Dedicated to Betty Evans
by RIC MASTEN
Slice and boil
the one that got away
the one that would play the lead
in THE SQUASH THÁT ATE CHICAGO
that always has the crowd wild eyed
My god! Is that really
Strain off the water
Adding one bouillion cube (any kind)
and one tablespoon of olive oil
to every quart of cooked squash
Puree and serve hot and steaming
with a slug of cold sour cream
dumped into the center of each portion.
Top with a sprinkle of dill seed,
salt and season to taste.
and now let us praise the chef
the only artist whose creative work
must speak to every sense
the literary labors of shakespeare are immense
feeding and filling the soul
but a steady diet of language
leaves the stomach growling
and although it would garnish your life
and delight your eye
a garden salad by picasso
would be as tasty as old canvas and varnish
and whatever the sculpture rodin
might put out on the table
would be a masterpiece for sure
but nothing you could get your teeth into.
the sound of a string quartet is more uplifting
than the sizzle of bacon in a pan
but by intermission a sweaty musician
doesn’t smell as good
the fine art of cookery demands the heart
hand and eye of a complete renaissance man
and as always
muttering into her napkin counterpoint to this
why is it when a woman cooks a meal
it’s just a meal
but when a man cooks a meal
it’s such a big big deal
My life in Paris started as a pregnant post-war bride. I was trying to learn French and cook for my husband and our art student friends. This was 1949. Sugar, butter and coffee were still rationed and Paris was having a gas strike. The small amount of gas the city allotted at designated meal times could not make it up the pipes to our hilltop Montmartre studio. I cooked on a wood burning pot belly stove for six months. This seemed to me quite Bohemian and romantic.
We had come to Paris because Gordon, my husband was attending the Academie Grande Chaumiere on the G.I Bill. He went to school in the morning and painted the streets of Montmartre in the afternoons. We had other artist friends and one of them, Lee Fraley, had found a studio just off Rue Lepic. There was a large room for painting, cooking, eating and entertaining. Lee with his French wife Collette and little daughter slept on a balcony. We slept under the balcony with a curtain for privacy. Thornton Harby, our good friend from Los Angeles, slept on another balcony. The bathroom was down the hall and shared with other tenants on our floor.
Americans in Paris tend to band together and soon we had a little group of aspiring artists that would come to the studio to share a meal and talk. One day “Harby” brought a young man from Carmel, Ric Masten, to join us. He was only 20. We thought we needed to take care of him because we were 4 or 5 years older.
All of these friends were hungry. Some lived in hotel rooms or had a room with a family. They missed the fun of dining with friends. I found that often I was stretching meals for last minute arrivals. We had a lot of soups, stews and pieces of meat I could cook in a fry pan on this one pot stove. There was always a salad with cheese and bread. I was learning the tricks of shopping along Rue Lepic and my French was improving.
The year of school was coming to an end. Our son, Bob, was born in the American hospital on a student wife’s discount. We had found a fine woven basket for him at the flea market. Life was happy and exciting. There were plans for staying in the studio and bringing tourists through. It was hoped they would want to buy paintings and we could all stay in Paris.
The food of Paris had cast a spell over me. I shopped twice a day and my French cooking was pretty good. Sometimes we ate out in small
neighborhood restaurants. I could read the menus and always tried something new to me. Many hours of my day were spent thinking about food and preparing meals. People were friendly in our neighborhood and I felt at home.
Lee had a bad cold and went to a doctor. His cold turned out to be tuberculous. He had to spend six months in the American hospital. When he recovered, his French wife wanted to go live in America. Harby decided to marry a young French lady and leave our studio. Ric was recovering from Jaundice. He thought it was time to return to Carmel and become a poet—which he did. The tourists were not buying many paintings and our funds were low. We thought it would be the practical thing to go home to California. This was the end of our Montmartre days.
The recipes in this book started with my first cooking experience in Paris. Over the last three decades I have continued to visit Paris and add to the collection. In the Fall of 1986 we spent more time in Paris to do the sketches for this book and wander around our favorite Parisian places.
This collection of Paris foods I hope is a reflection of the simple and most flavorful meals cooked in Paris households. I often think about watching a middle aged couple from our studio windows. They lived across the courtyard and had a bird in a cage in their window. I could see the man come home every noon from work. He would take off his work shirt and sit down at the wooden table. There was wine and bread always waiting for him. The women would serve. They ate slowly and with enjoyment. Sometimes they talked to the bird who would chirp back. This scene is a lovely memory and always a reminder of the joy there can be in everyday dining.
