Archive for the ‘Food In Literature’ Category

French Chef Jean-Claude Banderier

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Always eager to explore the depths of Jules’ talent pool, we caught up with Jean-Claude Banderier, an expert and influential presence in Jules’ kitchen for nearly eight years, and a chef for nearly 50. Because Jean-Claude has cooked in fine restaurants and hotels in Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Portugal, Spain, New York City, and downtown Boston–all this prior to his settling in at Jules’ Somerville kitchen in 2005–his professional history could fill a book. Today, we focus only on his early days in France–and then fast-forward to his work at Jules.¬†

Jean-Claude has also cheffed in Paris, Rio de Janeiro, and New York City

Fill us in on your gastronomical heritage, your culinary influences, your life in France.

French country cooking

“I was born on my paternal grandfather’s farm in Capdenac-Gare, in¬†l’Aveyron, which lies in a very nice region of south-central France known as the Midi-Pyr√©n√©es. My grandfather grew vegetables, had a winery, produced walnut oil…and he raised and sold many pigs.¬†I lived on his farm until I was four, at which point my family moved north to the city of¬†Vierzon,¬†in the center of France, where I started school. But every summer when I was young I would return to my grandparents’ farm with my brothers and sister.”¬†

Jean-Claude’s roots are in south-central France, in l’Aveyron

“My grandfather didn’t grow walnuts, but purchased them in order to produce the delicately flavored oil that is so good on a simple salad. I remember the two ladies at work with their very little, very flexible hammers. They would pound away at the walnuts to break them apart and separate the meat of the nut from the shells. I was very young at the time, and these women with their little hammers made a strong impression!”

Tell us about “the farmer’s wife,” your paternal grandmother, and what we imagine must have been a farm-based cuisine.

“My grandmother was always cooking! She made soup every day. Country soup with vegetables: potatoes, carrots, onion, cabbage, and–for added flavor–jambonneau, which is pork knuckle. ¬†La pot√©e is what the soup is called.”

Every day, Jean-Claude’s grandmother made soup from fresh vegetables

“Every day we had homemade bread–pain de campagne,¬†also called¬†pain de miche. It was a big round of bread, something like an American sourdough. My grandmother would keep the bread in a special bag in the cellar, slice off pieces as needed, and when we had eaten it all she’d bake a new round.”

Every week, Jean-Claude’s grandmother baked pain de miche

 Tell us about the pigs. Was pork a big part of your diet?

“My grandfather sold the pigs alive, but killed one each year for the family. In a way, he had his own¬†charcuterie. He made¬†petit sal√©,¬†which¬†is salted pork, as well as an¬†excellent¬†boudin¬†blanc (white sausage), boudin noir (blood sausage).¬†A very special treat was¬†boudin noir aux pommes¬†(blood sausage with apples).”¬†

Jean Claude’s paternal grandfather raised and sold pigs

“L’Aveyron is also known for its duck¬†foie gras¬†and its¬†p√Ęt√©¬†de foie gras–and also for its¬†c√®pes¬†(wild mushrooms; porcini, in Italian).”

It all sounds so lovely.

“I’m telling you…this was the 1950s…I grew up with no chemicals…everything we ate was fresh. We had red wine, white wine, water. That was it, except for the fresh milk from cows and juice from fresh oranges. There was no Coca Cola! Nothing like that. It was really nice country living. I miss all that.”

Apprenticeship in town

Did your grandmother teach you to cook?
 

“I was too young then…always running and playing outdoors. It wasn’t until I was a little older that I began to pay attention to food preparation. This was after the family moved to my mother’s hometown of Vierzon,¬†near¬†Orl√©ans, in the region known as¬†le Berry.”

For 88 years Jean-Claude’s mother lived in Vierzon, in central France (most of his siblings live there, still)

“My mother, an excellent cook, prepared healthful, delicious meals every day. Occasionally, she would ask me to help a little bit, but mostly I began to learn by watching her work. I was very observant. I was¬†quick!”

