Julia Child? Harriet Van Horne? Sydney Smith? Margaret Grade? Anonymous?
Dear Quote Investigator: While reading a cookbook I encountered an amusing quotation about cooking:
Cooking is like love — it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.
But the authors apparently did not know where it came from and labeled the words: graffiti on a kitchen wall. Later I saw the phrase credited to the famous chef Julia Child and to the newspaper columnist Harriet Van Horne. Any ideas about its origin?
Quote Investigator: In 1956 Harriet Van Horne wrote an article for Vogue magazine titled “Not for Jiffy Cooks” and subtitled “Six recipes, simple, honest, and sometimes unconventional.” She began her article with the following counsel [HVVN]:
Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.
This, then, is not a document for jiffy cooks. Nor for those devotees of those premixed, prewhipped, pre-stewed foods that crowd the grocer’s shelf.
This passage is the earliest evidence of the saying identified by QI. Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.