I learned much from this type of cooking magazine, and hauled this 20-year-old issue out for yesterday's main course, Corsican veal stew with olives
I had a farm in Africa....
Well, no. But I had a cooking blog.
It is still floating around, bereft of its custom design and many of its photos. I'm not sure what I'll end up doing with it, but for the moment it is a nagging reminder of a time when cooking was not just something I had to do, but a true hobby.
I think I burned out, or maybe I just started working full-time plus. But cooking hasn't been any more than a duty for a while. Not an unpleasant duty, but a duty nonetheless.
Yesterday, though, I pulled out the stops and did the whole French Saturday night dinner party thing: poring over recipes Friday evening, shopping all morning on Saturday, cooking all afternoon, then sprucing up the house a bit before hosting guests from 8pm to a bit past midnight.
I get by with a little help from my friend Picard
The food and company were great, bien sûr, but I also really enjoyed the whole process.
One fantastic new element of this whole process is that in my circles, it is now deemed legitimate to have one course of your meal come from Picard , the amazing French frozen food chain that makes so many's lives a bit easier.
More than one Picard dish would be a bit tacky, but a lot of people turn to ami Picard for before-dinner snacks, a starter, or a dessert.
My Picard choice was before-dinner snacks
Just put these fancy-dancy little canapés in the fridge to thaw for four hours, and voilà! Who could ask for anything more?
And who could complain about smoked salmon with savory lemon cream on a poppyseed blini?
On the left -- source for my 90s Apple Crisp recipe
On the right -- source for yesterday's Apple Crumble recipe
When I first moved to France, I liked to surprise guests with making "American food." I must have made Betty Crocker's apple crisp recipe for every other dinner party I gave in the early-to-mid 90s -- provided I could find oatmeal, of course.
Now "crumbles" are so prevalent that I wonder if young people even know they are an Anglo specialty. I made an apple one last night, but glazed it with tangerine marmelade and crushed up Breton butter cookies for the crumbly part.
That original take on the crumble got oohs and aahs, but (the other) Betty C.'s version would just be a standard here now.