country in England you can get some pretty bad food. But you can here, too.

KING: But London now has good restaurants, good chefs.

CHILD: London, much better; in this country, we have so many good ones and some bad too.

KING: You like all kinds? Do you like Oriental cooking?

CHILD: I love -- we were in China during World War II, I love good Chinese food. And I'm getting to like Japanese food. We have two or three restaurants in Santa Barbara that have very good Japanese food.

KING: Our guest is the wonderful Julia Child. Her new book is "Julia's Kitchen Wisdom." We wind up our show and talk about the legion of honor right after this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHILD: We hope -- this has been sitting in ice, now, it is still warm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is still quite hot, yes.

CHILD: When you are making something like that, think of all the problems, that may occur.

That is lovely.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: We are back with the delightful Julia Child, who keeps on keeping on. The legion of honor, how did you find out you had won that?

CHILD: I think Jacques Pipan called me up and said: I know that we have two other French chefs in Roger Hassigay (ph) and J.J. Penbla (ph), and the had all been working on getting it for me for several years. So I was told that, and then we just had a wonderful evening at the Meridian Hotel in Boston, and they had all of my favorite things. We had caviar, and oysters, and fois gras.

KING: Is that where they presented it?

CHILD: They presented it.

KING: In Boston, not in Paris.

CHILD: Not in Paris. So it was a lovely occasion. We had the French counsel general and other French people. It was a wonderful occasion. All of my family was there, and we just had a good time.

KING: They give you a medal.

CHILD: A medal.

KING: What an honor.

CHILD: I could wear a little tiny ribbon.

KING: I have seen that ribbon.

CHILD: If you are in France everyone would know what it was, and people would think...

KING: Very small.

CHILD: Very tiny, just a little.

KING: Men we're on the lapel, and it tells you that you are one of a few.

CHILD: I am particularly proud for our profession, they have recognized the culinary arts, and that is what we all need.

KING: Do you ever think of -- you're 88 now.

CHILD: Yes.

KING: Good health, reasonably good health.

CHILD: Except for my legs, otherwise I am fine.

KING: Do you keep on working?

CHILD: Oh, yes, I'm doing another book, I haven't started it yet. KING: Why? Why do you keep on working?

CHILD: Well, I like to work, I love my profession, I like to cook, and you keep right on working.

KING: I do.

CHILD: It is just fun. It is my life.

KING: Do you still cook a lot?

CHILD: I cook much more in Cambridge, where I have a big kitchen. When I am in Santa Barbara I have a little kitchen, a tiny one. So I don't cook as much as I did.

KING: Do you experiment?

CHILD: Yes, I have to. Well, not as much as I did, because when I was on the TV I had to do everything. All lots of baking.

KING: How many years were you on?

CHILD: I started in '63. My last series, which was two years ago, so it has been on a long time.

KING: Long time. For television, it is historic.

When you experiment, what enters your mind? Do all good chefs experiment?

CHILD: You have to, like I remember, for instance, I went to the restaurant La Gono (ph) in New York, some years ago.

KING: I know it, up on Madison.

CHILD: And they had a wonderful strawberry souffle, and I tried it and it worked perfectly. Then the next time I tried it it wouldn't work at all. I did about 28 versions.

I can remember one of the last ones. I thought that it worked best in a kind of a merengue, and I put it in the oven, and it went up so high that it went through the top.

KING: Do you get embarrassed?

CHILD: Well, this wasn't in public.

And then my friend Ann Willan (ph), who runs the La Verun (ph) cooking school, said we will put it in a bigger dish. That was a solution because the dish was too wide, the souffle couldn't rise up very high.

KING: Do you ever invest a dish?

CHILD: Yes, I think one always does, but when you say real invention it is really, creating a different. KING: Waldorf salad was an invention.

CHILD: French puff pastry was invention, but it probably came from a whole lot of other things, and suddenly there was a large background. I don't think many people invent it out of thin air.

KING: IN my old eating days of bad habits, eclairs were big. Are they still big.

CHILD: Not as much, but they are awfully good. My dessert for the Legion of Honor dinner was perfiterolls (ph) -- little eclairs.

KING: Powder-puff eclairs with the chocolate on top.

CHILD: And chocolate on top. That was wonderful.

KING: I eat that, and I drive to Mount Sinai Hospital, and wait, I take a number.

CHILD: But you can have just a little bite, Larry, you don't have to...

KING: Just a little bite.

CHILD: .. don't have to pack it in.

KING: The trouble is, when it tastes so good, can you eat one cashew?

CHILD: Yes, you have to do.

KING: You can eat one cashew?

CHILD: I can.

KING: You can eat one potato chip?

CHILD: That is hard, but I can.

KING: How about a dry roasted peanut? One.

CHILD: No, that I have to have two of. But chew it thoroughly.

KING: That is right, get the most out of it. You have to watch -- are you in favor of these anti-sugar things?

CHILD: I am not in favor of any kind of nut diets at all. I am favor of just good eating a little bit of everything.

KING: Eat smart.

May you last forever, Julia.

CHILD: Same to you, dear.

KING: Julia Child, what a lady, cook, television star, best- selling author, awarded the Legion of Honor from France. Her latest book is "Julia's Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking." We hope we have made your Christmas and holiday festivities a little bit better. May the smell of the kitchen be a little warmer.

For Julia Child, yours truly, Larry King in Los Angeles, happy holidays. See you tomorrow night. Good night.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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