|No one has done more for transforming how Americans ate and cooked after World War II.|
Julia Child, 1912-2004, in her kitchen [© Pat Greenhouse, The Boston Globe]
"I cannot forget one ladies’ lunch back in the 1950s. Our hostess proudly led us to our seats around a nicely appointed table where we each sat down to a pretty china plate upon which stood an upright, somewhat phallic-shaped molded aspic holding in suspension diced green grapes, diced marshmallows, and diced bananas."
Before her unprecedented culinary contributions of French cooking to America, throughout the 1950s Julia Child perfected her cooking skills and interests at Le Cordon Bleu while teaching with future cookbook collaborators Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle in post-war Paris.
Child's original kitchen was installed in her Cambridge, Massachusetts home in 1961–the same year that her classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking was published. It was later donated and reassembled at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. You can also view it virtually here. Although it was constructed just after the 1950s it still has some traits from that era: namely the pale turquoise blue color and even the peg-board method of placing pots and pans on her wall (my mother used the same method to hang her Paul Revere Ware® throughout the sixties on pink peg-board in our kitchen). Of note is that husband Paul Child, who designed the kitchen, made certain that the counters were 38 inches in height instead of the standard 36 inches. [Julia was 6'2.] The kitchen was also used for seven years in the taping of Child's first, now iconic, cooking series on PBS.
To read more about Julia Child, click here.