On Aug. 15, French food lovers around the world celebrated the illustrious life of the great Julia Child in honor of her 100th birthday. To commemorate her spirit and contribution to the culinary world, The National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. reopened its Julia Child Kitchen exhibition.
The kitchen, which was donated to the museum in 2001, is the exact space where Child spent much of her career introducing friends, family, and followers to the splendor of French cuisine. With the exception of the linoleum floor, which had to be graphically reproduced by the museum, every appliance, gadget, and piece of furniture is Child's own and arranged exactly as she left it before moving into retirement.
The Daily Meal visited the exhibit and sat down with Rayna Green, the co-curator of the exhibit, who regaled us with stories of how Child's kitchen became a sacred symbol of culinary passion and creativity. With Green's wisdom and careful inspection of the exhibit as guidance, we've rounded up a list of signature fixtures that those devoted to continuing Child's legacy must have in order to recreate their own Child-inspired kitchen.
"Julia had cooking things all over the place," said Rayna Green. "We always say that Julia never had a pot or a knife or a gadget that she didn't like."
Among the 1,200 items in Child's well-stocked kitchen, we've selected seven crucial pieces that will add a hint of Julia Child to any cooking space.
Still, even with these seven items, the key to recreating Child's kitchen is a commitment to carrying on the legacy of spirit, vitality, and generosity she imbued in her surroundings. Child centered her life and career on encouraging people to connect through food by using cooking to stimulate conversation and foster cherished memories.
"Everything in [Child's] kitchen tells a story," said Green. "People gave her things that she treasured. Sometimes she didn't use them, but she liked having them because of their sentimental association."
The Julia Child Kitchen exhibition will be open at the museum through Sept. 3, after which it will close to prepare for the upcoming "Food: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000" exhibition, which will open in November and will use Child's kitchen as a main feature.