Friday, September 25, 2009

Nowhere near mastering the art of French cooking

Having read Julia Child's vivid description of it in "My Life in France", I wanted to try her aïgo bouïdo -- garlic soup. She wrote of making it with 16 cloves of garlic, and despite that the "garlic flavor wasn't harsh: it was indescribably exquisite and aromatic."

Into "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" I went, following Julia's clear, detailed instructions. That included the laborious whisking of first the egg yolks as the olive oil was emulsified drop by drop, then the egg and oil concoction as the hot soup was dripped into it. Total whisking time -- steady, without a break -- for me on this project was about 20 minutes.

The result was, indeed, an aromatic and flavorful soup without harsh garlic flavor. Yet, it was quite on the thin side, almost watery. Is that how it is supposed to be? Julia didn't say, in either of her books.

Perhaps I missed the mark in the whisking, which I thought was complete and vigorous, but which evidently left the egg aspect of the dish unfulfilled.

We partook for dinner, including Julia's suggestion of bread with cheese. But it just didn't have the heartiness to it that we are accustomed to in my fairly lengthy repertoire of homemade soups.

It also wasn't the hearty meal we are accustomed to for dinner. We concluded that I had made it properly -- the flavor and aroma were as Julia described. But unless I can figure out how to make my version thicker and heartier, it will be for us a starter dish, not the main course for future meals.

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