My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme
We have just completed chapter 2 in the book in which Julia begins her lessons at Le Cordon Bleu.
To be honest with you, I thought Le Cordon Bleu was a chef school here in Minneapolis. Whenever I would stay home sick from school, watching daytime television, there were always commercials about getting an education. Vo-tech schools, mechanic schools and yes, Le Cordon Bleu. I did know the words were French.
Le Cordon Bleu is French for the blue ribbon. According to wikipedia, there was a group of knights who had all been awarded a badge of honor – the Cross of the Holy Spirit – which was attached to a blue ribbon. These knights were known for their elaborate feasts. Later, a French culinary magazine named itself after the group – La Cuisinière Cordon Bleu. The magazine would sometimes offer cooking classes and this eventually evolved into the idea of establishing a cooking school to promote and preserve the art of French cooking.
I searched the ENTIRE web for a good photo of the school. Apparently the building is not that interesting because I found only a handful. I did find this little ditty that you can purchase HERE:
And these were the only pictures of Le Cordon Bleu I could find but I don’t have permission to use them so you’ll have to visit the blog to see them. By the way, I accidently stumbled upon this blog and it happens to be a great account of one American’s experience taking classes at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Loads of stories and pictures – be sure to check it out.
I had to stop reading her posts – it’s 6:30 am and I have to finish my own post! Did anyone read the bit about making scrambled eggs? When I read it, I thought to myself – these French take their cooking far too seriously. How hard can it be to make a good scrambled egg? So I posed an experiment to prove how right I am – I made scrambled eggs just as Julia describes in the book. It took forever – cooking them on low – I added only a bit of butter to the pan and a tiny bit of cream toward the end. I slopped the eggs onto my kids plates and stood back and waited. I had told them nothing of my secret plan.
They loved them. In fact, my picky eater exclaimed, “Mom, these are the best eggs you’ve ever made. What kind of cheese did you use?” Wow. No cheese. Really? Hmmmmmm. Damn it. Now I am slow cooking all of our scrambled eggs and going through a carton of 18 faster than I care to admit.
I also had an adventure cooking up FoodieMama’s Coq au Vin. First of all, let me tell you, it was divine. Absolutely mouth-watering. Even Picky-Eater raved about it. Kelly omitted the cognac for those of us with a limited pantry – you know – salt, pepper, season salt. But I made up for the flaming cognac by lighting a roll of paper towels on fire instead, almost losing my whole plate of carefully boiled and sauted bacon.
I am the daughter of the assistant fire chief but instead of grabbing my mini-fire extinguisher (which is next to my stove), I started screaming at my husband and fanning the flames with a kitchen towel. Thank god for forgiving husbands who also know how to put out paper towel fires. (mom – don’t tell dad)
Her next Julia-inspired recipe is Beef Wellington – but with a fabulous twist. I will be trying this recipe out this week. Thanks, Kelly, for the fantastic blog!
Next Assignment: We’re going to push through the next two chapters. Chapter 3 – Three Hearty Eaters and Chapter 4 – Bouillabaisse a la Marseillaise.
My apologies for dropping Kid Lit. on Friday. I underestimated how busy our first week back to school/work would be.
ps. I made a batch of pumpkin muffins late last night for the kids’ breakfast because our dog ate the entire new loaf of bread that I bought. I forgot to put the muffins out of reach. He ate two dozen pumpkin muffins and I’m about to tear him into small brown pieces. He looks like a boa constrictor that’s just eaten a small deer.