Julia Child Was Ahead of the Game When It Came to Using This Trusty Kitchen Tool

Julia Child on a designed background
Julia Child on a designed background

Getty Images / ABC Photo Archives

After years of cooking for public television audiences, Julia Child eventually began taping her show from her own home kitchen in Cambridge, Massachusetts. That home kitchen became so iconic that it was donated to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, where everything from the pegboards full of saucepans to the green countertops are preserved—including some of Child's favorite kitchen gadgets.

That includes the trusty tool she used in her own recipe for pie crust and kept within arm's reach in her kitchen: her food processor.

In Child's kitchen at the Smithsonian, there's a KitchenAid food processor just like the one that would have been available to typical consumers at the time. The brand's 13-cup model (buy it: $250, Williams Sonoma) is still racking up five-star reviews. The museum notes that Child also owned a prototype of one of the first food processors ever made, a Robot-Coupe Magimix (buy it: $300, Williams Sonoma), in the 1960s.

Related: Julia Child Served This Really Surprising No-Cook Appetizer Before Thanksgiving Each Year

She even stopped by the Dick Cavett Show in 1978 to show off her lightning-fast food processor—by that point, Cuisinart had developed its own version for American cooks. (You can pick up a Cuisinart food processor for as little as $40, depending on the size you want.) While some "food snobs," as Child called them, may have turned up their noses at the mechanized chopper, the chef said that any reasonable tool that makes home cooking easier and more accessible was worthwhile to her.

"The important thing, I think, about the machine is that it makes it possible to do what we would consider haute cuisine—really fancy dishes—just in seconds," Child told Cavett on the show. "If you're the home cook, and you've got to get the meals out every single day on time, the faster you can do it, the better."

Her longtime cooking partner on television and in cookbooks, Jacques Pépin, also remembers Child pioneering the food processor. "She was really happy to be able to use [the food processor]," Pépin tells EatingWell. "And it was the beginning of that type of equipment, and she certainly wasn't against it." (Pépin himself occasionally uses a KitchenAid food processor on his own show—you can pick up a smaller version for $100 at Home Depot during their early Black Friday deals event.)

We're pretty big fans of a sturdy food processor at EatingWell—our Test Kitchen and Editorial Operations Manager Breana Lai Killeen says the machine is a must-have for Thanksgiving dinner prep. And if that's not enough, just trust Ina Garten, who says her Cuisinart model is an essential piece of kitchen equipment.