My First Cookbook

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Reading my first cookbook, Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells, is like taking a stroll down memory lane…

Among its vintage photos and whimsical illustrations, which I copied as an art student, are recipes from bistros everywhere in France. Once, I made a monkfish soup that ended in disaster because I did not remove the membrane from the fillets; they curled up into tight balls, which was appalling (see my post “Mock Turtle Soup”). Long ago, I gave a dinner party with a buffet salade nicoise and used seared, fresh tuna instead of the traditional canned (see my post “Au Plein Air”). I used to serve pears in red wine for a holiday dessert because of their beautiful ruby hue, and give vanilla sugar in decorative jars as a gift. Many classics are included that I have made over the years, such as split pea soup (see my post “‘Pease porridge hot…'”), warm potato salad, and roasted chicken (see my post “Roasted Chicken”). There are discoveries I have made along the way, for instance that French green lentils are the only ones suitable for lentil salad (see my post “Lentilles du Puy”) and that preparing salt cod is well worth the effort (see my post “Salt Cod”). And finally, the variations on potato gratins (see my post “Potato Gratin”) and chocolate cakes (see my post “Gateau au Chocolat”) require trial and error, if for no other reason than to taste them over and over.

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