What's Cooking? Julia Child's Kitchen at the Smithsonian
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About the Exhibit

In November 2001, when Julia Child left her Massachusetts home of forty-two years to return to her native California, she gave her kitchen to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, Behring Center.

Child's late husband, Paul, designed the kitchen for her in 1961, and there she cooked for herself, for family and friends, for professional colleagues -- and for the entire country. For seven years the kitchen was a set for three enormously popular public-television series. Millions of Americans watched the shows and felt they had cooked, eaten, and laughed there with an old friend.

The kitchen is also a setting for the work of a culinary expert. Here Child gave lessons, tested recipes for her cookbooks, and cooked with and for colleagues. The kitchen and its three pantries held tools and utensils that only professionals (and devoted amateurs) use. But ultimately, it was a place for family. Along with the professional equipment we find her favorite gadgets -- the small, simple, familiar objects of daily use at American family meals.

With this kitchen, the Museum has acquired an "object" that perfectly represents Julia Child's extraordinary influence on the way Americans think about their food and its history.

Note: Bon Appétit!, an exhibition featuring the reconstructed kitchen, opened on August 19, 2002. Visit the companion site Bon Appétit! Julia Child's Kitchen at the Smithsonian to take an interactive tour of the kitchen, view a sampling of kitchen implements, and hear more stories about Julia.

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