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Last Updated: Friday, 13 August, 2004, 17:47 GMT 18:47 UK
US kitchen queen Julia Child dies
Julia Child pictured on set for her television show
Julia Child brought an encouraging, easygoing manner to her TV show
The doyenne of US television cookery shows, Julia Child, has died in her sleep at her California home, aged 91.

Ms Child is credited with introducing French cuisine to the American public with a series of TV shows and books dating back to the early 1960s.

"America has lost a true national treasure," a spokesman for her publisher, Alfred A Knopf, said.

Ms Child's passion for French cooking was sparked by a spell spent in Paris with her husband, a US diplomat.

Demystifying French cuisine

In 1961, she published her seminal cookbook, Mastering the art of French Cooking, which in turn gave rise to a television series, The French Chef.

Soon, she was a household name in the US, exhorting her audiences to experiment with French recipes and share the results with friends and family.

"Dining with one's friends and beloved family is certainly one of life's primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul-satisfying and eternal," she wrote in an introduction to one of her books.

Her warbling voice and encouraging demeanour are credited with demystifying French cuisine for a whole generation of Americans.

Later in her career, she expressed concern at the fad for low-fat health foods.

She was born in Pasadena, California, in 1913, and worked during World War II for a US intelligence agency that served as a precursor to the CIA.