A rare lot of greeting cards penned by beloved American chef Julia Child and her husband Paul are up for auction. Some fans might recognize the iconic bathtub photo of the couple covered in bubbles with a heart-shaped stamp between their heads reading, “Wish you were here.” Bidding for the 9-by-7-inch snapshot — complete with a Valentine’s Day message from their cat, Minette — starts at $1,500, but is expected to soar much higher.
Eight Valentine’s Day cards and other correspondences will be auctioned off on May 19 via Written Word Autographs on invaluable.com. Each authentic message was sent from the Child family between 1949 and 1965 to their friends Paul Mowrer, who won the first Pulitzer Prize for Correspondence in 1929 while writing for the Chicago Daily News, and Hadley Mowrer, who had previously been the first wife of Ernest Hemingway. Paul and Hadley married in 1933.
One particular piece of stationery for sale comes from Julia and Paul’s former Cambridge, Massachusetts, home. The yellowing paper, which comes with three accompanying photos, is scribbled with a lovely culinary poem full of electric imagery. It reads:
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.
Instead of breaking sparkling wine
Upon its lowly prow
We’ll christen it by breaking fast
And that, you must allow,
Is fitting, right and suitable —
And so, nos amis chers,
We thank you both for sending us
That little wooden square.
Paul x Julia. December 31, 1964
Although this note was written over winter, Julia and Paul were enamored with romance and Valentine’s Day. In the 1950s in Paris, they would spend as much of their time crafting original Valentine’s cards as Julia would perfecting her soufflé, according to Written Word.
“Valentines 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,” Julia wrote in her posthumously published memoir, My Life in France.
The world-renowned cook — who died from kidney failure in 2004 — is best known for her expertise in French cuisine as exhibited in many cookbooks and television programs, the most famous of which was called The French Chef. Fans who’d like to own an intimate piece of culinary history can bid on these lovely autographed photos, postcards, and other greetings starting May 19 at 11 a.m. ET. For more on the culinary icon who had top-secret duties in World War II, here are 9 things you didn't know about Julia Child.