The Unexpected Reason Julia Child Kept A Giant Knife On Set

Julia Child's list of cooking-related accomplishments is endless, but one of her most memorable traits was her captivating spirit. Her constant excitement surrounding all things food made her a pure delight in the kitchen. That passion for the culinary arts fueled by her steadfast commitment made her one of the world's most treasured chefs. Although, Child could own a room long before her rise to culinary fame. She has always been hard to miss and not just for her impressive height. 

Friends of the famous chef remember her with a chuckle, terming her a true prankster. A buddy of hers from high school recounted Child's foolhardy antics and adventurous nature, shares Biography. Lucky for the rest of the world, Child hung onto that jokester mentality and took it all the way to the WGBH set of "The French Chef." Child was always quick to laugh off cooking missteps and would keep viewers engaged with her impromptu mends and fixes. 

Die-hard fans of "The French Chef' may remember Child's impressive knife assembly, and one notably large blade, in particular, hanging on the wall behind her as she glided about the kitchen. The alarming size threw a lot of people for a loop.

The chef's fright knife was one of her favorite kitchen tools

With Child's hush-hush past in top-secret government communications (via CIA), her collection of large knives takes a concerning turn. But not to worry, Child made it clear that the jumbo knife was more of a comedic weapon. Her "fright knife" as she dubbed it, was just another example of her bold and amusing personality, per Smithsonian Magazine.

Child combined cooking and fun in a way the world hadn't seen before. What viewers learned from her show "French Chef" was that she wasn't only an incredible chef, but a performer as well. Today, we see plenty of outspoken and witty women leading the culinary industry, but back in the 1960s, the stereotypical homemaker trope was prim, proper, and definitely void of any mistakes. Child squashed that stereotype with her comically large knife and fearless, entertaining ways. "You want amusing things, something fun and unusual," Child shared in regards to doing television (via Smithsonian Magazine). The "fright knife" brought a smile to Child's face as well as the many viewers whenever she swiped it off the magnetic strip and made what she called "whamming noises." 

Child would be pleased to see just how much impact her goofy prop knife had on the culinary community. Today, the 20-inch serrated blade is displayed at the National Museum of American History, honoring her role in the evolution of home cooking.