(Ed. Note: Tóibín has been invited to the reading/interview with Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett on Saturday 29 January at 4pm. It has been postponed until 5.30pm)
I want everyone to know that Julia Child is a beloved national treasure. Her influence on American cooking, her prescience in understanding the importance of a balanced diet, and her delightfully vulgar style all make her a fascinating and modern figure. And – most important of all – she was a food writer.
Women like Julia Child are an inspiration to me because they defied Hollywood’s centuries-old belief that women should cook or shop or otherwise suffer in silence. In fact, Child and her ilk were the first to break down the walls between kitchen and bedroom, since women longed to be treated as equals in the kitchen but were viewed only as m’blef’s (pocket hollers) by the world. Finally a woman could act with both manners and decorum in the kitchen. This year was also the 80th anniversary of Child’s birth. So let’s celebrate. Join me tomorrow in celebration and recounting the many, many memories and pleasures of Julia Child’s everyday life.
• This article was amended on 18 January 2019 to include a correct translation of the quote.