September 28, 2015

macaron à l’ancienne

pistachio macaroons

In the fall of 2011, I was given the task of standing in line outside the newly opened, Madison Avenue edition of Ladurée, the Parisian macaroon producer. A few years earlier, I had visited the company store in Lausanne with a chef friend. He came to Lausanne for a haircut and to purchase a box of macaroons as a gift for a recipient I no longer remember. more »

September 21, 2015

gelée de tomates

tomato apsic

On October 25th, 2009, in Stockton, California, at about 12:15 pm, I ate tomato aspic for the first time. I had avoided it for over sixty years, but I didn’t even try to avoid it this time. I knew my time had come. It was tasty, but it was also a symbol of all that was bad about food from the 1950s. more »

September 14, 2015

macarons de cèpes

porcini macaroons

The date was October, 1994. It was my first trip to Paris. It was my first trip to France. It was a life‑changing eight days. Although it would be another three years before my true obsession with French food would start, this first visit definitely marked the end of my obsession with Chinese food. more »

September 7, 2015

truffe perdu

lost truffles

Some recipes work. Some recipes fail. Some recipes almost work. Some recipes that almost work can be repurposed. This is a story of a repurposed recipe. White chocolate is not my favorite chocolate, but as a delivery mechanism for sugar and fat, it’s not bad. I occasionally buy it and use it in my cooking. more »

August 31, 2015

brocoli parfumée au sésame huile

sesame-scented broccoli

I seriously cooked Chinese‑style food for only four years before I headed to the People’s Republic to eat the genuine article. I was part of a group from the US‑China People’s Friendship Association in the late spring of 1980. We were one of the first tourist groups to go to Xian. more »

August 24, 2015

pailles au fromage

cheese straws

One of the curious books I remember occupying the built‑in bookshelf in my father’s home office was The Americanization of Edward Bok. Opposite the title page was a photograph of the author. Below that was his signature. The photograph depicts a middle‑aged man with graying temples and hair parted slightly to the left of center. more »

August 17, 2015

le posset

a posset

In the eighth and final episode of the first season of the 2015 BBC costume drama Poldark, the central character’s sniveling wimp of a first cousin, Francis Poldark, sits at the head of the dining table in his ancestral home. He is unaware that he is showing the first symptoms of “putrid throat. more »

August 10, 2015

écorce de maïs

corn bark

I started drinking coffee when I was serving guard duty. The coffee was Nescafé. The place was the plain of Marathon, site of a decisive battle between the Athenians and the Persians fought in 490 BCE. The year of my guard duty was 1963. I was a Boy Scout, not a soldier. more »

August 3, 2015

macaroni et fromage à l’ancienne

old-fashioned macaroni and cheese

It’s going onto fifteen years since I first started looking at old recipes. My first venture only took me back to 1928, but by the end of the first year I was digging around in the 14th century. Now I spend much of my time reading books and manuscripts written in the eighteen century. more »

July 27, 2015

macarons de noix de coco au chocolat

coconut-chocolate macaroons

Here’s a simple question: “How many nickels are in a dollar?” I asked three students that question. Only one was willing to try to answer, and it took him three tries and a hint to get the correct answer. The students had already admitted that they had no idea about simple fractions and couldn’t do decimal math, even with a calculator. more »

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