Living in town, you must have missed the fresh produce.

“Not at all! We had a garden by the house and my father grew many kinds of vegetables. Thursdays, when there was no school (back then kids went to school on Saturdays, instead), we children were each assigned a particular task in the garden.”

“When summer came to an end my mother would preserve the vegetables in sterilized glass jars, so that we were able to enjoy our home-grown vegetables throughout the year. My father also had ten Anjou pear trees, and my mother would poach the pears in white wine and sugar. Pears are a noble fruit, and poached pear with cr√®me anglaise¬†or vanilla ice cream is still one of my favorite desserts.”

Did your grandmother and your mother inspire you to become a chef? 

“In a way, my father made that decision for me. School was easy for me, but maybe because I was small for my age and felt the need to defend myself, I was always getting into fights. I wasn’t a bad kid, but I was definitely a problem. So when I was 15, after my father received a call from my teacher, he challenged me: ‘Do you want to go to school?’ I told him I didn’t.”

“‘Are you sure?… Are you sure?’ he said. And when I insisted that I’d had enough of school, he said, ‘Then you must work! You must have a profession!’ And he arranged for me to start an apprenticeship at a restaurant in Vierzon. This was a one-star (“very good in its category“) country-style place that offered excellent training. I lived over the restaurant and worked very hard, and I only went home on weekends. I wanted to prove myself to my father.”

At the restaurant did you use the same fresh ingredients your family used at home? 

“We never used canned goods! In fact, the first time I¬†opened a can was a couple of years later, after I moved to Paris.”¬†

Professional chef in Paris

“When I was 17 I responded to a classified ad in the newspaper, sent a resume, and was hired for a job in Paris at a place called le Bistro in the 2nd arrondissement, a nice neighborhood.¬†They served the classic dishes–coq au vin, boeuf bourguingnon, and pan-seared whole sole, which we would¬†fillet¬†on a gu√©ridon, a narrow table-trolley with a burner. Everything was¬†service √† la fran√ßaise, which means the¬†food was presented on big platters, all at once and to great effect, and then carefully arranged on individual plates. It was a pretty fancy place.”

“Again, I was still a teenager, and the people at the top were in their 40s…their 50s. They were very demanding. You do it right,¬†or else!¬†You don’t talk (you definitely don’t talk back). There was no radio in the kitchen. You just work. You buy your own jacket, your own knife. (Nobody touches your knife!) Anyway,¬†I followed the rules, worked very hard, and learned fast. At age 23 I was sous chef;¬†at 24 I was chef.”

Butcher at Les Halles

“Compulsory military service interrupted my culinary activities for a couple of years, but while still in my twenties I also worked part-time at Les Halles, the great, historic marketplace in Paris that has since moved to¬†Rungis, the international marketplace in the outskirts of the city.”

The glass and iron dome of Les Halles was dismantled in 1971

Oh, we know about Les Halles! We just read¬†Mark Kurlansky‘s English translation of Emile Zola’s The Belly of Paris¬†(in French, as you know,¬†Le Ventre de Paris),¬†which is all about Les Halles in the late 1850s. If you haven’t read this novel, you really should because Zola’s “food writing”¬†is over the top!¬†But I digress…. Please, tell us about your experiences at Les Halles.

“Because of my background on my grandfather’s farm and also in the restaurant in Vierzon, which had a charcuterie, and also my experiences at Le Bistro in Paris, I worked for a while as a butcher. I prepared cuts of pork. Back then a pig would be delivered to the market cut in half, which is not like today, where meat is ready to go. Nothing was mechanized. Everything was done by hand. It was¬†difficult work, but valuable because butchering is a very important skill for a chef to have.”

Photographer Robert Doisneau immortalized Les Halles and its tradespeople; these butchers display their wares nearby

We know you have worked as a chef in fine restaurants and hotels around the world–but let’s jump ahead to 2005, when you joined the team at Jules.

