My mother has an old French cookbook. It is her reference, a sort of bible of French cooking. Its title is simply, “la bonne cuisine française”. It has more than 800 pages that include almost all of the traditional French cuisine. There are few pictures, few colors, and recipes written in very small characters. The design is basic.
Inside it holds excellent recipes and many tips on how to choose your food, when to consume, or how to preserve it. It is a book, “à l’ancienne”, as I like it and made with one objective in mind: focusing on the essential.
The other day, by chance, I read the preface, and it made me smile. It perfectly translates everything I love about cooking:
« The good French cooking is for me the real cooking, the one which does not sacrifice to the easy way, nor to an outrageous luxury in the presentation, the one that, accomplished with good products, must achieve for finality the gustatory and spiritual satisfaction of those for whom it is made…
In the art of cooking, beauty is good. However, no sophisticated preparations. It must contain the truth and nothing but the truth…
Cuisine–a humanism, an art of living, a practice which, around a good table, allows one to improve and preserve human relations.
“La bonne cuisine française” is a book for those who wish to please their loved ones (which must be the reason for cooking) by serving them dishes capable of delighting not only their palate, but also all their senses. »
A metaphor for what life should be?
Reading these few sentences reminded me of why I chose cooking years ago. Why I decided to create a cooking blog.
To transmit and share the joy of cooking, of giving, of receiving, the joy of giving pleasure to those we love, and above all, to not forget the essential: we cook for love. This love my mother transmitted to us from our youngest age through cooking, and I do the same today with my daughter.
To share a little of this love with you today, here is one of my mother’s recipes, of course from “la bonne cuisine française”: La crème caramel à l’ancienne / old-fashioned caramel cream.
Old-fashioned caramel creamseason all
- milk ½ L
- sugar 7 tablespoons
- eggs 3
- vanilla bean 1
- sugar cubes 75 g
- Make a caramel: melt the sugar cubes in a saucepan with a little water without stirring. When the caramel has a nice golden color, pour it into a mold.
- Preheat oven to 180°.
- Split the vanilla bean in two. Take out the seeds. Put them in a saucepan with the milk and the split pod.
- Heat the milk and vanilla until the first boil.
- Beat the eggs with the sugar.
- Slowly pour the hot milk over it, whisking without stopping to avoid cooking the eggs.
- Slowly pour this cream into the pan, over the caramel.
- Pour water on the baking sheet and place the pan on top.
- Cook in a bain-marie for about 45 minutes.
- Check the cooking by sticking the blade of a knife in the cream.
- It should come out dry.
- You can choose to unmould the cream. In this case, use a non-stick mold and let it cool before removing from the mold. Otherwise, choose a nice ovenproof mold in which you will present the cream.