Judith Jones was a young editor at Alfred A. Knopf minding her own business one spring day in 1960 when a senior editor asked her to take a look at a massive cookbook manuscript submitted by three women--one American and two French. Another publishing house had already rejected it, asking: "Who wants to know this much about French cooking?"
"And I said, 'I do,'" she tells me now. She took the book home, cooked from it and thought it "a miracle."
The book would ultimately be titled Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and the American author was a woman named Julia Child. It's no hyperbole to say that, together and separately, Julia Child and Judith Jones changed the way America ate. Following Julia's meticulous instructions, my friends and I and millions like us dared to cook things we'd never tasted, never even heard of, probably mispronounced. Jones went on to publish a library of classic books by a string of outstanding teacher-cooks who talked us through the mysteries of other exotic cuisines. Gastronomically, Jones lured us into becoming world citizens.