ONGOING

I’m no stickler for the niceties of the table. Breakfast this morning was leftover General Tso’s chicken, and my peppermint tea came from a box of bags stamped “Best Before End: 07.1994.” But I do know what the kitchen is for. It’s for sending that hulking, wizened bat and all those know-nothing zombies out in TV Land back to cooking school, mon petit chou. What? Oh, sorry. I’ve been watching so much Julia Child lately that I feel as if I can read the minds of her guests. Tune in to Baking With Julia or In Julia’s Kitchen With Master Chefs on PBS and you can sense the resentment seething beneath the chummy surfaces, as prima donnas known only to foodies take time out from their toque-wearing tyrannies to drop by the home of America’s most beloved culinary personality. My favorite moment came when Danielle Forestier, a bread-baking expert who had already deflected Child’s questions about cornmeal with a chirpy, “Oh no, we don’t use that in France,” was having trouble extracting her dough from a towel. Julia remarked what a comfort it was to see even her esteemed guest struggling with this sticky problem, and Forestier vollied back with “Linen does not do this quite as badly as cotton.” Ah, a veritable passive-aggressive duet, sheer music to the misanthrope. And now that Child’s entire kitchen has taken up residence on the Mall, you, too, can squabble where greats have gone before. Food is love; feel the love from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily at the National Museum of American History, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. (202) 357-2700. (Glenn Dixon)