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!      
  

9 comments:

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 dunlop 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.