Sunday, August 09, 2009

Mastering the Art of French Cooking

One of the things I love about preparing meals for my family is the joy I see on faces - especially the children (who love breakfast time). Periodically I'll ask the little ones what they'd miss about Nana (me) and the answer I mostly hear is - your pancakes. I take that as a serious complement that shows I'm (through pancakes) influencing their little lives through the power of . . . food.

I also love finding ways to prepare food that's growing fresh from my garden or from the farmer's market.

After watching Julie & Julia this past Friday afternoon, I felt so confirmed by Julia and her love of preparing food - especially for her husband. I think Julia - in her day - was - like I am - in my day - trying to reclaim something of the value and importance for women to re-establish a love relationship (of sorts) in preparing real food - not something that comes from a box.

One thing I loved about the movie was the heart shown in practicality and functionality of the French kitchen.

Carolyn Clifton Mogg explains it well in her book French Country Living - The essence of a kitchen is its equipment. The French country kitchen frequently contains much that has been handed down, and these treasured objects are arranged and displayed with a view to their aesthetic possibilities as well as to their accessibility.

This is not to say that there is nothing modern in the
French country kitchen - cooks everywhere love a shiny new saucepan - but in addition to the new pieces there will be the pestle and mortar that belonged to a grandmother, or the well-used cutting boards and worn knives that have been handed down through the family.

Utensils and dishes are often stored in the ubiquitous armoire - the large wooden cupboard, originally used for storing linen, which seems to be present in nearly every French country house in one guise or another....

I remember watching Julia Child, as the French Chef. Check out these clips:

I also remember having a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking in my selection of cookbooks. What happened to it - I don't know but after seeing Julie & Julia with Meryl Streep, I'm thinking I just might re-invest in a copy.

What's your relationship with your kitchen? How about your husband and/or children? What's your favorite recipe? Do you think there's a new "movement" of sorts where younger women are wanting to learn to cook and in a sense let love flow from their kitchens?

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