History Week Part Four: The Big Guns

Okay, enough fooling around everyone, it's time to get back to work. The winds are blowing, the days are shortening, and everyone is feeling a bit haunted by their own personal stack of unattended cookbooks. Right? That seems pretty universal. That's why characters in horror movies are always having anxiety dreams about recipes they can't finish. It speaks to all of us. I figure Cookbook #93 should prove appropriately hefty and serious for this dreary October day: Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Julia Child with Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, 1961). Provenance: Mom. Previous recipes on this blog: none. Reason for putting it off until the very end: oh, I don't know, you guys. Guess it's just so obscure. Such an original and unprecedented project to tackle. Boldly going where no blogger has gone before I'M NOT EVEN GOING TO JOKE-LINK YOU KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT MERYL STREEP IS INVOLVED FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS BUTTERY.

Sigh. Anyway, here we go, into the abyss! I would like to begin by registering a complaint.

Why is the Soups chapter--the first and arguably (by me) most important of all the chapters--the only one that doesn't have each recipe broken out in the Table of Contents? Why do I know exactly what page to turn to for Brown Sauces or Clafoutis or Scrambled Eggs or (of course) Brains but soups are just lumped together in one big uncelebrated pot? What's the big idea? Why is this book so well-respected? Why did I just realize mid-rant that it isn't organized by recipe but rather by general technique and therefore it does kind of make sense? 

Okay, I realize it's possible that I woke up on the mildly troublesome side of the bed this morning. I am applying a traditional balm of caffeine and simple carbohydrates to the irritated area. Fingers crossed, here we go! Soupe aux Choux (Cabbage Soup), from the murky and mysterious depths of the Soups section:

I almost always like recipes that use "peasant" as a descriptor. Or "rustic." I also hate shirts with collars and wearing shoes. Hmm. At any rate, this was a very satisfying bowl of soup. Or, rather, a very satisfying 18 bowls of soup. It was a big pot of soup.

Oh, I know what will make me feel better! Gâteau à l'Orange et aux Amends (Orange and Almond Spongecake)! I feel strongly enough about this recipe that I'm linking to someone else who had the energy to transcribe it!

The absence of embellishment on this cake makes it seem like a reasonable thing to have on a weekday morning night. Also, it is delicious. For real. I forgive you for the Table of Contents thing, book.

I also made this very impressive-looking Poulet Rôti:

I realize there's nothing actually impressive about roasting a chicken, unless you count the trussing. Fortunately, we have the internet to mock show us what to do! Watch out though, I found my chicken to be about thirty times more slippery than the chicken in the video. Only explanation.

Verdict: not sure my two cents are required regarding one of the most famous cookbooks in the western world. It's good! There are recipes in it! Recommended for: "the servantless American cook," it says so right there on the front page.

As previously noted, we took the girls camping last weekend so that they could explore new and exotic types of dirt.

Also not sure I conveyed the genuine plotting involved in Ivy's first grand theft Gator attempt.

Fine, we gave up trying to talk her down. It's actually in our garage right now. Good luck finding anything in there, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department!