A life without a cat is a life without sunshine. – Julia Child

I didn’t know Julia Child was a cat lover until I received Minette’s Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat from the publisher. I was utterly charmed by this beautifully illustrated book aimed at children ages 3 and up.

Julia’s Cats: Julia Child’s Life in the Company of Cats by Patricia Barey and Therese Burson brings this little known aspect of Julia Child’s life to light in an engaging and entertaining way. If you weren’t already a fan of Julia Child, you will be after reading this book.

From the book’s prologue: “A reporter once asked Julia Child what she might whip up for her creator when she got to heaven. Julia wasn’t a religious person – she believed heaven was right here on earth, in her own cozy kitchen, hovering over a skillet sizzling with shallots and butter, then sitting down to share a meal with people she loved, a cat wrapped around her ankles, meowing for treats.”

I was, of course, particularly delighted that Julia Child’s introduction to cats began with a tortoiseshell cat named Minette (featured in the childrens’ book mentioned above). Shortly after Julia and her husband Paul arrived in Paris in 1948, Minette showed up on their doorstep. She quickly captured Julia’s heart, and so began a lifelong love affair with cats that was only equaled by her love of food and for her husband.


The book follows Julia’s rise to culinary fame from the early days in France to her return to the United States and the start of her famous cooking show to her final years in California. The book is every bit as joyful and exuberant as Julia Child appeared to be on her famous show, The French Chef,. Julia’s love for her “poussiequettes,” as she called her cats in one of her many “Julia-isms,” comes through on every page.

August 15th would have been Julia Child’s 100th birthday. She died in her sleep at age 92, and she was not alone. She had refused further treatment for an infection following complications from knee surgery. Julia just wanted to be home. The night before she died, she asked her assistant to make a batch of her famous French onion soup. As Julia savored her dinner, “a beloved dinner companion that night was a wild little black-and-white kitten named Minou, who shared Julia’s home in a retirement community near Santa Barbara. Full of feline joie de vivre, Minou was the soul mate who brightened Julia’s days. When she was ready for bed, the kitten curled up in his customary spot on the right side of the pillow. Minou kept watch through the night as Julia’s charmed life ebbed away, where she said it all truly began, in the company of cats.”

Interspersed with lots of photos of Julia and her cats, this book is equal parts charming, delightful, and heart warming. I read the book straight through in one sitting, and I felt like I couldn’t stop smiling the entire time. This book is a treasure that belongs in every cat lover’s library. It also makes a great gift for the cat lovers, food lovers, and Francophiles in your life.

The publisher has generously offered to give one copy of this book to one lucky reader! To enter the giveaway, tell me in a comment why you’d like to win Julia’s Cats. For an additional chance to win, tweet about this giveaway or share on Facebook, and post the link in a separate comment. This giveaway is open to US readers only and ends Friday, August 17.

Patricia Barey and Therese Burson own a media produc­tion company and have written, produced, and directed award-winning programs on a range of subjects. Barey’s program on Chicago as a food mecca won an Emmy. Burson, who holds a PhD in English, has taught creative writing to undergraduates and adults.

This book was sent to me by the publisher. Receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

Photo of Minette by Paul Child, used with the publisher’s permission.

60 Comments on Review and giveaway: Julia’s Cats: Julia Child’s Life in the Company of Cats

  1. I am not one for words but not o ly do I adore Julia Childs but a friend knowing my love for Julia and cats sent me my first framed photo of her shelling pea’s with one of her cats. It is in my kitchen and it reminds me of how lovely life is qhen you have good food and a kitten by your side!

  2. Id love to win because I love books with cats,and cats WITH books, and this one sounds very interesting.ANd my birthday IS this month.Hehehe.Besides right now I cant afford to buy any books so if I get any I will have to win them or borrow them .Its been a Cruel Cruel Summer!

  3. I love both Julia Child and cats. It would be so much fun to read about how cats meant so much to her. Thanks for letting us know about the book!

  4. I love cats, and had no idea Julia was a cat lover. That information just makes me love Julia more. I have Julia’s 2 volume “Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and have cooked my way around the books. The renewal of menus and the PBS rebroadcast of Julias’ cooking show have given me many new tips and appreciation.
    As this review states, I too sleep with my cats to never be alone. I’m glad to hear Julia was not alone at the end of her life.
    I am posting this on FB for an extra entry. Thank you

  5. I just shared this on a separate post on my FB page for an extra chance to win. I love to read, and I think I’d love this because I am a huge Julia Child fan and, of course, I am obsessed with cats. MOL! Thank you!

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