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Julia Child's Kitchen at the Smithsonian


Story 12 [of 18] – Signs of Julia


The kitchen and even Julia’s early cooking shows were filled with signs (and labels) of all sorts, and those signs and labels reflected Julia’s sense of organization as well as her sense of humor. On the TV shows, her use of French bistro signs, for example, served as humorous props in educating people about food. In her kitchen, her hand-marked and DYMO labels served as instructions for placement of tools or for correct use. DYMO labels next to disposal switch advised, "No artichoke leaves."


She often labeled or marked those things and their containers and locations so that she and the hundreds of other people who also cooked and helped in the kitchen would put those things back in their place. So, over the Garland range, where she kept cooking utensils of everyday use, spoons returned to their "Spoonery," so designated by a masking tape/black marker label on their stoneware crock, forks to their "Forkery," spatulas to the container of "Spats," and wooden things to "Mostly Wood."


Black marker outlines of pots and pans on the pegboards, supplemented by Polaroid pictures of that wall section, served to remind Julia and others where to replace the cleaned pot. Inspired by the need in a busy kitchen for instant visual retrieval and replacement, she even marked on masking tape affixed to the many jars of spices and condiments in her cupboard additional big letters—C for cumin, S for saffron, T for thyme, and so on.


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