A taste of France at Jules

One thing we’re wondering: Do Jules’ clients get “a taste of France” when they enjoy the food you prepare?

“Yes, I think they do–especially when our customers call upon us to prepare such dishes as¬†coq au vin¬†and boeuf bourguignon¬†and–as you saw just the other day–quiche.

Jean-Claude prepares to prepare a quiche in Jules’ Somerville kitchen


Fresh ingredients for this spinach and mushroom quiche are quickly sautéed


Jean-Claude whisks and pours fresh eggs

“Another role I play at Jules is ‘quality control.’ Anita [Baglaneas] is all about quality–and consistency— so if something is not prepared just right, we don’t serve it. And it’s the same with me. I look around and see that a chicken breast ¬†has been overcooked? We toss it out and start again!”

“Jules has been good to me because in addition to caring about the quality of food, Anita cares about the quality of life of her employees–and she’s loyal. So I’m of course happy to do my very best for her. I have a good palate…maybe I have this little talent…and–even after all these years–I still enjoy my work.”¬†

“…an honor and a privilege”

We bid adieu¬†to Jean-Claude, then climbed the stairs to Jules Catering’s office, to elicit the final word from Jules’ Owner-Chef, Anita Baglaneas. Early in Anita’s career, when she was a line cook at Rebecca’s Cafe, she worked under Jean-Claude’s tutelage.

“He’s just a great chef who knows how to make food taste good,” Anita matter-of-factly explained. “And he’s a wonderful teacher. It’s thanks to ¬†him that I know how to make the best-ever¬†p√Ęt√©,¬†both¬†country p√Ęt√© and goose liver! Simply put, it’s an honor and a privilege to have Jean-Claude working in Jules’ kitchen.”

 

Photo Credits:
Liz Muir: Portraits of Jean-Claude Banderier, Garden-fresh Onions, Pigs in Repose, Garlic, Eggshells
Aveyron Department of Tourism: Vineyard in l’Aveyron
Wikipedia: Pain de Campagne, Les Halles Dome, Postcard of Vierzon
French KlimBim, Etsy: French Geography Book
Samadhi: Disposition à la Française
Robert Doisneau, www.pasasparis.com: Butchers, Market at Rue Montorgueil

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For our favorite ‘food writer’ on the occasion of his 141st birthday

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Marcel Proust in 1900

Because we are huge fans of the formidable French novelist Marcel Proust (1871-1922), and because today marks his 141st birthday, we honor this writer with a post of his own because he was a master at exploring human sensation and is renowned for his ability to write about taste.

American food writer and chef¬†James Beard,¬†in his foreword to¬†Dining with Marcel Proust: A Practical Guide to French Cuisine of the Belle Epoque, observed:¬†“I feel that Proust must have had a deep sensual and intellectual appreciation of food…. I am certain he must have possessed the faculty I call ‘taste memory’; that he enjoyed a good meal–whether a picnic, a luncheon in a garden or a formal dinner–not for the moment but for a lifetime, storing it in the memory….”

Recapturing time through taste and smell

Petite Madeleines

The most celebrated passage in Proust’s seven-volume, 3,200-page novel¬†In Search of Lost Time¬†describes how this monumental work–a fictional “remembrance of things past”–is set in motion when the book’s narrator dips a petite madeleine into a cup of lime-flower tea.¬†“No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shiver ran through me and I stopped, intent upon this extraordinary thing that was happening to me.”

A subsequent sampling ultimately awakens a long-dormant memory of the same taste-sensation experienced in childhood, and–out of the blue–“something leaves its resting place and attempts to rise, something that has been anchored at great depth.”

What conscious effort and intellect couldn’t recapture is unleashed by the taste of the madeleine dipped in tea. All of a sudden and¬†involuntarily,¬†people and places and the essence of the narrator’s childhood “sprang into being, town and gardens alike” from this cup of tea.

