News and Opinion from Anne Barone to Keep You Chic & Slim


Julia Child's Provence Kitchen with Julia Moskin (left) and Julia Child (right)

|| 25 September 2016

Cooking in Julia Child's Provence Kitchen

Oh dear ! When it rains, it pours. At least it certainly did last night. The official report is 5.6 inches (14.22 cm) between 10 pm and 6 am this morning. Though my own rain gauge only shows 4.8 inches (12.19 cm) for my property. A violent electrical storm raged from early evening far into the early morning hours. We lost power at 9:15 pm. Given the storm, I did not expect much in the way of repair until thunder and lightning tapered off.

Repair trucks rumbling through the neighborhood woke me about 3 am. I had finally gotten back to sleep when a blaze of light from my bedside lamp that I had forgotten to turn off when the power failed woke me just after 4 am. I decided I had better get up and put the cellphone and the laptop on chargers to make sure they had as much power as possible in case the electricity went out again. We are slated for more rain and storms today.

IN THE MEANTIME, NY Times food writer Julia Moskin spent a week cooking in Julia Child’s Provence kitchen at the French home which Julia and husband Paul Child built in 1965 and lived in part time until 1992. In this Provence kitchen, Julia Child and her co-author Simone Beck (who lived up the hill) produced most of the second volume of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” between 1965 and 1970.

Astounding that her home La Pitchoune with Julia Child’s Provence kitchen is now an Airbnb rental. One associates Airbnb with economy lodging, not the French home of celebrity cooks who taught Americans the secrets to preparing French cuisine. The Airbnb listing is additionally astounding since Julia Child’s USA kitchen is now at the Smithsonian.

Julia Moskin writes:

The kitchen still looks essentially as it appears in photographs from the 1960s and ’70s, down to the whisks, the tart rings and that big boxwood rolling pin, all hanging in their assigned places on the pegboard. Many original artifacts remain: My garlic and shallots went into the small plastic bin she had labeled “ail echalotes” with a Dymo-style label maker. I pulled old and spotted but wickedly sharp carbon-steel knives from the knife block that Paul Child built into the butcher-block counter.

She was never a celebrity here, according to her great-nephew, Alex Prud’homme.“The people who lived nearby didn’t know, or care, who Julia-Child-the-American-TV-star was.”

So the kitchen at La Pitchoune isn’t luxurious or spacious; it looks nothing like a set for a celebrity chef and entirely like what it was built to be: a practical workshop for a home cook with a hell of a lot of work to do.

A slide show of 17 photographs accompanies the NY Times article.

In Julia Child’s Provençal Kitchen in NY Times

More about Julia Child's French home La Pitchoune on Wikipedia