Julia Child had a love for kitchen gadgets and tools, and she collected them everywhere she went as she traveled with her husband, Paul Child, through Europe for his various work assignments. Paul and Julia together designed the kitchen in Cambridge to suit her tastes and her height (she was 6'2"). On display at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. is Julia Child's actual kitchen from her Cambridge, MA home. She donated it in 2001, three years before she died.
The 1960s French country kitchen was meticulously reassembled at the Institute. Julia's kitchen offers us a glimpse into the past with her many gadgets she has collected during her time in Europe. But just how much has changed since then?
Like classic clothes that never go out of style and seemingly last forever, some kitchen gadgets are similarly priceless and withstand time and its modern inventions. If you have ever made your own tomato sauce, then you probably own a food mill. This is a truly classic kitchen gadget devised in the late 19th century and a staple in Julia's kitchen for pureeing various foods.
Did you know that the whisk was a French tool originally introduced to Americans by Julia Child? Quoting Julia Child, "The idea is to have the largest whisk and smallest bowl-it gets the egg whites in motion at once." We all fondly recall Julia's episode of the salad spinner, where she has an umbrella in hand as she dries the lettuce. Another French introduction to American cooks, the salad spinner is still very much in demand today as it was when Julia first showed it to us. When we buy pots and pans, they are meant to last us a long, long time. And so it was with Julia's enamel sauce pan which she bought in Paris in the 1940s and used up until the 1990s.
There is one kitchen tool for which we use its modern counterpart, and that is the food scale. Julia's ancient food scale was mainly used for past recipes that called for ingredients in grams, ounces, pounds and kilos. Today's ingredients are widely measured in cups and quarts. Some ingredients, however, still note ounces and pounds, such as chicken or fish; therefore making the food scale a viable tool in today's modern kitchen.
Many of today's in-demand modern kitchen tools and gadgets stemmed from their premiere on Julia Child's television series, The French Chef. Time has shown us that classic and well-designed pieces truly do last forever and will continue to span generations to come.