Saturday, July 25, 2009

Cheesy Omelette

While I rave online about the French food I've tasted during my trips to France I can't muster up any enthusiasm to cook French food at home. It all seems so dauntingly complicated.

Then I happened onto the movie trailer for Julie & Julia starring Meryl Streep. It's about a girl named Julie who takes on French cooking: 524 recipes in 365 days with Julia Child as her guide. 

I checked out Julia Child on YouTube and immediately found the 6-minute video of her explaining how to make a French omelette. Julia asks "and what makes the perfect omelette?" and answers "it's how fast you take to do it. An omelette takes 20 seconds to do, is all"

Well, she had me at "20 seconds"! How could I resist that? I signed right up. Signed onto my Amazon account and had Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck delivered to my door two days later.

Once I held the book in my hand I kinda' felt a little cheesy. Like I had ordered some superflous gadget from a late-night tv shopping show. Who needs eight pages to explain how to make an omelette? Wasn't the  six-minute video enough instruction? 

I decided to make something "cheesy"- it only seemed appropriate. So l'omelette au fromage it was.  The next choice concerned technique. I decided against l'omelette brouillée because I didn't want to beat up my pan handle to loosen the eggs. I picked l'omelette roulée because jerking and tilting the pan, cooking and serving up the eggs without any utensils seemed the the flashier move  and more fun! 

The results thus far have fed me for the last five days and counting. I didn't think I liked omelettes that much. But when I make it for someone else, it does smell and look so delicious that I have inevitably ended up making one for myself, too. 

The recipe from Mastering the Art of French cooking:

Julia Child demonstrating how to make rolled omelettes:

Watch the trailer for Julie & Julia here:

La photo: Supposed fragment of Roland's Sword, Durendal, at Rocamadour, France. Mai 2009

The word omelette, according to the new Oxford American dictionary is an alteration of alumette, a variant of alumelle from lemele which means knife blade. "The association with knife blade is probably because of the thin flat shape of an omelet".

Friday, July 10, 2009


I must admit that when it comes to French cuisine I am woefully uninformed. While others might pore over guides about what and where to eat I am happy to get coincidental recommendations or risk just going into restaurants to learn about French food.

"Let's eat" is my strategy. Sometimes without knowing exactly what- as thumbing
through my little Berlitz phrase book and dictionary from 1993 sometimes doesn't tell me what everything means.

Pictured, the fixed-price menu I had at the Hostellerie le Fénelon. Can you pick out the dishes I ordered from the menu? Advanced French students, gourmands and gourmets, can you tell me exactly what I ate?

Menu à 22.50 Euro

Cou de canard farci et sa petit salade aux noix


Salade moulée d'avocat au saumon fumé


Potage de légumes


Suprême de valaille panée aux noix


Filet de sandre à l'oseille


Faux filet grillé beurre béarnaise


Légumes du jour


Plateau de fromages


Carte des Desserts

La photo: à Carennac, dans le Lot, France. Mai 2009.