Art meets the science of taste

Taste and smell connect to this part of the brain

In a fascinating book that explores the intersection between art and brain science, Jonah Lehrer, in Proust Was A Neuroscientist, reports that “our senses of smell and taste are uniquely sentimental. This is because smell and taste are the only senses that connect directly to the hippocampus, the center of the brain’s long-term memory.”

“Proust intuited this anatomy,” Lehrer continues. “He used the taste of the madeleine and the smell of the tea to channel his childhood. Just looking at the scalloped cookie brought back nothing.” It was the taste and smell of the little cake dipped into tea that was the “revelation.”¬†

Inspired, not nourished, by food

Up until his mid-thirties, before he committed to writing his masterpiece, Proust frequented the salons of ¬†the¬†Belle ¬†√Čpoque, enjoyed dining with friends, had a strong appetite,¬†and relished a wide variety of food. Some described him as a gourmet.

Over time, though, his habits changed. By 1919 he was so fully occupied with his novel that he rarely left his Paris apartment, where he often worked nights and slept days and eventually subsisted on a diet of croissants and coffee. (At the end of his life Proust drank only iced beer.) Apparently it was no longer food as physiologic sustenance that mattered; instead, it was how he felt about food (and so much else) and what food (and so much else) meant to him that was key.

What if Proust had been able to order from Jules?

Of course we’d never dream of interfering with an artist’s productive habits, but we like to think that culinarily speaking and in terms of health outcomes things may have been different for Proust–that he might have regained his appetite for actual food and been better nourished and lived beyond the age of 51–had he been able to pluck up his telephone (which, in fact, he had disconnected) and place an order with Jules!¬†

If Proust had called on a midsummer day and had asked for a recommendation, we might have suggested a juicy heirloom tomato filled with salmon salad:

Salmon-salad-stuffed heirloom tomato for Marcel Proust's birthday

Happy Birthday, Marcel! Who knows what Jules' heirloom tomato with salmon salad might have inspired!

And, of course, Jules also bakes petite madeleines.

Finally, for “extra credit”…

We know that Marcel Proust isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but if we’ve succeeded in whetting your appetite for more, you may enjoy the following passage from the first volume of¬†In Search of Lost Time.¬†It highlights the artistry of Francoise, the family cook and “the Michelangelo” of the kitchen. James Beard describes the food Francoise prepares as the unpretentious and savory “glories of French bourgeois food.”

Proust’s writing is as fresh and sensual as Francoise’s food:

“For upon the permanent foundation of eggs, cutlets, potatoes, preserves, and biscuits which she no longer even bothered to announce, Francoise would add–as the labour of fields and orchards, the harvest of the tides, the luck of the markets, the kindness of neighbors, and her own genius might provide, so that our bill of fare…¬†reflected to some extent the rhythm of the seasons and the incidents of daily life–a¬†brill¬†because the fish-woman had guaranteed its freshness, a turkey because she had seen a beauty in the market at Roussainville-le-Pin,¬†cardoons¬†with marrow because she had never done them for us in that way before, a roast leg of mutton because the fresh air made one hungry and there would be plenty of time for it to ‘settle down’ in the seven hours before dinner, spinach by way of a change, apricots because they were still hard to get, gooseberries because in another fortnight there would be none left, raspberries which M. Swann had brought specially, cherries, the first to come from the cherry-tree which had yielded none for the last two years, a cream cheese, of which in those days I was extremely fond, an almond cake because she had ordered one the evening before, a brioche because it was our turn to make them for the church. And when all this was finished, a work composed expressly for ourselves, but dedicated more particularly to my father who had a fondness for such things, a chocolate cream, Francoise’s personal inspiration and speciality would be laid before us, light and fleeting as an ‘occasional’ piece of music into which she had poured the whole of her talent. Anyone who refused to partake of it, saying: ‘No, thank you, I’ve finished; I’m not hungry any more,” would at once have been relegated to the level of those Philistines who, even when an artist makes them a present of one of his works, examine its weight and material, whereas what is of value is the creator’s intention and his signature. To have left even the tiniest morsel in the dish would have shown as much discourtesy as to rise and leave a concert hall before the end of a piece under the composer’s very eyes.”

