October 20, 2014
Amuse-Bouche

haricots soufflées

bean biscuits

It’s been a Puccini sort of day. Giacomo Puccini has been in my head all day by way of my headphones. I’m currently on a writing binge, and I can’t write without filling my head with music being sung in a foreign language to block outside sounds. At the moment the music is Puccini’s 1880 graduation exercise Messamore »

October 13, 2014
Amuse-Bouche

mariné zeste de pastèque

pickled watermelon rind

Pickle as a noun meant the kosher dills from a local German delicatessen. Pickled as an adjective meant herring in sour cream. Both were part of my childhood, introduced to my palate by my Bavarian‑born mother. At the same time, watermelon indicated a very hot day when we’d eat outside rather than in our hot kitchen. more »

October 6, 2014
Intermède

ambroisie de pêche

peach nectar

Ambrosia is the nectar of the gods, or at least that’s how I remember it being described a long time ago in a class dealing with Greek myths. The memory is very faint. It was some time in elementary school. All those gods and their petty grievances made no sense at all to little me. more »

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 »

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