I didn’t mean to write about Campbell’s soup. You see, I started out pondering a super French soup recipe, Velouté aux Champignons. Somehow I ended up contemplating Campbell’s canned Cream of Mushroom Soup, definitely not one of Antonin Carême’s sauces mères or Mother Sauces (velouté, espagnole, allemande, béchamel)! Though you could argue that Campbell’s soups … More From Velouté to Casserole: A Question of Green Beans, Amandine, and Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup
It’s maddening, but true: we know very little about the authors of some of best cookbooks ever written in America. Thanks to today’s 24/7 media cycle, Paula Deen’s foibles and Rachael Ray’s battle with her weight are no mystery. But we know next to zilch about Lettice Bryan, who wrote an amazingly detailed, 1300-recipe cookbook, … More Lettice Bryan’s Forgotten Cookbook, The Kentucky Housewife, and Squirrel Soup Two Ways: A Touch of Americana
Just outside my front door, ice sparkles on the small brown bridge. I know the signs: autumn fled like a thief in the night. Only yesterday, leaves blazing scarlet and saffron hung like Christmas baubles on the trees. Now there’s nothing but a memory of those exquisite jewels. Time to burrow and savor the stews … More Picturing the Last Weekend of Fall
Begin with a washing of hands, cleansing and purifying, before approaching the stove, as to an altar. Pouring water into a pot, do you remember the source? Rain, clouds, rivers, streams, lakes, oceans … Transformation, from elements and compounds and chaotic matter to life. Essence. Alchemy. In your hands, a cook’s hands, water shape-shifts into … More Water, the Essence of All
According to an article (in French) recently posted on the ASFS (Association for the Study of Food and Society) discussion list (a great list for people interested in food and culture in all their permutations), 25 — yes, 25 — familiar fruits and vegetables — many that you might consider quintessentially French — will soon … More Disappearing Act: Will Centuries-Old French Fruits and Veggies Go the Way of the Dodo?
“The French peasant cuisine is at the basis of the culinary art. By this I mean it is composed of honest elements that la grande cuisine only embellishes.” ~ Alexandre Dumaine A succulent soup provides a glistening gem of daily nourishment during all the seasons of the year, but especially during autumn, that narrow doorway … More Cooking in French: Soup – Cuisine’s Kindest Course*
With Lent fast approaching (February 17, 2010), an examination of fasting and other fleshly challenges seems apropos. Religious-based fasting, in the history of English speakers anyway, belies its importance in the commonly used word for the first meal of the day: breakfast or “break fast.” After all, for much of Western European history, almost half … More The Black Fast, a Mortification of the Appetite