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Julia Child's Kitchen at the Smithsonian
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Julia taught me to make omelets.


Well...not in person (I wish!). In the 70s I was in my 30s and developing an interest in cooking. I love omelets and saw that her program on PBS was "Making the Perfect Omelet" or something close to that title. My omelets were less than perfect, more like shrapnel...prettiest where they didn't hit. I seemed to need 3 hands and 4 spatulas to get them to fold in half and they still broke into pieces.


I sat down to learn how from the master (mistress?). Gotta have an omelet/sautT pan with sloped sides, not a frying pan or skillet. 2 eggs. A little water, NOT MILK! Gently beat by hand. No foaming mass from the blender. 3 ingredients, MAX. And...LOOK MA... no spatula! They aren't folded in half, it's thirds. A simple shove/lift/flip of the pan gives the first fold and "de-panning" gives the other. Amazing.


The next morning I made perfect omelets for my family. Thank you Julia.


Massey Lambard



I cooked for Julia in this kitchen back in 1993 and subsequently went back a few times to bring her my freshly-baked croissants. I was putting a radio food show demo together at the time and instead of doing a phone interview I asked Julia's assistant if I could cook lunch for her and do the interview in person. Julia got on the phone and said, 'Yes, you can make lunch for me. How about tomorrow?' Yipes! When I arrived the next morning with bags of ingredients, Julia greeted me at the door, showed me to the kitchen, and then, with a wave and a "Oh, you know where everything is!", she disappeared to her upstairs office until noon. A fellow named Jim Burke joined us for lunch (at the time I was unaware that Jim is a rather famous chef and restaurant owner in the Boston area. Thank goodness I didn't know---such pressure!).


She opened a bottle of wine and we had Tomato Tart, a vegetable stew called Ciambotta (mentioned on the Sopranos!), Mesclun Greens with Lemon and Olive oil, and Lemon-Blueberry Trifle. I forgot to serve my homemade bread, but Julia found it on the counter after I left and enjoyed some later in the day.


While I was preparing lunch my arms got unusually tired. Julia's assistant explained that the counters were a few inches taller than average, a design of Mr. Child's to accomodate Ms. Child's 6' 3" frame. By the end of lunch and the interview Julia knew more about me than I intended to get to know about her.


I gathered my gear for another interview session, this time bringing my homemade croissants , still warm from my 1-hour drive from Providence to Cambridge. When she lightly scolded me for not bringing coffee (she then brewed some herself), I made a mental note and did not forget the coffee next time I visited. She commended me on the amount of butter I had used in the recipe.


Thanks for allowing me to share my experiences in this lovely kitchen. They are memories I will cherish forever.


Barry Nelson
Foxborough, MA



In late summer 1985 I arrived in Cambridge to do graduate work and wondered if I would ever bump into any of the city's notables. In a couple of days, I DID run into a famous couple while waiting for friends at Logan Airport -- Julia and Paul Child! There was something which I had always wanted to know from The French Chef. Should I ask? After all, they looked quite busy as they checked in at the departure gate. After mustering up considerable courage I approached Ms. Child, a woman whose stature (both professionally and physically) towered over me.


"Ms. Child," I petitioned,"I've been a viewer of yours since I was a little child when public television came to Hawaii in the '60's. Could you tell me that French tongue twister that you recited on your show -- the one about Dido on the back of the turkey?"


"Sure!" she exclaimed. " Didon dîna, dit-on, du dos dodu d'un dodu dindon."


"Thank you so much," I said having scribbled the precious find in a pocket notebook. "Have a good trip and aloha!"


Later that same night I would see her on the Tonight Show telling Johnny Carson about her life and her new video cooking series. I relived my brush with culinary destiny that night, as I do now whenever I meet French language students and tell them a story behind, "Didon dina, dit-on ...."


David Masunaga
Honolulu, Hawaii

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