Saturday, July 17, 2010

"Life itself is the proper binge"

Words to keep in mind. When I was much younger, I thought I could inhale life in great, greedy gulps. Now. Maybe I nibble. Anxiously. (Although I wolf my food. Too many years of having only minutes to eat before the children needed me. It's a habit I'm trying to stop.)

I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but the highlight of my Washington, D.C., trip was not the Washington Monument or the flag that inspired the Star Spangled Banner. Or any of the great and glorious national and historical treasures housed there.

It was Julia Child's kitchen.

I admit it. I'm kitchen-obsessed. I glued my nose to the plexiglass and admired every practical, colorful inch of Julia Child's working space from the black, six-burner Chamber range to the wonderful mix of stained and painted wood. That her kitchen looks so modern today attests to the longevity of designing and choosing materials for function. Easier said than done.

So many of Julia Child's choices could and should be used in today's kitchens. Her cabinetry mixed stained wood with blue and green painted cabinets. The colors were cheerful and individual, transcending fashion.

Butcher block counters were used throughout the space. They looked like they were in well-used, but wonderful shape. For several hours after seeing her kitchen, I had second, third, and fourth thoughts about choosing stone countertops over wood. Julia had solved the water/sink/wood problem by using a large stainless sink integrated into a stainless counter with drainboard. An elegant and functional solution.

The large range with stainless hood and integral stainless shelf were surprisingly modern. Utensils, pots, and kitchen equipment were all arrayed, close at hand. This may seem cluttered to some, but I loved it. There's something inherently sculptural about kitchen equipment. Something honest. This was a kitchen about making food, not about making a statement. Lovely.


  1. thanks for posting!

  2. Oh, I felt the same way!

    Although the highlight of my trip was visiting with my son, who was stationed at Fort Myer (Arlington), Julia's kitchen was a close second. And this post just sparked a memory of that same son, at two years old, running into the room whenever he heard Julia's voice on TV. "I wanna see her cook a chicken!"

    Another reason to love green cabinets.


  3. What a wonderful memory. It sounds like you were raising someone who loves to cook. Many thanks to your son for serving our country.


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