our culinary pilgrimage

you know how every time you watch HGTV, the couple looking for the house says they want hardwood floors, open concept and a “chef’s kitchen”? well those people are idiots. a chef’s kitchen is not granite countertops and huge islands with all stainless steel everything. chef’s kitchens are messy. they’re raw. they’re overflowing with knives and appliances and pots and pans. they kind of look like this.

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this is a true chef’s kitchen. the chef, in fact.

my chef and i took a trip to d.c. last week, and our first stop: the museum of american history, so we could see the kitchen of all kitchens. the julia child exhibit.

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this is the kitchen paul child designed for his wife, julia. it was the set of her television show. it was where she tested recipes, where she cooked for her friends and her family. this kitchen was the center of her life, and when she moved from the home in cambridge, massachusetts that housed it for more than four decades – the smithsonian asked for it. lucky for us, she obliged.

i love all the quirks in this kitchen. julia was 6’2”, so the countertops in here are a good four inches taller than the ones in standard kitchens. most of the walls were covered in pegboard so she could hang her pots and pans. she even outlined them with a black marker so she’d know where to put them back when she was finished. and that butcher block table wedged in beside the wall oven? yeah, i want need one.

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my favorite story from julia’s kitchen about is the table. it’s where she and paul had breakfast every single morning. a historian at the museum told us she would have a yogurt and he would have a banana. the historian said if you lifted up that yellow table cloth there would be hundreds of banana stickers… dole, chiquita.. whatever brand his banana was that morning, he’d pull the label off and stick it to the table.

i love the green walls and i love all the copper pots and pans she had, but as the chef reminds me every time i lament my love for copper cookware – it takes a lot of work to keep copper, copper.

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if you’re interested in learning more about julia’s kitchen, the smithsonian has a nice site here, with more pictures (not taken through plexiglass in an extremely low light situation) from the kitchen in it’s original location.

sadly, we didn’t leave a pound of butter. but don’t think i didn’t think about it.

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