The Spice House had the great privilege of hosting Julia Child when she visited Milwaukee. She was given a list of many food related places she might enjoy, and she selected our shop as one of her stops. We very carefully planned what we wanted to showcase. The first was a cinnamon log from Vietnam. This Saigon cassia cinnamon had been off limits to our country for many years, because of the trade embargo after the war with Vietnam. Much to our surprise, in a true Julia manner, she took the log that we were simply trying to display, grabbed it out of our hands, and bit off a huge piece of it. If you have never seen a cinnamon log, it is very much like a baseball bat. The bark is essentially wood. My entire family, rarely at a loss for words, sucked in our breaths. We were afraid she would break a tooth! To her credit, Julia kept masticating this hard bark, until it was soft enough to swallow, at which point she pronounced it DELICIOUS!
The second item in which we wanted to involve Julia, was the blending of our curry powder. We had mixed up a beautiful batch, our curry powder includes around 15 ground spices. Each spice, individually placed in our giant mixing bowl, resembles an artist’s easel. When we mix the batch, envision sand art, only with spices. So intrinsically beautiful. Yet Julia charged by this display focusing on an item we were not at all proud of, bacon granules! (this was a holdover from Milwaukee salad bars in the 70s) “Bacon granules, on my, how I would like to try these! My these are good!”
Julia later wrote a letter thanking us for her visit, which is still in my father’s possession. She wrote, ” The Spice House is a local, no, a National Treasure.” This letter is one of our most prized possessions. Thank you, Julia Child.