ILLUSTRATION: John Wm Burdett (1943-2019)
5 Av Victor Hugo is written by Robert Burdett
Chapter 1, Ça vous plait?
Let’s talk about food.
This is largely a bread site, and readers will love what I have to say about bread and making great bread.
But I came to bread through food at one of the world’s most amazing food tables. That was in Paris. A long time ago.
And also Panama, and Mexico, and Spain. Italy. Singapore. And so many other places.
Living and eating in all of those places, and scores of other countries I’ve enjoyed over the years. You lose count after a while.
Cooking great food requires that you know where you want to go. Go where? With the taste, the smell, the look of the food that’s on the plate, the feel of the food.
I was 21 when I returned to the Midwest after a year of eating in Paris at the right hand of a woman who lived to cook.
You can learn technique with practice, but if you don’t know how you want your food to taste, smell or look or feel, the only thing that will end up on the plate is technique. If you know where you want to go on the sensory level you can study and learn how to get the job done.
“Ça vous plait, Bob?”
That’s the question, isn’t it? Do you like it? Is it good?
There would be 8 or 10 people at the table. Madame C had spent the whole day preparing the meal. She sat at the end of the table nearest the kitchen. I was at her elbow. Once we were all served and had eaten a bite she would poke me with her right elbow and say, in French: “Do you like it?” “Ça vous plait?”