Wednesday, January 12, 2011


...through the book is time consuming. But so much fun. And a perfect thing to do on an afternoon when the snow is melting and you have a cuppa tea at your elbow, and a perfect Pandora station playing.

Last time I left off at chapter 6. (And does it bother you when people go from using the actual number to using the word? It does me.) So this time we start on chapter 7.

Meat. Viandes. Beef. Boeuf. Steaks. Biftecks(sound like 'beef steaks? To me, too.) Ever broiled a steak? I haven't ever heard of broiling a steak, but then, I have absolutely  no experience with steaks outside of Outback, so I really can't tell if that's the normal way to prepare them or not. How about some filet steaks? Filet Mignon, anyone? Oh, and yum- Tournedas sautes aux champignons chausseur. Filet steaks with mushroom and Madeira sauce. Delicious.

(What is a foie gras? I've heard of that my entire life, but I have no idea what it actually means. After looking it up on Google just now, I've realized the truth behind the statement 'ignorance is bliss'. Specially fattened goose or duck liver?? Now I know. )

Back to meat. Did you expect a hamburger to be in a French cookbook? I suppose it makes sense, given that hamburgers are usually served with *French* fries. But I have a hard time imagining someone going to France and ordering a hamburger- why do that when they'll serve you a fish cooked in butter with some fresh vegetables? It's completely conceivable, though, that not everyone goes to France to entirely soak up the culture of a foreign country.

And here we are. Chapter 7, page 315. 'Boeuf Bourguignon'. Beef stew in red wine, with bacon, onions, and mushrooms. Oh. My. We're making this as soon as possible. You know something has to be good beyond all imagining when it needs to cook 2 1/2 hours.

Lamb. Never had it. Part of me is reluctant to try it. For someone who watched Lamb Chop as a small child, eating a lamb sounds nearly cannibalistic. But then, so did eating goat, and I've done that and lived to tell about it. So I suppose lamb won't be any different. (And if it is, don't tell me.) Moving on. Moussaka. Lamb and Eggplant mold. Hmm. Sounds interesting.

Veal. Isn't veal inhumane? Is there a way to inhumanely come by veal? Do I really want to know? I didn't think so. But pork, or ham. That sounds comfortable and familiar. Sweetbreads, however, is a no go. I absolutely and completely staunchly refuse to eat brains. No, no, no, no, no. So let's move on, shall we?

Chapter 8- vegetables. Legumes. Artichokes (D'Artichauts). Asparagus (asperges). Green Beans (haricots verts. That's fun to say.) Brussel sprouts (choux de bruxelles. We'll see how these go- brussel sprouts are the bane of every child's life. But braising them in butter might help things. After all, you can never have too much butter.) Broccoli (choux broccolli), cauliflower (chou-fleur), green peas (petits pois). Spinach (epinards. Think what you will, but I adore spinach. Perhaps it's being raised by southerners, but collard greens and spinach are 'laruppin good'.) Carrots, onions, and turnips (carottes, oignons, et navets). Basically, every vegetable that was ever heard of, and a few I've never seen, are included in this chapter, so you'll forgive me if I skip the potatoes, tomatoes, and leeks, and go on to chapter 9.

Cold buffet. Which is salads, aspics (no.), potato salad, molded mousses (not the chocolate kind- think chicken liver and fish, and you'll be closer.) Pates and terrines, and generally, all manner of cold side dishes that you can imagine, all of which sound incredibly American. Maybe some real French food made it over the Pond after all.

Mmmm. Chapter 10. Desserts and Cakes. Entremets et Gateaux. Who doesn't like dessert? Creme Chantilly. Doesn't that sound delicate and lovely? Especially for lightly beaten cream. Creme Brulee. Yum. Yum. Yum. Yum. YUM. Orange Bavarian cream. For something I usually associate with a donut from Krispy Kreme, it sounds delicious. Chocolate Mousse (Mousseline au chocolate). Yes, please. Sweet souffles. Chocolate, of course. An Apple Charlotte (charlotte aux pommes), which is a thick, rum and apricot flavored apple puree piled into a cylindrical mold which has been lined with butter soaked strips of white bread. Whoa. I think I gained weight just reading about it. And aspics.... a fruit aspic sounds perfectly acceptable. Jello, anyone? Pears baked with macaroons. Custard apple tart. Strawberry tarts (I'll feel like My Fair Lady eating those.) Crepes with almond cream? Mound of Crepes with apples, flambe? Yes, yes, yes, yes, *yes*. And then there are flans, which I've never had (I'm not an adventurous foodie, I admit.) Oh, and let's make Ladyfingers!

And 'five French cakes.
 #1- Butter spongecake (naturally. Butter.), or 'Biscuit au beurre'.
#2 - Orange spongecake (the French like their spongecake, apparently.) or 'gateau a l'orange'.
#3 - Spongecake with orange-butter filling. (and if you can combine two cakes into two, why not?) or 'gateau fourre a la creme d'orange'.
#4 -  (What do you want to bet that it's a spongecake?) Sure enough- 'Orange and almond spongecake'. Or 'Gateau a l'orange et aux amandes'.
#5 - Surprise! It's not a spongecake. It's a chocolate and almond cake. Like in the movie. 'Reine de saba'.
Then there are icings and fillings, and I think that this post is already too long, so I won't bore you with chocolate and buttercream icings, or raspberry fillings. And that's the end of the book, anyway.

I'll go fix something for dinner (or eat leftovers. Either way, I'm going to go eat.) And naturally, I'll be leaving with a song (because apart from reading and writing and boring you with a synopsis of a 650+ page book, that's what I do- listen to music. While I do almost everything.) today, it's my song- the only one I've ever heard that is written for brown-eyed girls (who are, despite scientific research, the minority in the world; at least in songs, if not in reality.) So goodnight, whoever you are.

Bon Appetit!

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