Cassoulet, Casserole; Julie, Julia; Mother Sauces and Martha
Don’t you just love casseroles? C’mon – at least one? Your Mom’s green bean casserole? Or maybe Tuna Noodle Casserole?
What if no one were looking and it was just you and me, and I promised to keep your secret?
See! We’re all too worried about being über cool foodies that we’re ready to give up the pleasures and comforts of a well-made casserole. It’s like pining for that skinny blond who barely acknowledges you when it’s the brunette next door that’s good to you. This is the premise of Emily Farris’ new book, Casserole Crazy. (Click on the title to find it on my Powell’s bookshelf.) I mean the casserole part, not the blond/brunette part.
From Emily’s website:
Emily Farris is crazy about casseroles. A Missouri native, Emily grew up eating casseroles. After moving to Brooklyn, she began to make her own, and learned that her mother’s green bean casserole was, in fact, not her mother’s—it was the Durkee Onion recipe. Since this devastating revelation, Emily has committed her life to creating and discovering original casserole recipes, and her Annual Casserole Party has been featured in the New York Sun, the New York Post, Time Out New York and Gawker.
Good, right? So it’s no surprise that she’s pals with Julie Powell of Julie/Julia fame. (btw. you must read Julie’s post about how Martha claims the movie is about Martha cooking all those recipes from MTAOFC! WTF? I don’t think the movie’s called Martha/Julia…wasn’t there some little bell going off in her Connecticut country home, heritage chicken-raising head saying warning, warning bad lie, too easy to fact check…)
Okay, side-rant is over. Sorry.
But seriously, about these dang casseroles. I used the preparation of the Tuna Noodle Casserole to revisit the Mother Sauces of French Cuisine. See, it all comes back to Julia – not you, Martha – Julia – and French Cooking. And the point is this: there’s a reason that casseroles are so comforting. Well-made, they share at least a passing resemblance to those elegant or hearty dishes of French cuisine. Like Cassoulet.
These were my thoughts, finishing off my three-hour cassoulet* reading about casserole, and about Julie/Julia.
‘Twas a night of culinary complements: cassoulet/casserole; Julie/Julia; Casserole-Crazy Emily and one crazy chicken lady in CT.
*if you think three hours sounds long try the authentic three day recipe!