Betty Evans Hermosa Beach, California 1987
APPETIZERS (Hors d‘oeuvre)
MUSHROOMS IN THE GREEK STYLE, 3 Champignons a la Grecque COUNTRY TERRINE, Terrine de campagne SMOKED SALMON WITH VODKA, Saumon fume con vodka MIXED APPETIZERS, Hors d‘oeuvre varie OYSTERS ON THE HALF SHELL, Huitres hors d‘oeuvre froid, RADISH WITH BUTTER AND RADISH, Radis au buerre et buerre des radis, COUNTRY POTTED PORK, Rillettes de Campagne, ENDIVE WITH CAVIAR, Endive con caviar
SOUPS (Les soupes et les potages)
ILE SAINT-LOUIS LENTIL SOUP, Soupe lentille Ile Saint–Louis, CREAM OF MUSHROOM, Potage aux creme de champignons, LES HALLES ONION SOUP, Soup a l‘oignon Les Halles, CARROT AND RICE SOUP, Potage Crecy, POTATO SOUP, Potage Parmentier, EGG YOLK FLOWERS SOUP, Potage Mimosa
MEAT DISHES–BEEF, PORK, VEAL AND LAMB Les Viandes–Boeuf, porc, veau et agneau
PEPPER STEAK, Steak au poivre, BEEF BURGUNDY, Boeuf Bourguignon, FRENCH HAMBURGER WITH ONION SAUCE, Bifteck hache Lyonnaise, FASHIONABLE BEEF, Boeuf à la mode, BEEF AND ONION CASSEROLE, Miroton, STEAK GARNISHED WITH ROQUEFORT BUTTER, Biftek sauté au Roquefort, ROAST HERBED PORK, Rôti de porc farci avec des herbes, GARNISHED SAUERKRAUT WITH SAUSAGES AND MEATS, Choucroute garni, VEAL STEW, Blanquette de veau, VEAL CUTLETS IN A CREAM MUSHROOM HAM SAUCE, Veau a la crème champignon et jambon, FRENCH ROAST LEG OF LAMB, Gigot rôti Francaise, SPRING LAMB STEW, Navarin Printanier, LIVER IN THE PARIS STYLE, Foie à la Parisienne
POULTRY La Volaille
CHICKEN IN RED WINE SAUCE, Coq au Vin BAKED DIJON CHICKEN, Poulet a la Dijonnaise, NAPOLEON MARENGO CHICKEN, Poulet Marengo, MONTMARTRE ROAST CHICKEN, Poulet rôti Montmartre, ROAST DUCK WITH ORANGE SAUCE, Canard à l‘orange
FISH AND SHELLFISH Les poissons et Les Crustaces
SALMON WITH MUSTARD SAUCE, Saumon avec sauce a la moutarde, TROUT WITH MUSHROOMS, Truites avec champignons, SOLE MILLER’S WIFE STYLE, Sole meuniere, LOBSTER THERMIDOR, Homard Thermidor, SCALLOPS ST. JAMES PARIS STYLE, Coquille Saint–Jacques a la Parisienne, SOLE VERONICA, Filets de sole Veronique
VEGETABLES Les Legumes
CREAMED SPINACH, Epinards a la creme STUFFED MUSHROOMS, Champignons farcis, LITTLE PEAS FRENCH STYLE, Petit pois á la Francaise, PARSLEY CUCUMBERS, Cocombres persilles, STRING BEANS PARISIENNE, Haricots verts Parisienne, CREAMED PEAS AND CARROTS, Carottes petit pois à la crème, POTATOES GRATIN DAUPHINOIS, Pommes de terre Gratin Dauphinois LYONNAISE POTATOES, Pommes de terre Gratin Dauphinois, FRENCH FRIES, Pommes de terre frites
SALADS Les salades
PARIS TOMATO SALAD, Salade de tomates Parisienne, WHITE BEAN SALAD, Salade de haricots blancs, NORMANDY POTATO SALAD, Salade Normande, PARIS GREEN SALAD WITH VINAIGRETTE SAUCE, Salade vert vinaigrette, GRATED CARROT SALAD, Carottes rapees, SALAD NICOISE, Salade Nicoise, PARIS POTATO SALAD AND POTATO SALAD WITH BEEF STRIPS, Salade de pommes de terre et salade de boeuf Parisienne
DESSERTS Les Entrements
CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES, Truffles au chocolat, LEMON TEA CAKES, Madeleines CHOCOLATE, LEMON AND ORANGE MOUSSE, Mousse au chocolat au citron a l‘orange, HONEY BREAD, Pain d‘Epices, PEARS BELLE HELENE AND MELBA VARIATION, Poires Belle–Helene et poires cardinal, SEASONAL FRUIT AND CHEESE, Fruit de saison avec fromage, CREAM PUFFS WITH CHOCOLATE SAUCE, Choux au la creme et avec sauce a la chocolat, CHERRY PUDDING CAKE, Clafoutis aux cerises
String Beans Parisienne
(Haricots verts Parisienne)
String beans cooked in the Paris fashion are indeed a treat. Crisp green with garlic and butter, they are a joy anytime.
1 lb. fresh green string beans
2 T. butter
1 clove of garlic finely minced
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Wash and cut the beans in several vertical slices. In a quart of boiling salted water plunge the beans. Cook for 8 minutes or just until tender. Remove from the water and drain. Rinse with cold water immediately. This preserves the color and stops the cooking process. This step may be done ahead. In a frying or sauce pan heat the butter, add the garlic. Add the beans and stir around until the beans are coated. Add the lemon juice and give another stir.
This green delight will serve 4.