Monday – August 15 – would be the 104th birthday of the late, great Julia Child. Though she’s been gone for a dozen years, the statuesque lady with serious kitchen skills and a wicked sense of humor continues to inspire us here at Words with Boards HQ.

Every time we stand over a wood cutting board, knife in hand, gaze lovingly at a stick of butter, or accidentally drop a whole, slippery chicken on the floor, we’re reminded of her fabulous attitude and undeniable joie de vivre. Her famous kitchen might now reside in the Smithsonian – if you haven’t had the chance to check it out, you should – but for Americans who love food, there’s a little Julia everywhere you look.

She was as quotable as anybody in her generation – the lady knew how to impart wisdom in the pithiest of ways. In honor of her birthday, here are ten of our favorite Julia Child quotes:

“People who love to eat are always the best people.”

As people who love food, we can’t help but agree. Some of our favorite times, with our favorite people, have taken place across the dinner table or around a kitchen island. If you’re eating with gusto, you’re all right in our book.

“The measure of achievement is not winning awards. It’s doing something that you appreciate, something you believe is worthwhile.”

Julia Child wasn’t just a great chef; she was also a gutsy, hardworking business woman who made inroads for those who followed. She proved that you can find a career you love and make it a successful one.

“A party without cake is really just a meeting.”

Several of Julia’s quotes – including this one – are the stuff internet memes are made of. She’s right, though. Cakes are important.

“I think every woman should have a blowtorch.”

So do, I, Julia. So do I.

“If you’re afraid of butter, use cream.”

Julia also said, “With enough butter, anything is good.” She was right on both counts. And she was definitely talking about the real stuff. No margarine or I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not for this lady.

“I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food…”

Another classic that, today, seems like it was created to print on beverage napkins. It’s true, though – cooking is fun and it’s even better with a glass (or three) of wine.

“As you get older, you shouldn’t waste time drinking bad wine.”

As you get older, sure. But even when you’re young, go for the good stuff!

“I think careful cooking is love, don’t you? The loveliest thing you can cook for someone who’s close to you is about as nice a valentine as you can give.”

Ultimately, the reason we love food is because it brings people together. When you cook, you put your heart and soul into a dish – even if it’s simple.

“Cooking well doesn’t mean cooking fancy.”

This time of year – when peaches and tomatoes are ripe, corn is plentiful and everywhere you look, herbs are bursting – it’s especially easy to cook well without getting fancy. Sometimes fancy food is nice, but even a simple Tuesday night dinner of chicken and vegetables can be done right.

“Life itself is the proper binge.”

From her childhood in California and dramatic World War II days with the OSS, to Paris a with husband Paul, days spent cooking in the south of France and years in her Cambridge kitchen, Julia Child’s life was one adventure after another. She reminded us that we can always reinvent ourselves and that the best way to live is to take each day by the horns. There are tons of opportunities out there – we just have to take them.

So we do – in the kitchen, at the table, and beyond. Thank you, Julia, for all the inspiration, happy birthday and, as you would say, Bon Appetit!

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