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Judith Jones (1924 - 2017)

Getty Images / Wireimage / Photo by Brian Ach

Judith Jones (1924 - 2017)

Judith Jones, the legendary editor of Julia Child’s cookbooks, died Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, according to multiple news sources. She was 93.

Jones died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease, said her stepdaughter, Bronwyn Dunne.

Jones worked at Alfred A. Knopf for more than 50 years, retiring in 2011.

Jones worked for Doubleday in Paris and then moved to New York City, starting her career at Knopf in 1957. She was disappointed in the recipes that were available to cooks in America compared to the cuisine that she had savored in Paris.


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Jones became interested in a manuscript from Child that another publishing house had rejected. She made some of the recipes herself and was impressed. She told Epicurious, “This was the book I had been searching for.” The book, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” proved a big success.

Jones brought international and national cuisine to a wider audience. In a 2016 interview with Eater, she talked about her interest in cookbooks.

“I got so excited by Julia’s book,” she said, “and what it did for making people better cooks, and the tools that you needed to make it really work in an American city or small town, and I thought, if we could do this for French food, for heavens’ sake, let’s start doing it for other exotic cuisines!

“I used the word ‘exotic,’ and that meant the Middle East with Claudia Roden, it meant better Indian cooking with Madhur Jaffrey.”

Earlier in her career, Jones rescued “The Diary of Anne Frank” from a reject pile. She was working as a reader at Doubleday in Paris when her boss asked her to get rid of the rejects.

She told The Associated Press, “I curled up with one or two books. I was just curious. I think it was the face on the cover. I looked at that face, and I started reading that book, and I didn’t stop all afternoon. I was in tears when my boss came back. I said, ‘This book is going to New York and has got to be published.’ And he said, ‘What? That book by that kid?!’“

Jones was also a literary editor for the authors John Updike, John Hersey, and Anne Tyler.

She, too, was an author, writing three cookbooks with her husband, Evan, who died in 1996. In recent years, she kept a blog, judithjonescooks.com.

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