Food, food culture, food as culture and the cultures that grow our food

Cèpes are proof that Gawd loves us, and wants us to be happy

August 29, 2006

boletus, cèpe
Today in the market it was all pointy elbows and wingflappenings. Watch out for elderfolk in packs.

‘Cèpes are proof that Gawd loves us, and wants us to be happy…’ Also sprach Ben Franklin. At least that’s what folks down here in Occitania are saying he said. Then there are the other folks with a different take on the true sujet of this quote, but my point is, I’ve just eaten some cèpes and I’m quite convinced they could whoop any truffle’s ass.

“Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our woodlands; there it showers upon the leaf mould, to be changed into cèpes; a constant proof that Gawd loves us, and loves to see us happy…”
Benjamin Franklin in a letter to AbbĂŠ Morellet (1779)

Thank Gawd for cèpes.
Vielen Dank.

boletus, cèpe
Cèppity peppity!

Today the cèpes appeared for the first time at the market. Not local ones, but from two faraway sources, the Lozère (€ 8,- per kilo, looking a bit poorly, wetly and wormly), and the Ardèche (€ 20,- per kilo, sheer perfection). I bought two from the Ardèche and raced home to get on the horn with Peggy and gloat.

Since the onset of unseasonally cool weather, I’ve been pestering our resident mushroom expert Peggy to go mushrooming with me. Never mind that she’s wearing a cast up to her knee or that she can’t walk without crutches. We’re talking cèpes! Peggy, a bonafide mushroom freaque, has offered to sit in the car while new-guy-in-town Ari and I proxy-crawl around through the leaf-mould on our bellies.

boletus, cèpe
I wish I had found this here big pile o’ cèpes!

The two cèpes that I bought didn’t make it past lunch. No time for taking pictures. I just brushed them off, sliced them thinly and fried them in slightly salted butter. This became the topping for some full-fat scrambled eggs (eggs whipped up with more than a llittle creme fraiche, fried in the mushroomy butter). We devoured this heavenly meal with our eyes closed and then licked the remaining beads of cèpe butter out of the bowls with our fingers. There was a lot of sighing. And that’s when we started with the crazy proclamations, like the one about cèpes being more delicious than truffles! It was just one hour ago, but I’m still bringing my hands to my nose to inhale deeply.


Please pray that it rains on our mountains.

synonyms: Bolet comestible, Cep, Cèpe de Bordeaux, Champignon Polonais, King Bolete, Penny Bun, Porcini, Steinpilz

debra at 16:38 | Comments (1) | post to

This year’s potatoes, last year’s mushrooms

August 26, 2006

Purple peruvian potato mash with pickled grey agarics
Peruvian purple potato mash with pickled grisets (tricholoma terreum). Colours unretouched.

It’s a luxury to wear yer bikini top as a bra and to get sick of peaches and yer own homegrown tomatoes, but now that the temperatures are regularly dipping below 28°c, Lawd knows we need our carbs. I’m longing for autumn’s heavier food and I can’t wait to go mushrooming, so this morning I went on a one course sabbatical from summer food. Good thing we’re not really subsistence farmers because we’d be subsisting on this one meagre portion. The rest of the Purple Peruvian potatoes are still unseasonally in the ground, as tiny as you please. Next year’s seeds.

What do they taste like? Good texture, nutty and full of flavour, almost cashew-like. I recommend eating these Peruvians. But growing them? For a potato that’s supposed to be hardy, they didn’t stand up very well to the neglect and covercrop takeover that they suffered at K’tje’s hands this year. I’m reserving judgement until next year when I give them a go in my own kitchen garden. They’re so beautiful, it’s like handling jewels.

Mash in the making
Mash in the making. Colours unretouched.

Potato Mash

2 parts potatoes
1 part creme fraiche
pinch of fleur de sel to taste

Boil potatoes dirty and unpeeled in a pan of salted water. When they’re soft enough, pour off the muddy hot water and fill the pan with cold water. Let sit for a moment and then peel the papery skin off in one fell swoop. This is the easiest method for removing jackets from potatoes. Just the jacket and nothing more.

peruvian purple potatoes
Peel thusly. Colours unretouched. (Please

debra at 23:39 | Comments (5) | post to

Perfume food, Comme des Bonbonieres

August 24, 2006

image of CDG parfums taken from the weblog
Image of Comme des Garçons parfums from Reluct design blog and used entirely without permission. Pardon.

I don’t want to be, but I am. I’m a big fat fan of Comme des Garçons parfums. The smell of smoke and incense makes Kyoto my favourite, followed by the girlier Carnation, and Shiso. And to my own choque et horreur, I found that I love the caramel sweet Burnt Sugar, in it’s old fashioned gramma-styled bottle.

But big, hot, fat news is that Amsterdam’s Papabubble (see earlier culiblog entry about them here) was of a like mind and teamed up with Commes des Garçons to make a powdered CDG parfum flavoured candy.

I want candy!

According to Reluct Dutch Design blog, you get one candy free when you buy a bottle. That’s some kinda economics, and excuse enough to buy parfum upon returning to the Polar Circle.

Thank you, Joost from Reluct!

debra at 13:15 | Comments (0) | post to

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