Monday, February 23, 2009
Fantasy French Kitchens
Like many of you my first experience with a French kitchen came from watching Julia Child.
Her TV kitchen was fascinating. I loved all the stuff! Pots hanging on the wall, knives everywhere, pottery, platters, dishes - it certainly didn't kook like my mother's kitchen!
Her first kitchen as a newlywed in Paris was very primitive. If you haven't read this book, please do read it sooner than later. Get it HERE.
Julia Child's home kitchen is now under glass ensconced at The Smithsonian Museum.
I studied her kitchen and knew I had to have hanging pots, copper if possible, or at least a peg board.
I travelled to France too, and would devour with my eyes the real kitchens I saw there.
It didn't have to be a country kitchen. Even the small kitchens in Paris apartments held so much charm and inspiration.
Beamed ceilings and rustic plaster walls were other things to emulate.
Stone and brick floors also fascinated me.
Not to mention vaulted ceilings with brick work or stone
I visited the chateaux, and their kitchens.
Now there are so many great images to inspire. Joni from Cote de Texas, Brooke from Velvet and Linen, Willow Decor, Shawn from Country French, Things That Inspire, Vicki Archer of French Essence, Sylvie of So Sylive, Corine from Hidden In France - are all blogs with huge archives to look at. Please go to my blog roll for their links.
While in the kitchens of France I saw metal furniture, rattan chairs, pine furniture, armoires and dressers, clocks, tall pot racks, bakers racks, etc. I saw kitchen tables and rough butcher blocks, but I didn't see islands or chandeliers back then. Now of course design is global, so even the French have these things.
The one predominant theme in all versions of French inspired (or Belgian or Italian or Spanish or Portuguese) kitchens is a touch of romance. We want to feel sensual and romantic in our kitchens.
Even though many of the images might be show house kitchens, or maybe kitchens that don't see much cooking, they still manage to convey the feeling of a great meal prepared and shared with loved ones is about to happen.
Chandeliers in a kitchen are now expected, as are large oversize lanterns.
The vaulted brick ceiling is even reproduced in a modern interpretation.
Accessories and accents are fun to add.
White is a popular color way in many French fantasy kitchens.
And always some kind of stone counter top seems to rule the day.
Homey touches like sink skirts pay homage to the rustic kitchens of the past.
But how would you like to go and visit a real French kitchen, to cook in it? Here's one for you with all the things we've come to love about a French kitchen: pots hanging, knives, rustic butcher block, and even an Aga cooker, a stove that is mysterious and fascinating to me, something I've always wanted to learn to use.
In this house in Normandy lives a woman named Susan.
Susan lives year round in the lovingly-restored convent in the center of Louviers and across the street from the Gothic Church of Notre Dame de Louviers.
As an internationally-recognized expert on food, Susan takes a unique approach to her craft; combining training in journalism with a love for food and the people who produce it.
Extensive travel throughout the United States, France, and Italy has given Susan a depth of knowledge and an appreciation for the rich traditions around food—how it is grown, harvested, and prepared. Susan believes that learning about cooking and food should involve much more than recipes and techniques. She delights in meeting and introducing the personalities and customs behind the great cuisines of France.
She runs a cooking school in her home. And yes, you can take classes there.
Her immense and awe inspiring home provides ambiance and inspiration for meals served in the dining room and in the courtyard al fresco.
The cathedral is right next door, and the chiming bells in the bell tower is the clock of Susan's house.
Of course there is a wine cellar.
These are a couple of the bedrooms of the many in the large house. Though Susan does not offer accommodations in her home, she has some suggestions of charming places to stay near her home.
I love the roof line of her home. It looks this way because of the various additions to the house over the centuries.
To learn more about Susan and her house and cooking school go HERE.
Why not take a fantasy trip to France and cook in a real French kitchen?