I will be upfront: I made the bonne idee for this week’s French Fridays with Dorie selection, Beatrix’s Red Kuri soup. Instead of making soup with red kuri squash, I used the suggested cubed butternut squash and chestnuts substitution. I didn’t care much for the soup. In hindsight, it could have used a punch of spice because otherwise, it felt like pumpkin-peanut butter soup. I wish I had tried the real thing, though.
But I did have a wonderful, true French Friday with Dorie Greenspan last week.
We spent almost a week in DC, taking in all the history, culture and great food we were able to handle. One of the highlights of our visit was coinciding with a Baking Chez Moi event sponsored by the Smithsonian Associates – Desserts with a French Accent. Joe Yonan, food and travel editor for the Washington Post, interviewed Dorie for about an hour. Having listened to her keynote address at last year’s IFBC and some her most recent podcast interviews (thanks to Betsy and Teresa), I was especially happy when the following the following tidbits surfaced during the talk:
- Joe Yonan asked if she had thought there was a link in her academic background (all but dissertation graduate work in gerontology) with the rigorous work that goes into developing baking recipes. She seemed truly taken aback by the possible relationship between both, while stressing that baking is more forgiving than what we may think.
- Back when Dorie and Michael were students on a TIGHT budget, she would still do her grocery shopping at the local butcher. She was always able to put good food within their means on the table while learning how to tame those tougher cuts of meat.
- “Recipes are made to be passed along. Once you receive a recipe it’s yours to reinterpret and play around with.” What a great quote and what a great gift.
- Dorie, in one of her first meetings with Julia Child, actually witnessed Julia doing Dan Aykroyd’s Julia Child impression. To be a fly in that wall!
- She originally turned the job for writing Baking with Julia. After a difficult six-month stint working at Food Network (!), she called the publishers and Julia to ask they found anyone to write the book. The rest was history.
- The two questions Julia Child would ask Dorie every time she would return from Paris: “Is the food still good?” and “Do they still sell cooked beets at the market”
- An especially fun tidbit – when Dorie was addressing the hard time she had convincing her publishers to include weighted measurements in the book, she asked for a show of hands of how many of the lecture attendees actually used them. Over 80% of the audience’s hands shot up. She was so surprised she took a cell phone picture!
- I took comfort over this gem: “There are so many things we don’t do well on the first, second or even third time”.
It goes without saying that she was absolutely wonderful with us – even Eduardo got a hug and two kisses. When I asked her about her favorite DC bakeries, she turned us over to Joe Yonan. He was incredibly gracious with us, talking for well over ten minutes and giving us some recommendations for places to visit that were uniquely DC. We visited one of the restaurants he recommended and were floored.
Another highlight of our DC trip? Meeting fellow Dorista Jora!
Although we weren’t able to attend the same BCM event, I was happy to meet another Dorista. As you can imagine, we settled into that comfortable rapport typical of our group. That’s what happens after cooking and blogging together for 3+ years! She was a sweetheart and we agreed that there needs to be an East coast reunion soon.
I hope you all had wonderful Thanksgivings – and enjoyed the red kuri soup and its variations more than I did.
French Fridays with Dorie is an online cooking group where home cooks from all over the world work their way through Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. For everyone’s fall soup links, click here.