Bon Appétit! Julia Child’s kitchen at the National Museum of American History

by Sandra Hutchinson

In 2001, when the food historians at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. learned that famous chef, TV personality and cookbook author Julia Child (1912-2004) was selling her home in Cambridge, Mass. and moving back to her home state of California, they contacted her to discuss the possibility of including some of her culinary objects in the museum’s collection. They were invited to visit Ms. Child in Cambridge, and she agreed to donate the entirety of her kitchen to the museum — literally every object that she had collected and used in her kitchen from the late 1940s, through 2001, including appliances, pots and pans, cookbooks on the shelf, even the magnets on the fridge.

The signage says the only things the museum added are the plastic tomatoes (in the trug) and bananas in the bowl on the table. Also, the museum recreated the linoleum floor from Ms. Child’s kitchen out of paper.

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A week in Beatrix Potter’s Lake District in England—a bit of heaven

by Sandra Hutchinson
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Many people know of Beatrix Potter, the English writer and illustrator, because of her series of beloved children’s books about Peter Rabbit and his friends. 

But Miss Potter (1866-1943), later known as Mrs. Heelis, was far more than a genteel Victorian lady who penned stories about woodland creatures like bunnies and hedgehogs and painted charming watercolors of them wearing human clothing. She was a naturalist, a conservationist, a scientist (a mycologist, to be exact), a visionary merchandiser of her products, a farmer who raised Herdwick sheep, and a far-sighted land preservationist. 

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Must see (and taste) in London: Harrods and Fortnum & Mason Food Halls

by Sandra Hutchinson

It might be a touristy thing to do, but when in London, many visitors feel compelled to make at least one visit to the Food Halls at both Harrods and Fortnum & Mason.

Harrods Food Halls are legendary. Located in a sprawling building on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, Harrods is now owned by the state of Qatar, but the Food Halls are still quintessentially English. The space is not only a feast for the palate, but for the eye, too, with magnificent tiled walls and ceilings, gleaming glass cases filled with everything from meat pies to Scotch eggs to locally-sourced shellfish to exquisitely crafted tiny cakes, smartly outfitted and aproned staff wearing straw boaters, and a seemingly unlimited selection of teas and biscuits. There are dine-in options (like the Seafood Bar and the Fish & Chips counter), and a vast selection of prepared foods perfect for a picnic in nearby Hyde Park (or in your hotel room).

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Los Angeles— travel tips and a few of our favorite spots to visit

By Sandra Hutchinson

With our older son living in, dare I say it — Hollywood —we have been making regular trips out to Los Angeles from northern New York state to visit him since he moved there in the fall of 2014. A city that initially seemed to us overwhelming in its sprawl and sheer unmanageability now feels more familiar. We’ve found neighborhoods, restaurants and spots we particularly like, and my husband and I have grown to look forward to our periodic trips to La La Land.

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Seen from the air —flying west into LAX, downtown Los Angeles rises above a sprawling expanse. In the distance are the Hollywood Hills, part of the Santa Monica Mountains (that white horizontal blur near the left side at the top of the first range is the famed Hollywood sign), and the San Gabriel mountains beyond.

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Thanksgiving dinner: the mother of all menus

By Sandra Hutchinson

I’d bet that nearly everyone reading this can recite, item by item, every single dish served at their family’s Thanksgiving table while growing up. The Thanksgiving menu is pretty much inviolate. Even the slightest change is noticed by all. I think I still remember the year my mother started adding apples to her stuffing.

Getting the place cards ready—Pilgrims ready to be labeled, along with their flock! The turkey cards are from Caspari. (See my post from 8/16/16 about Caspari.)

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A weekend in Old Montreal

By Sandra Hutchinson

During one of the unseasonably warm weekends we experienced this October, we headed north to Montreal with friends to enjoy some old world ambience and great food. Montreal is less than 180 miles north of our home in the Glens Falls/Lake George region of New York, and it’s an easy and scenic drive up the Adirondack Northway (Interstate 87).

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Santa Monica and Santa Barbara Farmers Market — feasts for the senses

By Sandra Hutchinson

It’s a long winter here in northern New York State. Now that it’s warming up, we look forward to our local outdoors farmers markets that will spring to life in May.

We were lucky to get an early taste of some outstanding California farmers markets during a visit to Los Angeles (including Santa Monica) and Santa Barbara in March. No visit to southern California is complete, in my opinion, without a visit to one of the region’s fantastic farmers markets. (N.B. Per the AP Stylebook, I’m not using an apostrophe in “farmers markets” because it’s a descriptive, not possessive, phrase.)

I’m sharing some of my photos from two of those markets — one, in Santa Monica (said to be the largest farmers market in the state), and the other, in Santa Barbara.

 

Quintessential southern California— blue sky, palm trees and luscious produce available at the many farmers markets. Here, Santa Monica’s Wednesday downtown market.

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