Bon Appétit: Inside Julia Child's Kitchen

Before my recent trip to Washington, D.C., I began planning what sights I wanted to see. Besides the obvious landmarks and cherry blossoms, I wasn't sure what museums the city had to offer. And then it hit me- Julia Child's kitchen is in D.C.! I immediately started jumping up and down and telling anyone who would listen. I would be seeing my gastronomic idol's workspace- the place where Julie Powell made her pilgrimage after working her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking in Julie and Julia and left her offering of butter.
Julia's kitchen from her Cambridge, Massachusetts home- along with plenty of pots, pans and kitchen gadgets- were donated by Mrs. Child herself upon her move to California in 2001. The exhibit also features footage from her cooking show The French Chef, and other great memorabilia.
It is pretty amazing to think that this is where that firecracker of a woman once stood. On her butcher block counter tops, built to her height, you can even see rings in the wood where maybe she set down a cup of tea.
Looking through the exhibit, you couldn't help but notice that Julia was a cat person! Throughout her kitchen, cats showed up in paintings, cartoons and magnets. 
I was amazed by how utilitarian her kitchen was. There is no doubt that at this point in her life she could have had whatever fancy finishings she wanted but instead she has very simple blinds on her windows, practical kitchen counters, and pegboard walls to organize all of her goodies.
Here is a drawing of the layout of her kitchen. It included a food pantry, a butler's pantry and even a pantry dedicated to pastry. I can just imagine what great ingredients she kept there.
Julie Child loved her kitchen gadgets! Thankfully the exhibit labeled each one- many I did not recognize and would not know what to do with. Have you ever needed a bone holder? Julie obviously did, she had several!
Here is her enormous mortar and pestle. I wonder what great things she has pulverized inside of it!
Anyone who has read Julia Child's My Life in France or has seen Julie and Julia will recognize some of the great memorabilia in the exhibit. Displayed was her patch from L'Ecole des Trois Gourmondes (The School of the Three Happy Eaters) that she started in Paris with her Mastering the Art cowriters and her diploma from Le Cordon Bleu.
I learned some interesting tidbits about Julia through the exhibit. Having lived in France, Julia and her husband Paul enjoyed having a glass of wine to complement their meal as was typical in the country. At the time she went on TV with The French Chef, American society was unaccustomed to seeing public figures drinking. By enjoying a glass of wine during her cooking lessons, Julia helped make Americans comfortable with drinking with their dinner (1) .  I think she deserves a round of applause!
Here is the Child's listing of the contents of their wine cellar:
If you ever have an opportunity to visit her kitchen- do it! You will be inspired! If you can't get there soon enough, you can visit the online exhibit: Julia Child's Kitchen at the Smithsonian

1- http://www.americanhistory.si.edu/juliachild/flash_home.asp


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