Famed cookbook editor Judith Jones dies at 93

In this May 8, 2006 file photo, Knopf editor Judith Jones delivers her acceptance speech after she received the lifetime achievement award during the 2006 James Beard Foundation Awards ceremony, in New York. / (AP Photo Richard Drew, File)

Editor Judith Jones, who was responsible for introducing readers to Julia Child amongst other chefs and cookbook authors, died this morning at her home in Vermont at 93.

She convinced Alfred Knopf of Knopf Publishing to publish Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Other noted cookbook authors she championed over the years include James Beard, Edna Lewis, Marcella Hazan, Marion Cunningham, Madhur Jaffrey, Joan Nathan and Lidia Bastianich.

She worked on “The Taste of Country Cooking” with legendary Southern cook Lewis and wrote several food books with her husband, Evan including “The Book of Bread” and “The Book of New New England Cookery” and several on her own including “The Pleasures of Cooking for One” and “Love Me, Feed Me.”

In 2006, Jones was awarded the James Beard Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

As a young assistant in 1950, she rescued Anne Frank’s “Diary of a Young Girl” from a rejection pile in Paris. She also edited fiction writers including  John Updike, Anne Tyler, William Maxwell, John Hersey, Peter Taylor and Sharon Olds.

“It is impossible to imagine book publishing without Judith,” said Knopf Chairman and Editor in Chief Sonny Mehta in a prepared statement. “Her authors have been recipients of five Pulitzer Prizes, five National Book Awards, and three National Book Critics Circle Awards, and her cookbook authors have been recipients of forty-one awards from the James Beard Foundation and thirteen awards from the International Association of Culinary Professionals. And Judith herself was honored with lifetime achievement awards from both the James Beard Foundation and IACP. It is no exaggeration to say that she profoundly influenced not only the way America reads and but also the way we cook.”

She joined Knopf in 1957, and officially retired in 2011.

 

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