Friday, January 6, 2012
My breakfast with Jacques Pepin
About fifteen years ago, well before I had kids and right before I met my husband, I used to have breakfast with Jacques Pepin every single Saturday morning. Sadly I was hungover for most of our visits, but I treasured those thirty minutes of one on one time with him. And his daughter Claudine. And my roommate Erin.
Maybe I should explain this a little better.
Every Saturday morning, my roommate and I would meet up on the couch in the living room, flick on the television and watch the 10:30 showing of the PBS series 'Cooking with Claudine.' My roommate and I would sit and watch carefully as Jacques patiently explained to his daughter, Claudine, how to clean a leek ("Claudine" Jacques would say, "It should not take ten hours to clean a leek.") I loved watching their banter back and forth, particularly how Claudine would roll her eyes off camera about something her dad, Jacques, would say to her (in a condescending tone at times) or how he would heavily sigh about something she said, like when she suggested adding ketchup to a sauce. Seriously, Claudine?
I would watch this show every week and wish I could be in Claudine's shoes. I didn't have the best relationship with my dad growing up and maybe this was the father figure that appealed to me the most. In any case, I always thought I'd make a great partner on the show, one who would prep any vegetable he asked me to without any complaint. To her credit, Claudine always redeemed herself at the end of the show by picking some amazing wine to go with the meal they prepared together.
I have made so many of his dishes over the years. I made them for my then boyfriend (now husband) in a lame effort to woo him. Together, we used his recipes for friends at dinner parties in our tiny apartment in the Richmond district. Now that we have kids, we make them now and then for them.
I rarely change his recipes. You can't mess with a classic.
Penne Au Gratin (or what we jokingly call High End Mac n Cheese)
Lentil and Barley soup
Quick Almond and Plum Cake