A portrait of the American chef Julia Child (1912 - 2004) shows her standing with a cut of meat in her kitchen, late 20th century. (Photo by Bachrach/Getty Images)

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The Real Reason Paul Child Was Summoned To Meet In DC In 'Julia
The new HBO Max series "Julia" begins with the Childs in their Oslo home in Norway, when Julia’s husband Paul receives a phone call summoning him to Washington D.C. and the Childs are excited that they’ll be returning to Paris. Julia’s biography "My Life In Paris," describes what happened during this summons.
Julia Child writes in her biography that they hoped the meeting would result in a promotion, but instead her husband Paul was interrogated for hours by government officials when he visited Washington D.C. in 1956. They accused him of being a communist sympathizer and grilled him about his friends, sexual orientation, and reading preferences.
These incidents were typical of the era and of "McCarthyism," when numerous people and businesses were investigated by the government and accused of having communist ties. Child adds that several of their friends faced the same investigation and almost had their lives ruined because of this.
Though Paul was cleared of any wrongdoing, Child writes that “[t]his shameful episode left the taste of ashes in our mouths, and we would never forget it.” The only time the incident comes up again in the series is when Paul frustratingly reflects on the humiliating event after an aggravating dinner with his conservative father-in-law.