Top | Tales from a Studio Apartment
(post, David Silva)
Like many, I fell in love with the film "Julie & Julia" this past summer. After leaving the theatre (almost immediately) I bought Julia Child's memoir, "My Life In France". It finally reached the top of my 'books-to-read' queue, and I eagerly devoured it. It was charming in every way possible. My boyfriend, in turn, bought the celebrated "Mastering the Art of French Cooking". Upon finishing the memoir this week, my curiosity peaked about what this food actually TASTES like. As a vegetarian, the French repertoire makes a rare appearance in my diet (apart from sneaking an occasional madeline from Bouchon Bakery). I don't think I've attempted to make anything French except for the toast. (Wow. Bad joke.) However, my newly-formed love for Julia Child has grown to such leaps and bounds that I had to finally plunge into trying out a recipe. I, at first, wanted to attempt Gateau de Crepes a la Florentine, an enormous pile of savory crepes layered with Spinach and Mushrooms. (Yum, right?) Reality checked in, and she said maybe something a little less ambitious would be better for the first dive into "Mastering". So, I settled for Soupe A L'Oignon, or French Onion Soup. Now I know this sounds B-O-R-I-N-G in comparison to the wealth of other items in such a vast cookbook but I have my reasons: 1. It's pouring outside 2. Rain storms always call for a bowl of soup 3. It has been 15 years since I converted to vegetarianism thus... 4. It has been 15 years sans French Onion Soup Julia, like every one else, does not have a "vegetarian" substitute for stocks made from veal and poultry carcasses. At the supermarket, I had a box of pre-made Vegetable Stock and my brain zapped me and said "NO!! Julia Child would never buy stock. She would make it herself". So I did. And I used "The Joy of Cooking" for help. An hour later, I had made my stock, and made Julia's recipe word-for-word. It was lovely. I'm sure a meat stock would have been far richer in flavor, but the tastes were so light, so delicate, it never occured to me how heavily seasoned American food really is. So, that was attempt number 1. Watch out for many more attempts to come. And as Julia would say, "Bon Appetit"!