Have you seen Julia Child’s kitchen at the Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institute? I finally did on Friday. Since this is high up on my list to see, you would have thought I would have done this long ago, considering I live about an hour from the museum. Like any good suburbanite, I only enjoyed the offerings of Washington, DC, and the museums when I host tourists. My last visit to the American History Museum was a few years ago with my niece and nephews, and unfortunately, Julia’s kitchen was closed for renovations. I was heartbroken.
Then I found out about the Demonstration Kitchen in the National Museum of American History and their #FoodFriday program. Each Friday from June to October there will be demonstrations about the food culture in America. I was anxious to attend one of these presentations and when I looked at the schedule, Voilà, the August 21st presentation featured Julia Child. With Julia being one of my idols, this gave me a good excuse plan a trip. The love of food is not all Julia and I share. She and I both have August Birthdays and are Leo’s, It didn’t hurt that this presentation fell on my birthday so this was my present to myself!
This excursion also gave me the opportunity to see Julia’s kitchen in person. Her kitchen has been painstakingly reconstructed as the anchor exhibit for Food: Transforming the American Table 1950 – 2000.
This program is hosted by the Smithsonian, Sur la Table and the generosity of many donors. Our hosts, Jessica Carbone, Project Associate for the American Food History Project, and Chef Lynne Just, of Sur la Table gave an amazing presentation on Julia Child, her philosophy and contributions to the American Food Culture. She was also one of the first women on TV that celebrated her passion with such personality. You gotta love that!
The 45 minute demonstration featured three of Julia’s recipes:
Suprêmes de Volaille à Brun (Chicken Breasts Sautéed in Butter)
After the program Jessica gave me a tour of the kitchen along with the back of the house. The day was magical, with the demonstration, a personal tour of the venue, and finally experiencing Julia’s kitchen in person, leaving me walking on air.
I highly recommend a trip to see the exhibit and experience Food Fridays. If you are a foodie, this is a pilgrimage that is not to be missed. However, I did not leave the stick of butter as a tribute to Julia that is the tradition. I think she would prefer me to save it to make one of her recipes that I will share with others, that is the spirit of Julia we know and love.