In Search of Lost Time, “Swann’s Way”
Translation by  C. K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin 

Photo Credits:
Marcel Proust: Wikimedia Commons
Petite Madeleine: Pierre Ferland and Associates
Hippocampus: Gray’s Anatomy, Wikimedia Commons
Heirloom tomato filled with salmon salad: Liz Muir 

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Spoon fed

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Edward Lear

Runcible spoons…edible spoons. The first is pure nonsense, the second¬†pure genius!

First, the ¬†nonsense:¬†From the age of 16, Victorian poet-artist-illustrator Edward Lear¬†(the¬†21st child of 22 children!) was drawing “for his bread and cheese.” A few years later his Audubon-caliber ornithological drawings were published and, for a while, he found himself giving drawing lessons to Queen Victoria. Over the course of Lear’s life his landscape paintings were highly regarded, and he remained a serious painter until his death at age 75. But in his own lifetime–and still today–Lear is most known and best remembered for his literary nonsense.¬†The final stanza of his most famous work, “The Owl and the Pussy-Cat,” appears below:

The Owl and the Pussy Cat

A page from the 1959 Golden Treasury of Poetry illustrated by Joan Walsh Anglund

Runcible spoons

Although the word¬†‚Äúruncible‚ÄĚ appears in many dictionaries and warrants a Wikipedia entry all its own, no such spoon exists outside the nonsense realm of Edward Lear. Puzzlingly, the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines runcible spoon¬†as “a sharp-edged fork with three broad curved prongs,” but it’s clear from Lear’s own illustration from a different bit of nonsense that his runcible spoon is more ladle than fork:

Lear's illustration of Dolomphious Duck with Runcible Spoon

The Dolomphious Duck,
who caught Spotted Frogs for her dinner
with a Runcible Spoon.

Examining the visual evidence, we’re struck by the fact that Lear’s fantastical spoon looks more like one of Jules’ “fantactual”¬†edible spoons than it does a pronged fork, although (at least up to now) Jules has had no special orders for edible spoons filled with ready-to-leap frogs, spotted or otherwise.

Edible spoons

Edible spoons are enormously popular with Jules’ clients and staff. Event Sales Manager¬†Elissa Kupelnick says, “From a service standpoint, we love being able to offer these to clients because they’re so convenient, not just for us but for them. Whereas the typical plastic or porcelain spoon has to be collected soon after whatever filled them has been eaten, edible spoons just disappear! Party guests love them because they’re a tasty novelty. Also,¬†not having to hold onto an emptied porcelain or plastic spoon–even for a minute–is one less thing for guests to have to juggle.”

Invented in 2003 by Jack Milan of Boston-based edibles by jack, spoons may be either savory or sweet and used to ‘deliver’ both hors d’oeuvres and desserts.¬†And when it comes to spoon-fillings, the sky is the limit!

Some popular filling-and-spoon combinations for¬†hors d’oeuvres include:

  • Coconut Shrimp with Pineapple Salsa in a Coconut Curry spoon
  • Crabmeat Salad with Saffron Aioli in a Corn and Lime spoon
  • Grilled Chicken Medallion with Mediterranean Salsa in a¬†Parmesan Basil spoon
  • Eggplant Caponata with Goat Cheese Crumbles in a¬†Parmesan Black Pepper spoon
  • Roasted Turkey with Stuffing and Butternut Squash Brulee in a Cranberry spoon
Below, Coconut Curry edible spoons stand ready to be filled, on the spot, at a Jules-catered cocktail party.

