Bon appétit! Stalking Julia Child in Cambridge, Massachusetts


If Julia Child, the chef who changed the way that Americans think about French cooking, was still alive, she would probably wonder why I keep turning up at all of her favorite haunts. After marveling at the gleaming copper pots and pans at E. Dehillerin, her preferred kitchen-equipment store in Paris, I decided that it was time to pay a visit to Savenor's Market, which is where Julia shopped for hard to find ingredients when she returned to the United States from France in 1961.

Julia Child with Jack Savenor on "The French Chef"

As soon as I spied the message, Bon Appetit, scribbled in the cement sidewalk on Kirkland Street, I suspected that I was hot on the beloved chef's trail. Pushing open the glass door, a large black and white photograph of Julia confirmed that I was definitely in the right place. Whether you're searching for homemade duck confit, foie gras, meat, cheese or a whiff of the culinary icon's ghost, the original Savenor's Market in Cambridge is a tantalizing destination. The butchers are friendly and the sandwich that I sampled was delicious. Made with crisped duck confit, pickled root vegetables and spicy aoili, I'm sure that Julia would have approved of "The Toulouse".

Savenor's Market, 92 Kirkland Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Following Julia's imaginary footsteps down the street, I found myself in front of 103 Irving, which is where the inspirational chef lived and worked for 40 years. Even though her home was extensively remodeled after she donated her kitchen to the National Museum of American History in Washington DC in 2001, I still wanted to see the place that Julia referred to as "my little house in Cambridge". With over 6,000 square feet of living space on three floors, five bedrooms, four full baths, two half baths and four fireplaces, Zillow reports that it sold for $3,700,000 in 2009.

Living in an area known locally as "professor's row" because of its close proximity to Harvard University, Julia was a born teacher who famously said, "If you're afraid of butter use cream" and "The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook.”

Julia, don't be surprised if you see me visting your kitchen in the Smithsonian or taking a cooking class at your house, La Pitchoune, in the South of France. They're next on my list!

Savenor's Market
92 Kirkland Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Julia Child's house. 103 Irving Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Comments

  1. What a lovely house! I saw her kitchen at the Smithsonian. It was really cool and of course Sir L took a photo of me in front of it (maybe to remind someday that I haven't opened my Julia Child cookbook in awhile?)

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    1. But you're allowed to take a break after successfully making Julia's Boeuf Bourguignon! That's quite a feat! I remember being so impressed when I read your post about it!!

      Even though I like stalking her and visiting her favorite spots, I have to admit that I still haven't made any of Julia's recipes.

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  2. What a fun post! And so well written (not to say that others aren't but this one is particularly special). And what a wonderful time to walk by her former home--looks great on that particular sunny day. I always loved how unfussy she was and how unfussy her presentations were. I think we've gone a little too far in the presentation department myself.

    Enjoy your remaining days in Boston! May the weather hold.

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    1. Thank you, Joseph!

      With regards to the weather, the photos are a bit misleading because they were taken on Saturday. It rained on Monday and Tuesday (the day I posted this). Now it's Thursday and the sun is shining again.

      I also always liked Julia's unfussy approach and her low-key response to kitchen disasters.

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  3. Whoa...the timing of this post is incredible. There's been a lot of Julia talk going around my family this past week. My grandmother nonchalantly mentioned on the phone the other day that she had dinner with Julia Child back in the 80s. She's officially been put on photograph duty to find the photo of her and Julia.

    What a great tour you went on, you stalker you! I'd love to see her kitchen in the Smithsonian! The closest I ever got was seeing it in the Julie and Julia movie...in Paris. So yeah, not close at all.

    Enjoy your East Coast getaway!

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    1. What a coincidence! Penny, of Boston Zest, just told me that everyone is gearing up for Julia's 100th birthday this year.No pressure but I REALLY hope that you write a post with the photo of Julia Child and your grandmother! Fans of Julia's have even formed a group on facebook and Twitter - @JC100.

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  4. I am NOW definitely going to visit this Smithsonian institute when I'm in DC. Unfortunately, when I used to live there it was closed for renovation for years. And that house of hers! Gorgeous!

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    1. Oh! That's a shame that it was closed. Having free access to all of the museums has to be one of the best perks of living in DC!

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  5. When I was in DC for the gala last May, my mom and brother had a full day of things to do with aerospace, so I was on my own to wander around the Smithsonian Museums...my favorite were the gems in the Natural History museum, Julia Child's kitchen, and seeing the original Star Spangled Banner...history truly coming alive!

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    1. Thanks for including the link for your DC blog post, Bridget! The Hope Diamond and Star of Asia Sapphire are incredible gems. Oddly enough, I can't remember if I saw the original Star Spangled Banner or not. It seems like the memory of it would have stayed in my sieve like brain!

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    2. It's kind of a tattered mess, frankly. It still is incredibly meaningful, but the family who had the flag cut out pieces to make souvenirs. National treasure, destroyed.

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  6. what a fun trip, i learned a lot! thank you!

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    1. You're welcome. I'm glad that you enjoyed it!

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  7. I had a chance to combine my two loves in life recently and had a two weeks' holiday in wonderful France, to which I had been before, and had loved so much. I took a little Renault rental car and headed off from Paris, to the Palace of Versailles, to Chartres then southward to sunny Provence, via the Auvergne region, with the Songs of the Auvergne playing repeated on the CD player.
    Magnifique, comme toujours. I saw many art galleries and followed the footsteps of artists, like poor Vincent Van Gogh.
    Back home all too soon, I ordered a canvas print from wahooart.com, choosing this painting by Cézanne, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8EWNWL, to remember my trip by.

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