New Beginnings

Julia Child's kitchen on display at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

Julia Child’s kitchen on display at the American Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

Hello there! I’m back to blogging, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. For years, I’ve been looking for a way to marry my passion for design, photography and writing with my loves of travel, music, reading and food, and it dawned on me some time ago that I needed to start doing something about it. I dragged my feet about beginning yet another blog, but I’ve decided to give it another go, with lots more thought put into it this time. So, meet Feast & West, a place where I’m going to write about those things! I hope to bring in some contributors eventually, but for now, it’s just me. And that’s just fine.

I’m visiting family in Washington, D.C. at the moment, and today we visited the National Museum of American History, one of my all-time favorite museums. I visited the museum for the first time in the summer of 2009 when I was studying and interning in D.C. One of my friends patiently explored it with me while I hobbled around on a swollen, sprained ankle. (Don’t text and walk, you guys.) Amazingly, this gal and I are still friends despite our strange tendency to acquire ankle injuries whenever we see each other…

I remember being taken with the exhibition of Julia Child’s kitchen, but I had little appreciation for all of the stories contained in this little space. Today was much different. Julia’s kitchen has this special warmth about it — it draws you in as though she is still there, saying “bon appétit” in her sing-song voice, a glass of wine in her hand. As I stood there, taking everything in — the antique gadgetry, the copper pots and pans, the cabinets painted that 1960s mint green, the yellow Marimekko tablecloth, her framed Cordon Bleu diploma and all the thoughtful little details like baskets of fruit, her cookbook collection and kitschy fridge magnets — I felt like Julia was giving me her blessing to begin this blog finally. Maybe it was her spirit or maybe it was just her voice in a museum video playing on repeat in the background, but somehow I walked away with the confidence and inspiration to write this blog post today, the first day of another new year. When we left the museum, we walked outside under the blanket of the most incredible sunset behind the Washington Monument, which seemed to echo Julia’s sentiment. A good omen.

The sun setting on Jan. 1, 2014 behind the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.

The sun setting on Jan. 1, 2014 behind the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.

2014 seems so new, so pure, like a fresh white egg plucked from the nest. I’m a little nervous to crack it, but I can’t see it being any more trying than 2013, so bring it on. New Year’s usually brings with it a few resolutions, but I like to think of them as goals I can achieve. Today is as good a day as any to decide to do something, but something about that blank slate is so appealing. So, my goal — well, one of them — is to write and share my findings here as often as I can. I hope you’ll stick with me. Thanks for reading! Oh, and if you haven’t seen it in person, or if you need a reminder, you can take an interactive tour of Julia’s historic kitchen without having to step foot on the Metro.

Happy New Year!
// susannah