Smack in the middle of a week during which TV Land will attempt to debunk “some of pop culture’s darkest mysteries,” we will learn whether Julia Child really did drop a chicken in the middle of filming her show and proceed with cooking it.
Snopes—a site that is exceedingly useful for those friends of yours who constantly forward around those urban-legend email scares—has already decided that La Child never did any such thing.
No one can place an accurate date on when the tale of a dropped viand began dogging Julia Child, but we do know it was being reported as a persistent rumor back in 1989. Its spread has no doubt been helped along by articles appearing in respected publications that passed some version of it along as fact.
Citing a Los Angeles Times piece on Julia Child’s biography, Appetite for Life, Snopes reproduces this quote from the review:
In one of her best-known television episodes, she flipped a potato pancake in the air and, instead of landing in the skillet, it plopped on the table. Julia simply looked straight into the camera and said, ‘You just scoop it back into the pan. Remember, you are alone in the kitchen and nobody can see you.’
Snopes adds, “Child admitted time and again to the potato pancake incident but always firmly maintained she never dropped a chicken, duck, or whatever else the rumor has ascribed to her.”
With that mystery solved, I think I’ll still tune in to see if Gilligan’s Island really was a metaphor for hell or if Mama Cass did die by choking on a ham sandwich.