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The Onion Soupçon

Not one, but two, recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking were on this evening's menu. We started with onion soup à la Beck, Bertolle & Child and went on to Poulets grillés à la diable. Not only that. There were five courses in all. The chicken came with steamed new potatoes. For salad, we had asparagus vinaigrette. Then, two cheeses, a camembert and a Shropshire blue, served with the Latest Thing, Late July saltines, made by the makers of Cape Cod Potato Chips. Finally, a store-bought, heart-shaped chocolate cake just right for four.

Neither of the Mastering dishes was difficult for me, but I wanted to follow the recipes as exactly as I could, and, aside from the conclusion that I need a better broiling pan - I'll consult Mastering for suggestions - I came away with a feeling of real success. One might not expect a chicken daubed with mustard, green onions, and cayenne to be subtle, but what we ate was subtle. It was also, to use Child's favorite poultry accolade, "chickeny." Ms NOLA saved the white-meat half of her split chicken and bagged it for leftovers: I was honored.

But the recipes aren't the half of it. The real secret of our good dinner was my understanding that I would focus on it all day. How obvious! And yet... For a few years now, I've been kidding myself with the idea that there are things in the kitchen that I can do in my sleep. In fact, although I can do them without much preparation or forethought, I end up doing them in a state of extreme pique, as if I were the Zsa Zsa Gabor of blogs. Of course darling but do you really expect me to cut up all these green onions when I should be reading The Huffington Post? Darling.

So today was devoted to kitchen matters. And what do you know? Dinner was easy and pleasant and even interesting - from a culinary point of view. It's been a long, long time since that was the case. (Conversation, with M le Neveu at the table, is always interesting, if you know what I mean by Chinese proverbs.)

Moral of the story: Once a week, I'll be a bonne femme. I won't be wearing it, but you can imagine me in Shapeless Black.


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In re: the "moral" of the story:

I certainly can:

"Remarkable! Remarkable! A stunning piece of work!"

Mmmmm, an absolutely wonderful evening. Delicious food, great company, and you have to discuss the film we watched earlier in the evening. I can't wait to feast on my leftovers!!

May you have interesting relatives!

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