September 29, 2014
Amuse-Bouche

œufs brouillés parfumés aux cèpes

porcini-sented scrambled eggs

The afternoon in 1955 that my mother’s first television was delivered, my brother and I tried to watch Rin Tin Tin through a screen full of snow. (The roof antenna had yet to be installed.) I’m sure it was shortly thereafter when I saw my first cooking program, or at least my first cooking segment on some morning show. more »

September 22, 2014
Amuse-Bouche

carpaccio d’agneau

raw, sliced lamb

Lisa has some very tasty loins. Perhaps I should explain? Lisa is a ewe, but that in itself doesn’t explain everything. As I previously wrote, I periodically purchase a lamb from a rancher an hour south of where I live. He slaughters and dresses the lamb early in the morning. I pickup the carcass within a few minutes of him finishing, and then drive it to the school where I teach the occasional knife skills and butchery class. more »

September 15, 2014
Mignardise

biscuits « Oreo »

“Oreo” cookies

In 1824, Charles Caleb Colton wrote: “Imitation is the sincerest [form] of flattery,” and we’ve been stuck ever since with similar phrases to excuse our copying the work of others. In my estimation, no other field has as much copying as cooking. Whether imitating, duplicating, mimicking, simulating, or outright plagiarizing, to say that copying isn’t commonplace in cooking is to deny that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. more »

September 8, 2014
Amuse-Bouche

rouleau de fromage

cheese roll

The modern concept of east‑west cooking, later supplanted by fusion cooking, has been around at least since the 1970s. In one sense, it has been around forever. When an ethnic group migrates to a new area, they tend to adapt their cooking methods and recipes to locally available ingredients. The result is a fusion of sorts. more »

September 1, 2014
Amuse-Bouche

hamburger de poulet

mini-chicken burger

In August, 2013, I spent a bit over a week in Japan. My main reason for being there was to learn about and make a few Japanese knives. (A two‑part article about my trip can be found here and here.) Whether home or away or far away, I’m always thinking about whether something I’m eating or watching being made would make a good amuse‑bouche, intermède, or mignardisemore »

August 25, 2014
Mignardise

les bonbons de Martha Washington

Martha Washington candy

Martha Washington didn’t make chocolate‑covered candies. Chocolate is not an ingredient in any of the recipes in either of the manuscripts now given Martha’s name. Other ingredients of these modern candies were also missing from the recipe collections. Dried coconut wasn’t quite yet making the trip to Northern Virginia. Sweetened condensed milk, wouldn’t exist for almost another century. more »

August 18, 2014
Amuse-Bouche

bouffées de thon et algues

tuna puffs

For me, as a typical west‑coast, middle‑class kid, the iconic dish in the 1950s was a tuna casserole prepared from a can of tuna, a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup diluted with milk, and a 12‑ounce package of egg noodles. Before baking, the casserole was topped with crumbled potato chips. more »

August 11, 2014
Amuse-Bouche

gluten de blé braisé avec cinq-épices

five-spice braised wheat gluten

When I seriously started cooking Chinese food in 1975, there was one ingredient that I would run across in certain cookbooks that I had no interest in finding or trying. It only appeared in cookbooks written in China for a Chinese audience, and I was lucky that many of these books had been translated into English in Hong Kong and thus were not Americanized in any way, including removing ingredients not available in America. more »

August 4, 2014
Intermède

mousse de carotte séchée

crispy carrot foam

I recently have had the opportunity to eat at a number of modern, high‑end, hard‑to‑get‑a‑seat‑at restaurants. These have been great meals full of attractive dishes and exotic ingredients. For the most part, everything was tasty. A few times, some of the dishes seemed to be on the menu more for effect than taste. more »

July 28, 2014
Amuse-Bouche

palmier de parmesan

parmesan palmiers

Pity the poor palmier! It’s an orphan. No one claims to be its mother or father. No one stands up and says: “I made the first palmier.” Many sources claim that it came about early in the twentieth century, but none give a traceable reference. The earliest mention I can find in my books is in the 1938 edition of Larousse Gastronomiquemore »

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