Julia Child, the original gear head

In 2001 Julia Child donated her kitchen to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and not only is the entire kitchen (walls and windows and all) on display, but so are a bevy of gadgets. Child was a confessed gadget freak, and it’s evident in the array of standard kitchen fare: mixers, ricers, blenders, processors, mallets, cleavers, saws and of course her beloved “fright knife.”  But especially dazzling is her collection of fish scalers, for example, or extremely specialized tools like the blowtorch, copper confiture pan and the Schnittfix II. You can take a virtual tour of her kitchen and see gadgets like these.

Straight razor: sharpened with a leather strap, Julia used this to cut the slashes on the top of baguettes.

Anti-monte lait: a French-made ceramic disc that breaks up and releases air bubbles to prevent boil overs. This one is made especially for milk.

Buffalo Iron: When Julia didn’t want to lose her boil she would stick this iron poker in the flame under a pot of boiling water. Then, after adding greens beans, for example, to the pot, she would stick this directly into the water to bring the boil back. Food cooks more quickly and evenly.