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Gastronomique - A little less than a happy high — LiveJournal
My current favorite cookbook is entitled The French Country Kitchen. I picked it up a while back at the not entirely aptly named Buck-a-Book for in the realm of $7.00. All told, it was a steal, though I am beginning to understand why it didn't sell particularly well on its general release.

The book eschews the painful refinements of haute cuisine in favor of looking at the origins of French food. Here, you will find the simple and hearty fare that has likely been staple to the average French diet since agriculture was brought to Western Europe. The author spends a great deal of time talking about how she collected material by talking to people in villages all over the country. (Nice work if you can get it.) As a result, the book is as much a travelogue as it is a collection of recipes.

Of course, it's possible that recipes may not be the most appropriate word here. Perhaps better would be guidelines. There is enough that is vague or assumed in the instructions that very often, I find that I am winging it a little to figure out what needs be done. It sort of pushes me in the right direction without giving me hard and fast rules about what needs be done. It gets even more fun when you start digging through the text to find variants and new dishes with very little explanation beyond, "In Poitou, this soup is enjoyed with an abundance of garlic..."

Last night's project was soupe de tomate avec haricots made with tomatoes that Brenda gave me from her dad’s garden. It came rather thicker than I had anticipated, but was otherwise delicious and went well with the pear wine that Drew and Jen abandoned at my place.
7 comments or Leave a comment
wildflowersoul From: wildflowersoul Date: September 15th, 2003 02:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Glad you liked the wine =)
komos From: komos Date: September 15th, 2003 02:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
And I didn't even crack the second bottle. ^_^
guitarcries From: guitarcries Date: September 15th, 2003 08:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have a similar one that I bought in Italy, concerning Italian cooking of course. It's published in English, with a sometimes sloppy translation, but that makes it more kitschy I suppose. Sometimes the author leaves out measurements for every item in a recipe, and frequently just rambles out some anecdote rather than detailing the recipe itself. It's a fun book though, as much fun to read as it is to cook with. Definitely forces you to be a cook rather than just a robot reading and following directions.
komos From: komos Date: September 16th, 2003 06:16 am (UTC) (Link)
At this point, I've enough experience with things other than red meat (I don't eat that much of it), so I'm able to make reasonable guesses as to what needs to happen when or how much is too much of a good thing. It's good for me, and it keeps me thinking.

And I love sloppy translations. They make me laugh.
guitarcries From: guitarcries Date: September 16th, 2003 07:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, things that keep you thinking definitely are good. And you're right about experience, not only does it give you working knowledge, but it gives you the courage to just put things together without a recipe at all. Today I made eggplant parm, the whole shebang in a casserole from scratch with no recipe. And it came out pretty good!
From: uruz Date: September 16th, 2003 01:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's so cool to read about your cuilinary exploits. I'm content with a medium-well slab of beef on the Foreman Grill, a slice of cheese, some ketchup, and a potato roll... and then I read about your dinner, and I suddenly feel very ignorant. Sounded good, though...

Hey, maybe THAT'S your calling... open a restaurant! You've already got the mad pottery skills to decorate the place. :)
komos From: komos Date: September 16th, 2003 02:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
My favorite thing to do with the Foreman involves marinated portobellos, but I suspect that's largely due to my near-vegetarian habits when cooking at home. I will say this, though... if I am eating beef, I prefer it medium rare.

And thanks. ^_^

It might be something to consider once the indentured servitude is up. Right now, it's a little too much on the risky side. Still, there are weird ideas kicking in my head, and I may post them here before too long.
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