A few weeks ago while on a visit to Washington, DC, I had the chance to visit Julia Child’s kitchen at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. This was my favorite exhibit of the trip and seeing this kitchen in person was amazing.
Julia Child’s husband, Paul, designed this working kitchen for her in 1961. She used this room to cook for her family, friends and co-workers. The kitchen was also a set for her three enormously popular TV shows. The thing I loved most about this kitchen was that she utilized every space possible. It is not very big, however she had everything a good chef would need in it. I am sure Julia could have chosen a bigger and more elaborate kitchen. She went with a kitchen that was practical and comforting. You could tell this was a place for family. Julia not only kept all her professional equipment in this room, but she also had small simple gadgets that every home cook has.Julia called her kitchen “the beating heart of the household”. That was a perfect summary of this famous room. This wall plaque said it all.I loved how there was a space for everything. Julia utilized this blue pegboard for over 45 pots and kitchen gadgets. They were all outlined in black or red marker so that they could be placed back exactly where they belonged.
In 2001, Julia Child decided to donate her kitchen to the museum. Through this kitchen, you can see her life as a family cook, culinary professional and television star. If you are ever in Washington, DC, this is one exhibit, you don’t want to miss. Thank you Julia, for giving us so much in American food culture!