Alexandra and Julia

On a recent visit to the Smithsonian Museum of American History, I spent a long time peering into the windows of Julia Child’s kitchen. (Julia’s kitchen has been moved in its entirety to the museum – down to every last measuring spoon. You can’t walk in, but there are lots of windows to look through into Julia’s world.) I was fascinated – not so much by the kitchen, but by my reaction to it. I loved it. But why? If there’s anything I can’t stand, it’s clutter. My ideal kitchen has no wall cabinets, nothing on the countertops – it looks clean and sparkly and open. Julia’s kitchen is the opposite – there is stuff everywhere. To her credit, I wouldn’t call it clutter – there are no piles of mail or dirty dishes. It’s actually pretty well organized, but almost every surface is covered with cooking tools. I can’t begin to imagine what’s inside the cabinets – what should be the contents seem to be everywhere. No space is left untouched – there’s even framed artwork hung on the cabinet doors. So when it was so far from anything I could live with, why did I love it so much?  I do love a retro kitchen – was that it? Upon further reflection, I think it might be because it was an honest space – one that reflects Julia. It is who she is, no apologies. When you see a sleek, shiny, empty kitchen in a magazine, what does it tell you about the owner? Not much. Julia’s kitchen tells you everything about her. Bravo, Julia.

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photo 2 (23)