The first chapter of Gina Mallet’s memoir/food manifesto Last Chance to Eat: The Fate of Taste in a Fast Food World, is devoted to the egg. The imperiled egg: the unfortunate victim of food science and factory farming. Mallet, whose world war two childhood in Britain was virtually eggless (unless you count the dried variety), has become champion to the egg.
And with this responsibility comes scads of recipes and remembrances of meals past. Eggs of all sorts populate this chapter: oeufs mayonnaise, oeufs en cocotte, oeufs à la Polignac, mousse au chocolat.
At last, Northern Cookbook has arrived on my doorstep. Written by Eleanor Ellis in 1967, this cookbook – or at least my copy of it – is currently sunning it considerably south of 60 in Marseille, whose inhabitants keep lemon, fig, and palm trees on their balconies. There is something slightly boastful about owning a lemon tree that STAYS OUTSIDE in the “winter” but I will not belabour the subject. It smacks of sour grapes.
Suffice it to say that the many country food recipes in this book – Seal on a Bun, Jellied Moose Nose – cannot easily be made in my current kitchen. I do have ready access to citrus. I therefore chose two recipes more suited to a southern clime: Carrots with Orange Sauce and Prairie Chicken in Cream.
This is Gwendolyn MacEwen’s recipe for eggs. And she is adamant that these eggs be Kanadian “not Zeus or Easter Bunny” (31). Why Kanadian eggs? Margaret Atwood, who collected MacEwen’s recipe for The CanLit Foodbook: A Collection of Tasty Literary Fare, provides a helpful editorial note.
This is an “anti-mythological variety of egg, which, however, can cross the line and become a REAL or mythic egg if you can manage to achieve the right frame of mind”(31).
This is a lot to take in before breakfast. I say, eat the egg while it’s hot and then we’ll talk about it. Continue reading →
I stick as closely as possible to Maman’s French menus, but I can’t say that I haven’t experimented with a few new concoctions, like Escoffier’s newly invented Pêche Melba and another highlight of French cuisine, a dish called Oeufs Carême. It was canonized by Marie-Antoine Carême, who cooked for Talleyrand, George IV and for Czar Alexander I. Maman always said that Carême’s five-volume encyclopedia was her Bible, but to my knowledge she never tried stuffing an artichoke with an egg and spreading sweetbreads and pickled tongue overtop.
From Joyce Wayne’s The Cook’s Temptation
Recipe Notes (by Alexia Moyer)
Stuffing an artichoke with an egg and spreading sweetbreads and pickled tongue over top is not as easy as it sounds.