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The sweet story behind Julia Child's rare Valentine's Day cards

It's easy to swoon over these Valentine's Day postcards Julia Child and her husband sent to their friends every year.
by Erica Chayes Wida / / Source: TODAY

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Julia Child may be best known for her legendary cooking skills. But aside from whipping up delicious French dishes, the famous chef and her husband, Paul, were also quite crafty outside of the kitchen.

Every year, the duo created their own Valentine's Day cards — and they're as satisfying as her chocolate mousse. Soon, some of the cards will go up for auction, but owning a piece of creative culinary history won't be cheap.

The lovebirds shared a timeless romance that involved elements of their personal and professional lives. Julia famously credited Paul for her success and being "responsible for everything I did."

The couple who shared a passion for writing and collaborating on cookbooks also had a thing for Valentine's Day and created homemade postcards to send out to friends ahead of the holiday.

The nine postcards being auctioned on May 19 were created after the Childs moved to France in 1948 for Paul's position at the United States Information Agency, according to online auctioneer Invaluable. During that time, Julia developed a passion for baking soufflés and handcrafting cards for their friends, Paul and Hadley Mowrer, back in Chocorua, New Hampshire.

One postcard, starting at $1,500, is a photograph of the Childs enjoying a bubble bath together, with the cheeky caption, "Wish you were here."

On the back, a note in Julia's handwriting reads: “Dearest friends — I didn’t care to get into this picture, so I pushed the button. Ever yours, Minette."

Minette was the Childs' cat, who also appeared in family photos from time to time.

Perhaps the greatest part of the Childs' friendly love letters is that they were often sent out after the busy winter season when many people are flooded with traditional holiday cards.

In her posthumously published memoir, "My Life in France," Julia wrote, “Valentine's cards had become a tradition of ours, born of the fact that we could never get ourselves organized in time to send out Christmas cards.”

While only nine cards are being auctioned next month, there are more around that show just how much the Childs loved Valentine's Day.

One postcard (which starts at $400) featured in the auction and dated Dec. 31, 1964, includes a photograph of the Childs during a visit to the Mowrers' home, along with a love poem about food:

Trivets are not trivia

Though they lie beneath the tea,

Beneath the soup, beneath the trout,

Beneath the fricassee.

So we rejoice, as triveters,

To have your lovely gift

Whereon to place our poulet chaud

And where, with movement swift;

To slide the bubbling bouillabaisse,

The steaming eels, the roast,

The veau orloff, the Béarnaise,

The coffee and the toast.

Only a duo as sweet as the Childs could make something like a trivet sound romantic.

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