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Kitchen as Text: Decoding the Influence of Julia Child on Interiors, 1962-1969 (2012)

Directed by Dr. Patrick Lee Lucas, 109 pp.


Despite the attention and dollars spent on kitchens in the current homes of today, very few authors focus on kitchen design beyond the turn of the twentieth century. A visit to the Smithsonian inspired a study into the influences of Julia Child, a pioneering celebrity chef, in an exhibit of her kitchen in the Museum of American History at the Smithsonian. By reviewing the set of Child's influential television cooking show, The French Chef (1963-1973), I observe any changes to the kitchen set from inception to the finale. I then combine this information with an investigation of the design features on sitcom kitchen sets of the same period. In doing so, I reviewed possible influences created by The French Chef cooking set. I then contrast the visual culture of media images against Julia Child's actual kitchen-turned-exhibit. In addition, I tracked monthly floor plan sizes and relationships in Better Homes and Garden, as well as the relationships of kitchens to the home throughout the 1960s. Finding possible correlations and connections between The French Chef set and the other visual culture of the 1960s, I would need to undertake much additional research to further cement this relationship. mix of counter-cultures of the 1960s sets a diverse stage for the influence of this cultural icon.

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