Part II: The culinary benefits of being part French

 

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The importance of attention to detail in French cooking is truly the stuff of great film as in Haute Cuisine, Three Stars, and Kings of Pastry. Remember Meryl Streep as Julia Child in “Julie and Julia” chopping mounds of minuscule onion pieces hours on end in the Paris cooking school with the teacher hovering nearby with a stern demeanor?

Some weeks ago I shared my French grandfather Leon or Pop Rondy’s recipe for tomato chili sauce that he served with his pot roast with vegetables. As well, he and my other extremely French detail-oriented relatives all ate tons of salad.  Yummy salads with, bien sûr,  Pop Rondy’s homemade French dressing.   Unlike most of us, he ate his salad at the end of the meal – a French tradition I assume.  But first, Pop would cook his big rich meals for hours in his small Chicago kitchen.  This was for like 14 people, not counting him and my grandmother.  When the large heavy oak table was set and he was seated at the head with everyone up and down the sides,  it was a din of talk and kids’ laughter.  Very exciting – but looking up, every time Pop would have tears coming down his face.  Every. Time.  During all family meals at his house.  My father and uncle (Pop’s sons) would laugh and tease him and he would wipe the tears away and say  “Fermez les bouches, eat!”  which means “Shut up and eat”.   No problem, Pop, I’d think in my little kid mind.

His salad dressing has always been a staple at our house. People love it when they get it for Christmas in a pretty container and it contains a secret ingredient that I’ve never seen in the many vinaigrette recipes I’ve used. Try it out & see what you think. But, really truly, always use measuring cups and spoons. It is all in the details, I promise. You will taste the difference, year after year. It is that good!

Rondy’s French Dressing

1/3 cup of oil (olive or grapeseed)

2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon of minced garlic

¼ teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon of black pepper

1/8 teaspoon of Dijon mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons of Ketchup (secret ingredient)

Note: You can add a teaspoon of minced fresh tarragon or other fresh herb, which Rondy /Leon did too)

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Categories: French recipes, French-inspired lifestyle.

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