2.03.2014

Julia Child-Style and the National Museum of American History


Six years ago I decided to learn how to cook.

Before that I ate Amy's microwavable macaroni and cheese. Sometimes twice a day.

No, unfortunately I'm not kidding. Sometimes I mixed in frozen peas, but still.

It took a little peer pressure from my roommate and some more from my (then future) mother-in-law, but I've come a long way since then. In fact, my husband recently told me that I was the second-best cook he has ever lived with. This is encouraging news.

Anyway, as a budding cook I naturally developed an interest in all things Julia Child. It started off with Julie & Julia, the book (meh) and the movie. (I loved Meryl Streep in that role.) And then I listened to Julia's memoir, My Life in France, in my car. (The book is especially good in the audiobook format.) Then I read Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz. And although I may never actually cook something from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I convinced my mom to give me her (spare) copy. Now it's happily taking up space on the shelf in my kitchen.

Which brings me to the purpose of this post (and thanks for sticking with me), which is to talk about Julia Child's kitchen at the National Museum of American History in DC. In 2001, Julia moved from Massachusetts to California. And when she did, she donated her entire kitchen - pots, pans, that infamous pegboard, cleavers, cabinets and all - to the Smithsonian. And you can go visit it there 364 days a year for free. Which is a fun, foodie activity, especially if you combine it with a trip to Patisserie Poupon in Georgetown (near Julia's old stomping ground) for a French-sized croissant and a cappuccino. Yum.

So I'm curious, what is your favorite cookbook? I just finished reading Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenscrach. I read it cover to cover in one weekend. I loved how the book read like more like a memoir and less like a cookbook, just like Jenny's blog.