potage parmentier

stephanie wanted to know if we’d get fatter. even more so. by using mastering the art of french cooking as reference. no. certainly not. much as i love the french (just kidding), and much as i found a great teacher in julia child, her extraordinary work, though never forgotten, might pass on into the history of cooking. like elizabeth davis and jane grigson, the dazzling british food writers, who brought french and mediterranean country fare to the british, but are hardly known in today’s home cookery world. i think also of mfk fischer who wrote with such great gusto on food and its preparations, but who is mostly remembered for her belief that eating well is just one of the arts of life’.

no one of course will ever compare to our very julia, the french chef from wgbh. the voice and the woman who’s kitchen we came to regard as our own and who taught americans that boning a duck was nothing to be afraid of. true. but, i ask you, who does the duck thing these days? duck breast may be. like for my article in the examiner: ‘don’t be chicken do a duck’ and even that was a stretch. the very idea that one ought to cook along the french way seems so early sixties, which is why i found it spectacularly peculiar that someone might dare do a ‘daily page’ from ‘the art of french cooking’. cute, may be, or as an exercise in futility, possibly even an attempt to gain back the joy of cooking.

reading julie powell’s book, as i am to do for a few days, has so far made me feel for her husband. to love this guy, ‘like a pig loves shit’, must feel a little odd on his end. her approach to that most basic of foods, the egg, well, it made me begin to wonder about the foods of her childhood. i mean no one i knew as a kid ever ate spinach, and her mom’s boeuf bourguignon at ten might be much like the joy of sex (pg.30) at that age, a wee advanced. the thought of getting caught masturbating at such dinners would only be comme il faut. i did think it was sweet to start out her adult regiment with potage parmentier which really is such a lovely food, soup of the evening, beautiful soup, indeed.

our dinner tonight at riverside is poached coho salmon. a simple dish, for labor day, served with boiled red potatoes, frissee, all dallied with home made mayonnaise. the poaching liquid is mostly water, done up with some sage, thyme, peppercorns and a spoon of shoyu. the frissee is gently blanched, and the mayo has as a base roasted garlic and lots of tarragon.