Monday, 25 February 2013

Food, glorious food.

I love reading about food and one of my all-time favourite food
writers is Elizabeth David, who died in 1992.   Perhaps her best
known work is 'An omelette and a glass of wine', which I can
thoroughly recommend as a good read - various chapters in varying lengths, all devoted to some aspect of food.

My favourite chapter is the one from which the book takes its title -
An Omelette and a glass of wine.  In it there is an amusing story, which says such a lot about pretentiousness where food is concerned, and is just as true today.

There was once a restaurant just off the coast of Normandy called
Tete d'Or and its whole reputation rested upon one dish, which was
served every day - omelette, ham, fried sole, lamb cutlets, potatoes, roast chicken and salad.  What an enormous meal it sounds.

But the fame of the dish rested on one thing and one thing only - the lightness and beauty of Madame Poulard's omelettes.  Her reputation was such that people flocked to Mont St Michel just to experience them and a whole list of possible reasons why they were
so good grew round them.  Some said she mixed water with the eggs,  Some said she had a special pan.  Some thought she added cream to the eggs and some even said that she had a special breed of hen unknown anywhere else.

Finally, after Madame Poulard retired someone plucked up the courage to write and ask her.   Here is her reply:

Monsieur Viel,
I break good eggs into a bowl and beat them well.   Then I put a knob of butter into a pan, throw in the eggs, shaking the pan constantly.  I am happy if this recipe pleases you. 

It couldn't be much simpler than that, could it?  Try it sometime!      


Heather said...

Priceless! It makes you wonder why anyone makes omelettes using any other method.
My mother read cookery books in preference to novels.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

Great story - I love it when pretentious foodie people come to realize that food is just food, the world around.

George said...

I don't know if it's the same place, but my wife and I have dined at La Mere Poulard on Mont St. Michel. It is claimed that this is where Madam Poulard created her famous omelets. Quite a lovely place with a wonderful collection of old copper pots and pans.

Carolyn H said...

I'll bet her eggs were fresh and not store-bought. i have 6 hens, and eggs laid yesterday are so much better than eggs from a store. Those are usuall at least 7-10 days old. At this point, I can't imagine going back to store-bought. i'll have hens forever!

Crafty Green Poet said...

Crafty Green Boyfriend makes wonderful omelettes, I'll have to share that with him!

Stuart said...

I also read cookbooks like novels. My collection is over 2000 books, including all published works by E. David. I think if I had to choose one cookbook out of mine, I would choose her "French Provincial Cooking", first published in 1960. She changed the way we cook. I used to enjoy the book descriptions in a particular cookbooks catalogue. When I mentioned this to the owner, he said that he had to keep the descriptions accurate "because Elizabeth David reads them".

rachel said...

I have an elderly, much-stained boxed set of Elizabeth David books. They made mouth-watering reading in the days when it wasn't easy to find even garlic in local supermarkets!

The Weaver of Grass said...

George - I am sure it is the same place - lucky you to go there.
Stuart - I have been looking for her book on French cooking for years in s/h book shops.
Rachel - lucky you!
Thanks for visiting.

ArtPropelled said...

That's the simplest omelette recipe I've ever heard of. I look forward to testing it.