Recipes for Big Things

About Chiles…

September 3, 2015



This is from the January, 1985 issue of Gourmet – one of those issues that’s filled with fantastic food and intriguing articles.  Trolling through I found a wonderful photo of a young Jacques Pepin, some souffle recipes I can hardly wait to try, an ode to parsley, an article on young American cheesemakers. And part one of the series on The Cuisine of Mexico by the always wonderful Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz.

In this article she’s dealing with dried chili peppers, offering recipes for moles, tingas, and pipians. The recipes all sound wonderful, but this one, pictured above, sounds both easy and very delicious. Here’s the recipe.

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The Mutton Chop of Fish

September 1, 2015

What, you might ask, is this?

No, this little fantasy is not dessert. And yes, that fish is real. This improbable confection on the cover of a 1952 issue of Gourmet Magazine is  filets de sole Joinville.  

I like to imagine America's bravest cooks eagerly devouring this recipe, running out to buy the (extremely long) list of ingredients, and then balancing that final mushroom in the middle. Had their friends arrived yet? What else was for dinner? Did anybody request the recipe? And where did they find the truffles?  We’ll get to the recipe, but first, a word from Gourmet’s editors: 

“The ancient Romans and before them the Greeks, no mean gormandizes, wisely considered the sole the most dedicated of fish and esteemed it for its nourishing and light flesh.  They went so far as to compare it not to the mutton chop in the Englishman’s tribute but to the partridge.  And, of course, they recommended sole, along with other fish, as an aphrodisiac, which was always their perfect and ultimate tribute…”

And for the curious, a note on M. de Joinville, after whom this delightful dish was named: 

"Filets de Sole Joinville was named after the son of King Louis Philippe of France. “Prince de Joinville” was by training and inclination a sea-faring man and had commanded the ship which brought the remains of Napoleon home from St. Helena. Like Lafayette a war or two earlier, Joinville came to the States, no longer United, to offer his services and those of his son and his two nephews to the government at Washington.  After the war was over, Joinville wrote an count of the Campagne du Potomac, La Guerre d’Amerique. For this Joinville, otherwise remembered very little for his services to his country and to ours, a dish of filets of sole was named. It is a most worthy dish, very beautiful, as you can see on GOURMET’S cover this month, most delectable, as you will find for your self when you have ventured it. “

Now for the recipe. It speaks, I believe, for itself:  IMG_4021 (1)

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Some Pig from the Past

August 9, 2015


This issue of Gourmet, January 1951, has lost its cover.  Which is too bad; according to the copy inside, the illustration was a pig's head in honor of the magazine's tenth anniversary.  (The first cover also sported a pig's head.) But what's left is rich indeed. A great article by Louis Diat about the Ritz.  Some fine Food Flashes from Clementine Paddleford.  An article about halibut by the great Robert P. Tristram Coffin.  Samuel Chamberlin on Franche Comte (along with a recipe for cherry soup that I'll print tomorrow).

Then there is this rather remarkable article that tells you how to cook the pig's head – along with every other part of the pig. Herewith, a small sampling. Personally, I find La Pompadour's recipe really does make me want to eat my heart out. 












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Vintage Chicken

August 6, 2015


It's June 1983, and on the cover of Gourmet two chefs in Wales head out to the kitchen garden to gather food for dinner. Early farm to table!

Inside the ads are primarily for cigarettes and booze – although there is this rather wonderful ad which says a great deal about what people worried about at the start of the eighties.



As for recipes…. this one, for a sort of Spanish chicken, impressed me as very much of its time.  (Although I am puzzled by the size of the chicken; when was the last time you saw a bird this small?)



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