12 July 2009

Alexandre Dumas’ Dictionary of Cuisine

“More exciting and thrilling than Monte Cristo or Three Musketeers, ” was the pronouncement upon reading the great novelist, Alexandre Dumas’ Dictionary of Cuisine. I concur, though I do love some lively fencing now and then.

After writing more books than Joyce Carol Oates, Alexandre Dumas set out to write an opus on the thing he loved as much as women -- food. His failing health gave him pause to rethink the enormity of his multi-volume project, settling on a single volume in the form of dictionary with recipes. Wow, a cookbook AND a dictionary, two things I dearly love.

For his "dinner" entry he wrote:

Dinner. A major daily activity, which can be accomplished in worthy fashion only by intelligent people. It is not enough to eat. To dine, there must be diversified, calm conversation. It should sparkle with rubies of the wine between courses, be deliciously suave with the sweetness of dessert, and acquire true profundity with the coffee.
I totally agree. Honey, there are people I would sleep with that I wouldn't eat with! But if they made me turnips and gizzards I might just be persuaded.

Giblets and turnips, two things I dearly love. Am I repeating myself? This is a dish I never thought of, but why not. Chewy bites of giblets cooked with caramelized turnips, thickened with a bit of potato. Sounds like a major activity to me.

Turkey Giblets with Turnips

Take the goblets of 2 turkeys and 4 ounces of bacon cut into little cubes and parboiled to eliminate the salt. Make a light roux and add the bacon pieces; brown them; add you cut up giblets and a bouquet of thyme, bay leaf, and parsley. Cook lightly. Add some water and 1/2 bottle of white wine. Let simmer.
Fry onions and white turnips in a little butter with salt and powdered sugar. When they are golden in color, put them into your ragout, add a few cooked potatoes, mix, skim off the fat well, and serve hot.

We featured another of Dumas' recipes from The Illustrated History of French Cuisine.

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