Wednesday, October 31, 2007

French Notes

Yesterday was Claude LeLouch's 70th birthday. Gretchen and I honored the occasion by watching A Man and a Woman. For the cinefile it might be worth a look (and by cinefile I mean someone who appreciates watching French films from the 1960s, not someone who has seen every Jerry Bruckheimer production). There is a tremendous sense of realism between the two main characters as their relationship develops over the course of the film. But, for a contemporary America audience, it feels like 15-20 minutes can be removed without it losing much (perhaps gaining). I am not suggesting a re-edit, just stating the perception that, by and large, as a culture, we prefer something that is fast-paced and brief. Unless, of course, it involves a hobbit, a quidditch match, or something with lots of explosions.

In other things French, I made my first soufflé the other night. While I have yet to consult my dictionary, I firmly believe that soufflé roughly translates into "lots of time and effort for little reward." Here is part of the recipe I followed... and be patient with it because there is a joke at the end.

Take 12 eggs. Using 6 eggs, separate the whites and the yolks. Beat yolks together with 3 Tbs of milk and 3 Tbs of flour. Bring to boil 1C of milk. Slowly pour boiling milk into yolks while stirring rapidly, so as not to cook the eggs. Pour mixture back into the pan and place on the stove and simmer to thicken. Beat whites with electric whisk until they form stiff peaks. Check on the yolks in the pan. Throw the yolks away because they have now turned into scrambled eggs. Take the other 6 eggs and separate the whites from the yolks. Throw whites away. Repeat process with yolks, but don't scramble.

This is only part of the process. At some point you take whatever goes into the souffle and mix it in with the yolks. Then you mix some of the whites into the yolks. Then you mix the yolks into the whites. Then you bake it. 40 min of prep. 25 min. of baking. 10 min. of eating. Hours of dissatisfaction. I suggest avoiding this cuisine unless it involves copious amounts of chocolate or cheese.

Finally, I'll be heading up to Kensington to see Mark Cameron Boyd's exhibition at Galerie Ingrid Cooper. In keeping with the theme of this post, a noticeable resemblance to the work of Jacques Villegle (and Mimmo Rotella) can be observed.

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