A Note from Pappy

August 31, 2015

Found this ad in the September, 1960 issue of Gourmet.  

What stopped me was the picture – it looked so much like the label on my bottle of Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve Bourbon.  Then I saw the name.  

But I pass it on because it's difficult to imagine anyone writing ad copy like this today. 


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This is, I believe, the same Julian Van Winkle whose picture adorns my favorite (and sadly almost empty), bottle of bourbon. Although I must say he looks a whole lot happier here.IMG_6345

A bottle of Pappy is hard to find, really expensive – and a total treat. Old Fitzgerald is another matter. It's a wheated bourbon, and very affordable. And it's still Bottled-in-Bond.  


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Vintage Vegetables

August 30, 2015


Sitting here staring at a huge pile of vegetables from the farmers market, trying to figure out what to cook. Trolling through a pile of old Gourmet Magazines, I came upon a couple of  interesting old recipes.  These are retro classics,far richer than anything a modern cook is likely to come up with. Both intrigue me: the braised cucumbers, because I think we too rarely consider cooking this versatile vegetable, and the stuffed eggplant because, well, it's from Galatoire's and it's really extreme.  





And then, just because it's the salad season and you might be interested in exotic dressings, here are a few suggestions from May 1973 including a few I've never heard of.  Lorenzo Dressing, anyone?


This issue, incidentally, just might have one of the strangest covers ever printed. 


It is, should you be curious, "a covey of doves, symbolizing the peacefulness of the Burgundian countryside." The photograph is by the great Ronny Jaques.

Tomorrow, an odd ad from Julian P. Van Winkle, circa 1960. If I'm not mistaken, that's old Pappy himself. 

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More Vintage Gourmet: August 1951

August 29, 2015


I love these old Rheingold ads.  With their perennially blond women doing their best to make a working class quaff classy, they say so much about the culture of the time,

But you don’t need to stick to the ads to for that information. The recipes also tell us a lot about the times.  Here, for instance, are a couple of dishes from Gastronomie sans Argent, the column the editors created for people with more taste than money.



Because we’re at the height of the peach season, here’s a recipe you might actually be inclined to make. A friend just dropped a load of windfall peaches on my porch, and some of them are destined to become peach leather.  What I love best about this recipe?  You do the drying in the sun.


And given our newly coffee-conscious culture, this ad leapt out at me.  I couldn’t find out anything about Senor Pinto, but I did discover that in the fifties coffee was San Francisco’s second most important industry. 



A Vintage Surprise: Bindaeduk

August 28, 2015

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Today’s Gourmet is from 1982, but if you excise the airbrushing and the ads – mostly for cigarettes and booze – it’s easy to feel that you're floating in ambiguous culinary time. Sitting down with this issue, I’m transported to Cartagena (eating ceviches and rich soups), and then South Carolina, where I’m drinking an egg white cocktail (which was, of course, already retro in 1982.)

But nothing surprised me more than a recipe for  bindaeduk, the Korean mung bean pancake. For one, there aren’t any shortcuts. Can't wait to make this. 

For extra punch, use kimchee liquid to bind the mung bean and rice mixture instead of water. Just be sure you adjust the salt accordingly. 





And a delicious looking recipe for pyeonyuk, or pressed beef (above picture.) 





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London: The Finale

August 27, 2015

 ……Dinner at Dinner, continued


 "Powdered duck"

This is duck that’s been dry-brined (“powdered”) then cooked sous-vide so it’s incredibly tender.  On the side, an astonishing concoction of blood pudding and cream, along with ‘umbles – the offal.  In this case, fried duck hearts. 


Pork with a ruffle of cabbage.

The pork, thank you very much, is the black foot Iberico, fed exclusively on acorns.  The sauce is Robert, made from chopped onions cooked in butter, with demi-glace, pepper and a white wine reduction, finished iwth mustard.  A version of the dish can be found in Varenne's Le Cuisinier Francois, published in 1651. Although the book is in French, Varenne was Henry the fourth's chef.



 Lamb. Really great lamb. With a little rectangle of cucumber heart. That's borage on top, and mint. 


  Sea bass.  Mussels. Seaweed.  Salmon roe. 



Beef for 2; the English classic, beautifully done and served with mushroom catsup, which predates the tomato sort. 

The potatoes are sublime (butter with some potatoes whipped in) and the beef is aged, beautifully cooked, delicious. 


Beans  (not crisp!) with shallots


Carrots, beautiful carrots, cooked with caraway.


Tipsy cake with spit-roasted, rum-drizzled pineapple.


Roasted peach, yogurt, peach sorbet, jasmine. A very feminine dish.



 Strawberry tart, deconstructed. I wish it didn't look so similar to the roasted peach.  l

 The dessert to dessert, a chocolate and Early Grey pot de creme served with a rye and caraway biscuit. 

This meal wasn't cheap.  Still, with a lot of (good) wine, some cocktails, tax and tip, it came to about $150 a person. (It was, after all,  celebrating a significant birthday.) I’d say that the price/quality ratio was excellent; I can't think of a restaurant in New York where you could get a meal of this quality at that price.  London’s not cheap, but this meal… well I can’t wait for the next person in my family to have a big birthday.  As they say in France, vaut le voyage