FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000

Technologies Old and New

Julia Child used a variety of tools and equipment throughout her cooking career, from items she purchased in the late 1940s while attending the Cordon Bleu school in Paris to the latest gadgets for serious home chefs of the 1990s. While Julia was devoted to mastering the techniques of classic French cuisine, she also eagerly adopted new appliances that made those tasks easier, as long as the results were just as good. The kitchen is a time capsule not only of her life, but of technologies used in American kitchens in the second half of the 20th century.

Large soapstone mortar and wooden pestle

Large soapstone mortar and wooden pestle

Julia and Paul purchased these at a Paris flea market in 1948.  She used them to crush, grind, and mix ingredients and kept them as a reminder of her life in Paris and the age-old techniques she mastered there.

Food processor

Food processor

This was Julia’s most recent of several food processors she owned beginning in the mid-1970s when the first Cuisinart was introduced. She thought it was the single, most important invention since the electric mixer.

KitchenAid stand mixer

KitchenAid stand mixer

She called the mixer her “K-5A” referring to the revolutionary Hobart KitchenAid K-5A, which in 1975 first made many professional culinary tasks easier for the home cook.  This mixer is a more recent model that she used for many years.

The Big Garland

The Big Garland

Julia’s six-burner Garland gas range, which she bought used in Washington, D.C., in the 1950s. Throughout her long cooking career, she never wished to replace it.