Coconut Curry edible spoons

Moments later, spoons now filled with Coconut Shrimp and Pineapple Salsa are ready to be served.

Jules' Elissa Kupelnick is all smiles as Sergio Rebeiro prepares to serve savory spoons

Sweet options include:

  • Lemon Curd and Raspberry Gelee in a Poppy Seed spoon
  • Mocha Mousse with Chocolate Shavings in a Chocolate spoon
  • Hazelnut Mousse with Chopped Hazelnuts in a Chocolate spoon

This Chocolate edible spoon by jack is filled with Jules' ever-popular hazelnut mousse

¬†Perhaps the moral of this little tale–or at least the takeaway message–is that thanks to¬†edibles by jack, you can have your spoon and eat it, too!
Photo Credits:
Wikimedia Commons: Edward Lear and Dolomphious Duck
Liz Muir: All other photos 
 
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“Generous cuts of succulent corned beef”

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

1873: Liebig Meat Co. produced tinned corned beef

Why ‘corned’ beef? For thousands of years people have cured and preserved beef ¬†by covering it with salt the size of kernels of corn, and the name corned beef refers back to a time when the word ‘corn; was applied to anything granular.

The Irish traded for salt as far back as the Middle Ages, writes Mark Kurlanksy¬†in Salt–A World History, and their salted beef was the “meticulously boned and salted forerunner of what today is known as Irish corned beef.” Prized by Europeans because it did not spoil, corned beef from Ireland was also adopted as a food provision by the British navy, which meant it traveled far!

In Ireland,¬†corned beef¬†was a dish originally associated with Easter Sunday–at least for those sufficiently affluent to procure any sort of beef at all. ¬†Killed before winter, the beef would have been salted and then savored after the Lenten fast.¬†Author-Chef¬†Darina Allen, founder of the¬†Ballymaloe Cookery School¬†in¬†Shanagarry, County Cork, and proponent of¬†The Slow Food Movement, notes that¬†corned beef has long been associated with Cork City, which was “the provisioning port for boats before they crossed the Atlantic.” From the late 17th-century to early in the 19th, beef corning was Cork City’s primary industry.

Corned beef helps free King from Demon of Gluttony!

Corned beef in Ireland also has literary-mythical roots. Aislinge Meic Con Glinne (The Vision of MacConglinne) is a late 11th-century parody in which the hero, Anier MacConglinne, wins the patronage of Cathal, King of Munster, by reciting a fabulous food-laden vision that frees the king from a demon of gluttony that has been residing (tapeworm-like!) in his throat. At least for the carnivores among us, corned beef spit-roasted on an open fire is described in mouth-watering detail:

Gluttony as depicted by Hieronymus Bosch

“And he called for juicy old bacon and tender corned-beef and full-fleshed wether, and honey in the comb and English salt on a beautiful polished dish of white silver, along with four perfectly straight white hazel spits to support the joints. The viands which he enumerated were procured for him, and he fixed unspeakable, huge pieces on the spits. Then, putting a linen apron about him below and placing a flat linen cap on the crown of his head, he lighted a…fire of ash-wood, without smoke, without fume, without sparks. He stuck a spit into each of the portions, and as quick was he about the spits and fire as a hind about her first fawn, or as a roe, or a swallow, or a bare spring wind in the flank of March. He rubbed the honey and the salt into one piece after another. And big as the pieces were that were before the fire, there dropped not to the ground out of these four pieces as much as would quench a spark of a candle; but what there was of relish in them went into their very centre.” [Excerpted from an In Parentheses¬†publication¬†translated by Kuno Meyer, ¬©¬†2001]

New York feast vs. Boston feast–Yet another rivalry?

Food maven and former¬†New York Daily News¬†restaurant critic¬†Arthur Schwartz¬†writes in his “opinionated history” of a cookbook,¬†New York City Food,¬†that Irish immigrants in the U.S. were not sufficiently well off to to treat themselves to what he identifies as the precursor to corned beef and cabbage–Irish bacon and greens–until the late 1800s.

