Culinary Quotes

Welcome! Here you'll find quotations on food and cooking chosen by Catherine of Albion Cooks

Friday, July 14, 2006

George Orwell describes the kitchen at the Hotel X.

"The kitchen was like nothng I had ever seen or imagined — a stifling, low-ceilinged inferno of a cellar, red-lit from the fires, and defeaning with oaths and the clanging of pots and pans. It was so hot that all the metal-work except the stoves had to be covered with cloth. In the middle were the furnaces, where twelve cooks skipped to and fro, their faces dripping sweat in spite of their white hats. Round that were counters where a mob of waiters and plongeurs clamoured with trays. Scullions, naked to the waist, were stoking the fires and scouring huge copper saucepans with sand. Everyone seemed to be in a hurry or a rage."

George Orwell, from Down and Out in Paris and London

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Michelle Bernstein on the creation of Chocolate-Painted Fois Gras

"I didn't have a very firm grip on the terrine mold, so instead of lifting it, I only succeeded in pulling it off the shelf. It eluded my slippery fingers and tumbled down past my widening eyes, right into the bowl of chocolate sauce, where it bobbed for a moment, like a ship with a hull breach taking on water, and then proceeded to sink into the murky depths.

As I reached in after it, my colleagues rushed over to help me try to save it — a difficult task. Had the terrine come straight from the fridge, it would have been hard and cold, and easy to wipe off. But softened as it was, and warming even more thanks to the chocolate, it was beginning to leach out into the sauce. Tan globules were bubbling up to the surface, turning the chocolate into a mocha-colored nightmare.

I gingerly retrieved the unmolded terrine from the sauce and laid it out on my station. The other cooks and I stood over it in our chocolate-spattered whites, trying to decide how to save our patient. The first step was to halt the melting and preserve its shape, and we worked on it furiously, smoothing it over with spatulas and our fingers.

I was panicked beyond words. "

Michelle Bernstein, from "Two Great Tastes" in Don't Try this at Home: Culinary Catastrophes from the World's Greatest Chefs