Monday, September 29, 2014

The Essence of Escoffier

A while ago, I traded the ironing of my son's shirts for some of his tech savvy.  I decided, the other day, to cash in a few of the points I had accumulated and have him set us up on Netflix. "Take that, Rogers on Demand." Even though my husband and I are polar opposites as far as tastes in movies are concerned, I felt that I could make it work by trading off documentaries for Baseball movies every other session.

Unfortunately, we had watched every baseball film listed. Scrolling down the list, I found a documentary on the Knuckleball - he wasn't interested, he doesn't like documentaries. I was about to give up, when I saw the title "Julie and Julia." OK, it's not Baseball, but it is food and he does like food!! He also likes Paris and maybe even Meryl Streep!! I thought, I'll give it a try. "Sure, I don't mind," he yawned, thinking that he could always sleep through it!!

Of course I loved the film. It was all about cooking and writing - books and blogs, with wonderful scenes of Paris and dinner parties in New York. This is a movie, I could watch again and again, without him of course, although he did manage to stay awake the entire time.

Before the film and the "blook" - a book based on a blog, I remember my friend Brenda, who also loves food and Paris, mentioning Julie's blog. The concept was mind-boogling. To cook a meal a day based on Julia Child's, Mastering the Art of French Cooking and then to blog about it, was an incredible challenge.

Picnic Dinner

I've been itching ever since to do some marathon cooking. I remembered that my brother-in-law had given me Escoffier's Le Guide Culinaire, in translation, about ten years ago. I also remembered that, at the time, I took one look at it and realized, not only was it too difficult, but also every recipe, it seemed, had enough fat content to line both the inside and outside of every artery in my body!!

Hmmmm, maybe I could find a low fat or at least lower fat entry or two. Fortunately (or unfortunately, as the case may be), I found the book and began leafing through it - there are 16 chapters - the first of which is Sauces, listed as: stocks, roux, basic sauces, small compound brown and white sauces, cold sauces, English sauces (in a French cook book!), marinades, brines and savoury jellies. In fact there are 280 sauces, beginning with Estouffade - Brown Stock, which is simmered for 12-15 hours (could I stay awake that long?) and ending with Red Wine Fish Aspic Jelly. Where does one begin?

The picture? A cold, mostly uncooked dinner. OK, I cooked the potatoes for the potato salad :)

Have a great day!!

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