Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Julia Child —who would have been 100 years old today — did a lot more for the United States than write Mastering the Art of French Cooking.While the cookbook forever changed the way Americans eat food, Child was also one of the 4,500 women who served in the Office of Strategic Services during the Second World War.
Then Julia McWilliams, she started in Washington working for OSS leader William J. Donovan in the Secret Intelligence division as a research assistant.
She later moved to the Sea Rescue Equipment Section, cooking up a recipe for shark repellent.
The chemicals were coated on torpedoes to fight against the strangely significant problem of sharks investigating and bumping up against the weapons fired at German U-boats, prematurely detonating the torpedo.
From 1944 onward, Child worked in modern-day Sri Lanka and China as Chief of the OSS Registry. She there held top security clearances and knew about every message coming into and leaving the office. She handled classified information related to the invasion of the Malay peninsula.
She received an award for her work that cited her “drive and inherent cheerfulness.”
It was in her time at the OSS that Julia met her husband Paul Child, an agent for the OSS. In 1948 Paul was assigned to the Paris bureau, and the rest is culinary history.
You can see her declassified file here; It makes for a great read, if you skip most of the administrative payroll releases and just dive into the evaluations.
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