Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Culinary Adventure

Here is The Escoffier: Cookbook and Guide to the Fine Art of Cookery for Connoisseurs, Chefs, Epicures, by Auguste Escoffier; Clarkson Potter/Publishers, New York.

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One never knows how an adventure will begin. This one began with questions.

Question #1: Our house guest from the Netherlands asked if Tall Husband and I would accompany him to a bookstore and help him select an American cookbook as a gift for his wife (they have one of those uber chic German kitchens...I'm so jealous!) We went to one of our favorite bookstores with an impressive collection of cookbooks.

Question #2: As I was looking for The Barefoot Contessa's latest book, trying unsuccessfully to remember her name, two other customers came into the isle. I turned to the one who looked like a teenage skateboarder and asked, not expecting him to know, "What is the Barefoot Contessa's real name?"

Before I could bat an eye, he answered, "Ina Garten," then reached into the row of books and handed me one of her recent publications.

Question #3: I was stunned and asked, "How did you know that?"

"I'm a chef," he answered.

Not only are he and his friend chefs, but they are chefs at very expensive restaurants here in Houston. What ensued was the most fascinating conversation. We discussed: mayonnaise (don't buy it...make your own in a blender!); various foreign and American cookbook authors; local and foreign restaurants (chefs eat out to sample the competition's fare;) the presentation of food; changing food fads; then they made cookbook recommendations.

One of the recommendations, which I purchased, was the American edition of The Escoffier by Auguste Escoffier (1846-1935.) So, I've been under a rock, for I had never heard of this book, which they assured me is in the library of every chef. Part one of this book begins with The Fundamental Elements of Cooking. Part II is comprised of recipes and methods (around 3,000 recipes!)

So, I'm off to conquer Bearnaise Sauce!


  1. Most of the cool tatooed guys and gals in and around the Bay Area are indeed in the restaurant business. Funny huh?!

  2. my hubby is a professional chef. actually he's teaching at a culinary school right now. but, it's true... that book is on our shelf, too. & chefs in general are: artsy, nice, perfectionist, smokers, have burn scars on their arms, & are totally HOT!

  3. I love chefs. They are NEVER not interesting people.

    PS: My opinion might be slightly clouded by the raging torch I carry for Mr. Anthony Bourdain .

  4. I used to dream of doing things like that...sigh...

  5. I love your story! Isn't it fun when we make those snap judgments (like looking like a teen aged skateboarder!) and then are quickly corrected and learn something in the experience. I was looking around at people in a crowd yesterday, wondering who might be an really nice, interesting person in spite of how they appeared to me at that moment. Thanks for the vicarious pleasure of your experience.

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