In my family we speak two languages – not counting the circa 1990 screams in Gibberish of “Ow! You Athagass Hathagole!” to your older sister who loved pinching you until she broke the skin, of course. You see, aside from English, we speak Food.
A few weeks ago, my husband, sister and I road tripped down to North Carolina to visit my aunt and uncle. My aunt, as a wonderful food-centered hostess, immediately began meal planning. The trip happened to coincide perfectly with the release of Julie & Julia so we went all out on an epic Julia Child themed weekend. Weeks of planning, email banter, frantic voice messages about trips to the farmer’s market, butcher and grocery stores resulted in a full-on food-stravaganza, including a dessert homage by me, detailed below.
There has been much – too much – written, debated and over-analyzed about the film and I have little interest in contributing to the crowd of voices here. But I absolutely adored the way in which the film captured Julia’s incomparable ability to translate the language of food to swaths of people that range from fluent to wide-eyed novice. Julia was more than a chef, a teacher and a TV personality – she was contagious.
And that’s what I love most about this culture of cooking, this alphabet of food – it sucks you in and pushes beyond self-imposed limits. I’m fortunate to have family that speaks that language but even beyond the boundaries of bloodlines and marriage, the genius in food is its ability to connect strangers and form an immediate kinship and appreciation for eating.
In blog years, this project is little more than a baby but I continue to be overwhelmed by the wacky, diverse, infuriating and inspirational family of Food speakers out there. Many of my favorites are listed on the right, but I can’t wait to meet some of the local crew, many for the first time in person at a meet up on Sept 2nd hosted by The Arugula Files (click for details) among others. If you’re in the DC area – and blog or don’t blog – come on by and say hello. We’d love to welcome you to the family!
Julia Child’s Clafouti
Clafouti is one of the easiest and most versatile desserts on the planet. Julia’s original recipe calls for cherries but feel free to substitute any seasonal berry – I went with raspberries and blueberries. Serves 6-8
1 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tb vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup flour
3 cups berries
1/3 cup sugar
Vanilla Ice Cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a blender blend the milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and flour. Pour a 1/4 inch layer of the batter in a buttered 7 or 8 cup baking dish. Place in the oven until a film of batter sets in the pan, approximately 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and spread the berries evenly over the batter. Sprinkle on the 1/3 cup of sugar and pour on the rest of the batter. Bake 45 minutes – 1 hour. The clafouti is done when puffed and brown and and a knife plunged in the center comes out clean. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.