8.15.2006

Happy Birthday, Julia Child

The more I learn about Julia Child, who would have turned 94 today, the more odd specifics I find that we share: both of us are over six feet tall. We both liked hard boiled eggs, beer and mayonnaise (Hellmans for me, homemade for Julia) for lunch. We both moved to New York City after graduation to work in advertising and we'll both admit to occasionally using the toilet as a garbage disposal. We're both Americans with strong ties to Europe, partnered to artistic guys. Julia occasionally asked her husband Paul to help her take photos of her food; R* often does the same for me.

Today, under the leadership of Champaign Taste, some food bloggers are cooking up Julia's recipes to remember her today. I have to admit I've never tried one of her recipes, have only seen a few episodes of one of her later shows and I don't own her famous volumes on Mastering The Art of French Cooking (yet).

While I've never made any of her recipes, there's still a little bit of Julia in my Brooklyn kitchen.

This time last summer, R* and I we're stuck with our half renovated kitchen. Steve, our contractor would show up, work for a few hours, disappear for a week. Each night R* would come home to see what work the contractor had (or hadn't) don't that day. He patiently wrote notes on paper plates and taped them to the spots that needed work.




I like to think that Julia and her husband Paul went through something similar when setting up her kitchen in Cambridge. According to the Smithsonian, where their kitchen is now displayed, "While she mapped out the functional principles, Paul brought his sense of design to arranging the kitchen's elements."

R* and I also collaborated on designing our new kitchen. In searching the web for inspiration for paint colors and fabric for the project, I found descriptions and pictures of Julia and Paul's Cambridge kitchen. Their kitchen had a blue and green color scheme with Marimekko tablecloths.

I pulled an all-nighter last summer and spent the whole night searching for color, fabric and fixture ideas for the kitchen. I fell in love with this Marimekko Suma Blue print. While Julia and Paul might not appreciate the busy urban pattern (or would they?), the blue and greens in the fabric and glass backsplash tiles are very similar to the colors Paul picked for their cabinets.



Early on in our kitchen design process, I had dictated that there would be no blue in the new kitchen. My mom's kitchen was always decorated in blue and my pre-renovation kitchen was also blue, but that's just what we ended up with. Our Benjamin Moore Blue Ice walls might be a bit colder and more contemporary than the colors Paul picked, but I bet they would appreciate the update. I wish we had enough wall space for her famous peg board storage. Someday.

7 Comments:

Blogger Lisa said...

Chris, I love this! Thanks for playing along for the celebration. Wish I could see your kitchen; keep trying and I'm sure Blogger will get straightened out soon so you can put your photo(s) up.

1:07 PM  
Anonymous coffeepot said...

Chris I would love to see it too.

I hope you can get it worked out soon.

Good job.

5:49 PM  
Anonymous ann said...

this is almost more beautiful of an homage than a recipe...

11:04 PM  
Anonymous Mr. S said...

nice post. i'm in the middle of reading "My Life in France" right now, but i hadn't realized it was Julia's birthday.

D got me the 2-volume Mastering the Art for my birthday a couple of years ago, and while i don't cook from it very often, it's a wonderful resource to have around, and fun to browse through. many of the recipes are a little old fashioned (meaning heavy) for my tastes, and most of the sauces seem to start with a base of 3 egg yolks and half a stick of butter, but the variations on bouillabaise are fascinating and delicious and the soufflé recipe has never failed me.

D found the books at Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks on W 10th between 7th Ave and Waverly Place, which is a pretty great place. Definitely worth checking out if you're ever here in the village.

10:47 AM  
Anonymous Aviva Slesin said...

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your comments about my tiny kitchen problem on AT today. I see you've been through it.

Best,

Aviva

8:29 PM  
Blogger The Graduate said...

I've always loved Julia Child and I absolutely love this concept. I saw pictures of her kitchen in her Paris apartment at "Roo de Loo" in My Life in France and I want to use that as the basis for my design.

I do, however, have to point out that Julia's birthday is August 15th, not the 14th.

2:16 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Graduate, you're right. Thanks for pointing out the date problem. I learned that Blogger, my blogging software, sometimes dates the posts with when you started a draft of the post, not when you actually put the post live. In the spirit of the event, I've figured out how to change the date of the post -- so I'm going to update it.

10:05 AM  

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