“How bacon and greens evolved into Corned Beef and Cabbage is anybody’s guess,” Schwartz writes. “Some surmise that the Irish adopted the meat of their German, Jewish, or even German-Jewish neighbors, or WASP employers and turned it into a dish to help celebrate their Saint Patrick’s Day, an essentially New York City-Irish Holiday that is now part of all Irish-American culture.”

Saint Patrick’s Day essentially a¬†New York City¬†holiday? We’d like to hear you shout that out to commuters riding the Green-Line ‘T’ on March 17, Mr. Schwartz! We’d also like to remind you that¬†another common name for corned beef and cabbage is¬†“New England¬†Boiled Dinner”–with no mention of New York!

 

""Charlie" and "Charlene" of the M(B)TA kindly allowed us to snap this Green Line photo


Saint Patrick’s Day at Jules

Finding ourselves riding the Green Line on Saint Patrick’s Day this year, we were lucky enough to catch a leprechaun counting gold coins under our seat. “Okay, okay,” he grumbled, when we demanded that he magically grant us three wishes in exchange for his release. “What d’you want?”

Because were feeling a little peckish, “Corned Beef and Cabbage from Jules” was our knee-jerk reply. “And if you could throw in a frosted Shamrock Cookie, that would be great!” Alas, we forgot to wish for speedy delivery (which Jules readily supplies), so the leprechaun told us that we’d have to stop by Jules’ kitchen to make our wishes come true. And so we did, arriving–as if by magic–in the nick of time.

First, we checked in with Jules’ Executive Chef Albert Rosado, who has impressive corned-beef credentials. While cooking for Harry and Leona (a.k.a.¬†“The Queen of Mean”) Helmsley at the Helmsley Hotels in the 1980s, Albert would moonlight at¬†McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon¬†at¬†42nd Street and Second Avenue, not far from Times Square.

Executive Chef Albert Rosado

“This was the gathering place for the Grand Marshal and other bigwigs involved in¬†New York City’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade,” Albert reminisced. “Some three- or four-thousand¬†people came in and out of McFadden’s around about St. Patrick’s Day, and over the course of ¬†three days we prepared something like five- to six-hundred pounds of corned beef, as well as many pounds of Irish stew.”

What about green beer? we wondered.

“We didn’t dye the beer ourselves,” Albert laughed, “but McFadden’s¬†did serve¬†green beer for St. Patrick’s Day. Purveyors supplied McFaddon’s with that.”

Longtime Jules Line Cook Jeff Ginyard¬†also¬†knows his corned beef. Because Jules brines its own beef brisket, Saint Patrick’s Day preparations must begin a full day in advance, he explained, adding that two muscles comprise a beef brisket. “We use the leaner ‘first cut’ for corned beef sandwiches. The fattier and more succulent ‘second cut’ is used for boiled dinners.”

We asked why the corned beef was cooking in its own pot, apart from the vegetables. “So the vegetables don’t get mushy we prepare them separately,” Jeff explained. “But we want them to pick up the corned-beef flavor, so we¬†remove some water from the pot where the brisket is cooking, and we boil the cabbage–and the other vegetables–in that. The corned beef stock, by the way, is flavored with mustard seed–and the brine is seasoned with peppercorns, bay leaves, and allspice.”

Corned beef + cabbage + shamrock cookie from Jules…

The leprechaun granted our wishes…our three dreams came true!

Jeff Ginyard with corned beef...

...red bliss potatoes, carrots, and turnips


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This fresh cabbage ready for cooking is naturally green

Photo Credits:
Creative Commons: Liebig Tinned Corned Beef, detail from Bosch’s ‘Allegory of Gluttony and Lust’
EarthShare: Green Beer
Liz Muir: All other photos

 

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