Traditional French Food

It just came to me in an instant. My brain had me type it before I even really thought about it.

I met with a lovely Texas lady yesterday, we had lemonade and looked at the view. Since then I’ve talked with two other Texans, on the phone, one my husband’s “uncle” and today his wife, his “aunt.”

His cousin, their daughter who happens to be our old dog’s hip surgeon, went to college, is very intelligent, and he wanted to go as well. Uncle has Alzheimers, aunt caring for him. His mind went in and out during our five minutes on the phone.

She called today because he didn’t remember who he was talking to and she apologized, no need, ever. They’re the sweetest couple I’ve ever met, making me feel at home at a Thanksgiving event for sixty, years ago, when my boyfriend left me alone for 12 hours. My family was six, not sixty. He said he kept checking the room behind my back and it looked as if I was OK.

I was corralled by his cousins asking if he got a job in another state would I go with him. I said, “depends upon my last name.” Then when we wed I wanted to keep mine and he was upset so I gave in.

***

That was my lagniappe. Introduction. What Cole Porter was so good at. I’m afraid I saw De-Lovely on Sunday and I remember my days studying American Musical Theater so permit me that diversion.

In traditional French food one deconstructs then re-constructs the elements. Kill the lobster, boil it, take it out of its shell while you’re making the sauce. Then assemble the plate, frame it with the shell on rice or whatever, and serve.

It’s not how people serve their families but something is familiar. It is that Mommy cut up your meat at the table. That’s classic French food. No-one has to take a snail out of the shell, it’s already been taken out, cooked, sauced and placed back in the shell with a tiny fork for the diner to take back out.

I prefer the more rustic cuisines of the Mediterranean with bright, bold flavors and fresh, local ingredients. In the time of Careme et Escoffier, French sauces, so luscious today, were designed to disguise rotting or rotted meat.

Now we have refrigerators and freezers, know how to brine, smoke, salt, dry, cure and keep protein. The frig takes the place of a root cellar. Too bad, as I’d love one! To visit my own onions and potatoes would be a joy.

The dog got the rotted meat after folks were done with it. Our dog gets premium frozen and grain-free dried raw rabbit, lamb and duck. If I do a sauce it’s a compound butter that’s been frozen, or jus. Perhaps at Christmas I’ll work up a hard cider gravy for a crown roast of pork, to go with the cornbread-stuffed apples and my brussels sprout gratin.

There are other ways to go. No money here, check out cookbooks, especially The Italian Country Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper, and The Food and Wine of Greece by Diane Kochilas. That’s just off the top of my head. Check it out, it has links. Cheers, cook well today. Dee

 

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