My dear friend Richard and then an article in the April 5th 2010 issue of The New Yorker Magazine alerted me to the latest upheaval in France around food. Who cares about Michelin stars? That old stodgy rating of two, three, four stars – what does it mean? Let’s be creative and make new dishes!” Is the cry of the French rebellion called “Le Fooding”. (Oh, Yeah.) Adam Gopkin who meets and interviews the originator of the group wrote the article. Its founders Alexandre Cammas and Emmanuel Rubin are two gastronomique journalists “exasperated by the conformity and conservatism of French food culture” started publishing since 2000, an annual encyclopedia of restaurants and bistros of both Paris and the provinces. (That would be fun to see.) Gopkin calls it “larksome and unusually honest”. (Personally anyone who can cook and have a restaurant deserves a look, in my book. The effort to please the fussy, fickle and spoiled public, well – it’s a helluva’ a lot of work. My motto: Cherish the cook!) Gopkin writes a good article that, if you are interested in the latest shake up in food, is “larksome” as he sorts through the opinions, ideologies, and political placement of food on the left, center or right and New Wave Cinema of the 1960s. He did mention at the beginning of the article that to understand “Le Fooding (which consists of the words feeling and food combined) you need an understanding of French history from the seventeenth century of Jansenism of Port Royal (I won’t even touch this topic, IMHO, this is a reference so obscure that it’s obscurity tells me that all is muddled and mired in the French past – Gopkin is saying – Don’t go there.) Warning: the Le Fooding chefs have crossed the pond and had events in New York with American chefs. Next event, which may have already happened, for all I know, is East coast chefs meet West coast chefs for Le Fooding. Hmmm. I guess there’s just blank space in the rest of the country – no chefs. Oh, who cares! We’ll keep our little secret of fine food and innovative chefs to ourselves up here in the Northland!
I’ll be making squash soup today using a locally grown squash that has a deep, rich orange color. Start with a whole big onion chopped, some cut up carrots and some experimental spices besides the salt and pepper and cover with water and simmer for about 30 minutes. If you are not a vegetarian you may want to start with a chicken broth. Then add the squash that is prebaked and cut up in small chunks, cover with enough water and let cook away until soft enough to be blended. Add water as needed. Towards the end I will add some rainbow chard. You can add some milk or cream at the end, if you would like something creamier, but be sure not to boil it then. Serve with crusty bread and a simple salad. Le soup it is.
If you need specific guidance, here’s a recipe from The Food Network by Alton Brown:
www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/squash-soup-recipe/index.html Retrieved October 2, 2010.
6 cups (about 2 large squash) seeded 2-inch wide chunks butternut squash
Melted butter, for brushing
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus 1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, plus 1/2 teaspoon
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
4 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon minced ginger
4 ounces heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Brush the flesh of the squash with a little butter and season with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper. On a sheet pan lay the squash flesh side up. Roast for about 30 to 35 minutes or until the flesh is nice and soft.
Scoop the flesh from the skin into a pot and add the stock, honey, and ginger. Bring to a simmer and puree using a stick blender. Stir in the heavy cream and return to a low simmer. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.