Julia Child’s legendary editor, Judith Jones, is cooking for a new companion—her Havanese pup. Here’s why that’s not as crazy as it sounds.
As I sit at Judith Jones's farmhouse table in rural Vermont, it’s hard to say who is most eager for lunch—me or Mabon, the yappy white Havanese pawing at Jones’s leg. My venerable host is braising grass-fed beef shanks, and the aroma of meat and onions rising from her pan is equally enticing to hungry creatures on four legs and two. At 90, and living alone with Mabon, Jones is still an imposing figure—in white slacks with a printed scarf tied around her neck, she is fit and steady from decades of yoga, and direct in a patrician sort of way (“Oh, the BAH-sil from the garden tastes terribly tired, I’m afraid,” she says). A fourth-generation Vermonter who lives half the year in Manhattan, she is the illustrious editor who plucked Anne Frank’s diary from the slush pile and championed its publication. For over half a century at Alfred A. Knopf, she shepherded into print the works of John Updike, Anne Tyler and more than a few revolutionary cookbook authors—Julia Child, Marcella Hazan, James Beard, M.F.K. Fisher.
I’m in this legend’s kitchen (with hanging pots and utensils approved by Child herself) to eat dog food. Not the kind in cans or 40-pound bags, but homemade canine cuisine. Jones, author of six previous books, has a new recipe collection called Love Me, Feed Me: Sharing with Your Dog the Everyday Good Food You Cook and Enjoy. Her message is that you should nourish your pet “the way you would a growing child,” with a healthy and safe diet of meat and fish, pasta and grains, and fresh vegetables.