Monday, July 05, 2010

The Temple of Julia

Did I ever tell you I have every episode of "The French Chef" on DVD? Way before the blog and the books and the movie, I was a Julia Child fan. I cried when I read that she died.
Some of my earliest memories are of the early days of Julia cooking on her PBS show and of my mother and the whisk Julia brought into her life, conjuring up some "exotic", "new" dish Julia must have shown her. All of which is kind of interesting since I'm pretty sure we didn't have a TV when I was a kid.

Did you ever see the Chicken Cacciatore episode? I remember seeing and smelling that bubbling away in pan in my mothers kitchen. Or maybe it was the Coq au Vin.

Anyway.

Me and Julia, we go way back. And after waiting and wishing for years, I finally got to go see THE kitchen at the Smithsonian. Julia's kitchen. It was something I had been wanting to do forever, and the fabulous Boy surprised me with the trip as a pre-trip to a week in Paris. I though I was going to blow a gasket when he told me and I completely flipped out and screamed and cried and clapped and jumped up and down, and I wasn't sure what to be most excited about!

Needless to say, we had a fabulous time in both places and came home exhausted and happy and with lots of new ideas, inspiration, great swag and a few extra pounds.

Hello treadmill.

Anyway, here was one of my favorite items from the Smithsonian exhibit. "Ecole des Trois Gourmandes" is the name Julia and her pals made up for their cooking school in France. As I understand it from reading her memoir, the name and the patch were kind of a joke, but it persisted and you can see Julia wearing hers-presumably this one- in the early episodes of "The French Chef"
the patch
Because I am a geek and a lab glass addict, I also loved that Julia had a collection of her own:
julia loved lab glass just like me
and a little piece of Minnesota to hold her tools:
a little piece of minnesota in julias kitchen
and an undercounter ice maker:
i'm not the only one obsessed with ice

As a cook, I've always been fascinated by how much I can learn about someone by looking into their kitchen, and that Julia did many of her shows from this very kitchen was always one of the reasons I enjoyed watching. I loved it most because it's a relic of her real life, but getting to see it as the set that appeared on all those shows was fun, too. Getting this up close and personal look at her space and her stuff, the place where the magic of Julia came to life, was a real treat. She was a real gem, that Julia.

Thanks Boy! We had a great trip, eh?
More to come about the Paris leg. It was a dream!

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