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Julia Child's House Is Everything We Could Have Hoped for

What ‘NYT’ food writer Julia Moskin learned from a week at the Airbnb
Photo: Courtesy of La Pitchoune via Airbnb

When word broke that Julia Child’s home would become a summer rental on Airbnb before it became a full-on cooking school, food lovers everywhere stopped in their tracks and immediately started scheming trips to Provence. One of the lucky renters? New York Times food writer Julia Moskin, who spent a week there in August.

Moskin writes, “As her namesake, I hoped that the kitchen would be a place where her spirit, if not her spatulas, would remain.” What transpired was just as soul-satisfying as anyone could hope.

Photo: Courtesy of Twitch

Here are nine takeaways from her week in the iconic chef’s house that make us feel just that much closer to Child—and no less eager to book a stay ourselves.

① Because the house was a cooking school for years, it’s impossible to know which kitchen utensils Child actually used.

② That said, Moskin found many remnants Child’s hands used frequently, like a storage bin for garlic and shallots she’d labeled Ail Echalotes and “Spotted but wickedly sharp carbon-steel knives” resting in the knife block Child’s husband, Paul, built.

③ The kitchen also looks almost identical to how it appeared in the 70s, “own to the whisks, the tart rings and that big boxwood rolling pin, all hanging in their assigned places on the pegboard.”

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④ The notoriously laid-back locals in town didn’t think of her as a celebrity.

⑤ But when asked, those who remember her still attempt endearing impressions of the tall, boisterous American chef.

⑥ Cooking everything from scratch like Child did in that kitchen requires considerable physical strength.

⑦ For example, instead of cutting up cold butter to soften it, Moskin learned to smack it with a rolling pin like Child did.

⑧ Those demanding tasks make sitting on the terrace, where the likes of M. F. K. Fisher ate lunch with Child, all the more rewarding.

⑨ Child’s kitchen wasn’t huge or glamorous, but it captures everything we love about her. As Moskin puts it, it’s “a practical workshop for a home cook with a hell of a lot of work to do.” And the terrace, an ideal setting for Child and her coauthor, Simone Beck, to sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labor, “probably with shrimp guts in their hair and flour in the creases of their crow’s feet.”

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