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amuse bouche

I love quotes that add meaning to my life. Here are a few to live by:

We can dramatically increase global food availability and environmental sustainability by using more of our crops to feed people directly and less to fatten livestock.
—Jonathan A. Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment, U of MN

Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.
—Michael Pollan

Cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love.
—Craig Claiborne

People who eat according to the rules of a traditional food culture are generally healthier than those of us eating a modern Western diet of processed food.
—Michael Pollan

Cooking with Evan Jones: My Father’s Recipes, Part 2 of 4

 A Newspaper FamilyEvan Jones making a Salisbury Steak

Growing up in a newspaper family had given my father a love of words. I don’t remember an evening when he wouldn’t reach for the dictionary. The Oxford Unabridged had pride of place on a stand next to the dining table. And it was part of the joy of those weekends that I listened and absorbed words. It was also a time to try out new words, the ones that I’d read but didn’t know how to pronounce.

 “So”, said my father, “Salisbury. Where’s that?”

 “A town in Connecticut?” I hesitantly replied. It was all I could think of.

  “What about the cathedral,” he prodded.  “Do you know where it is?”

 I wondered what he was talking about. “Britain”, he said, where your grandfather was born. Salisbury is a major county seat in England and Salisbury Cathedral is a magnificent church that was built in the middle ages.”

 While I was thinking about ancient monks and the Hunchback of Notre Dame (I’d just seen the Lon Chaney movie), he plopped a pound of hamburger meat in a large bowl and handed me a loaf of Arnold’s white bread. “Cut the crusts off the slices and then break them up into crumbs. We’ll add that to the meat.”

The Hands of a Welsh Miner

My thoughts of ancient Britain were immediately dissipated by the new task at hand. I watched my father’s hands work the crumbs into the meat. He had large hands, wide and full, not bony and elegant like a pianist’s, but the hands of a worker, the hands of a welsh miner. And a Welsh miner he might have become if it wasn’t for his father, who left the British Isles for the promise of education and work in the United States. I never asked him about this and I’m sorry now that he is no longer here to tell me about his history. Had he ever wondered who he would have been if his father hadn’t made his way to the New World? If my grandfather hadn’t learned the craft of copy editing, my father might have been born into the mines and the dirt poor towns of Wales.

 Master of The Leftover

“Now, a little parsley. It’s in the refrigerator. Look below the eggs, in a paper bag, I think.”

I stooped to reach behind the egg crate. The white interior of the GE refrigerator, with its un-shaded light bulb, was dazzling and bulging with food. It was all, at the same time, the most familiar and most mysterious of places, this box of tricks, my father’s refrigerator. For, not only did it contain the usual things that everyone’s refrigerator contained –bottles of milk, cream, a pound of butter, a carton of eggs and plastic-wrapped strips of bacon and cheese, oranges for juice, apples, pears, iceberg lettuce, hothouse tomatoes, onions and sometimes a green pepper or two, it also had little re-usable jars and small bowls of “leftovers”, those amazing secrets to my father’s cuisine, if “cuisine” it could be called in those days. For, besides being a cookbook author, he was a master of the leftover, a Brillat-Savarin of yesterday’s repasts made new.

LL Bean Book of New New England Cookery What I wouldn’t give for a list of the dishes my father improvised from leftovers. Some were so novel, they probably could never be duplicated. But, some, like lamb hash, have been memorialized in his books, including American Food: The Gastronomic Story and, The L. L. Bean Book of New New England Cookery. He saved everything that was edible. The juices from a robust beef stew, the gelee from a lightly poached salmon or haddock, the fat from a roast lamb with all the garlic and herb flavor imparted. His tomato sauces, whether Italian or otherwise, were the germ of an idea, the reason to create a new sauce. He drove my stepmother mad with his improvisations, for she was a stickler for measurements and precision in cooking. His rashness provoked her meticulousness and so, I think, created a synergy that made them perfect partners in the kitchen. Their joint efforts are seen in the several cookbooks they co-authored. Watching them do the discreet culinary dance in their kitchen was a pure pleasure.

 The Kitchen Dance

Hunched over the counter, my father would commune with his part of the meal, slipping in an ingredient or two all his own. My stepmother would have a cookbook out in front, craning her neck to see the proportions of a sauce or batter. Classical music played from a speaker, wedged into a corner of the room; or the conversation of a guest, also wedged into a corner of the tiny space, accompanied their choreography. The kitchen was the liveliest place I knew. Weekend evenings were more entertaining in my father’s kitchen then almost any other place I’d ever been. It was heaven to be there.

 To be continued in the next  post….

A bientot, 

Posted: 5-28-2012

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 A Newspaper FamilyEvan Jones making a Salisbury Steak

Growing up in a newspaper family had given my father a love of words. I don’t remember an evening when he wouldn’t reach for the dictionary. The Oxford Unabridged had pride of place on a stand next to the dining table. And it was part of the joy of those weekends that I listened and absorbed words. It was also a time to try out new words, the ones that I’d read but didn’t know how to pronounce.

 “So”, said my father, “Salisbury. Where’s that?”

 “A town in Connecticut?” I hesitantly replied. It was all I could think of.

  “What about the cathedral,” he prodded.  “Do you know where it is?”

 I wondered what he was talking about. “Britain”, he said, where your grandfather was born. Salisbury is a major county seat in England and Salisbury Cathedral is a magnificent church that was built in the middle ages.”

 While I was thinking about ancient monks and the Hunchback of Notre Dame (I’d just seen the Lon Chaney movie), he plopped a pound of hamburger meat in a large bowl and handed me a loaf of Arnold’s white bread. “Cut the crusts off the slices and then break them up into crumbs. We’ll add that to the meat.”

The Hands of a Welsh Miner

My thoughts of ancient Britain were immediately dissipated by the new task at hand. I watched my father’s hands work the crumbs into the meat. He had large hands, wide and full, not bony and elegant like a pianist’s, but the hands of a worker, the hands of a welsh miner. And a Welsh miner he might have become if it wasn’t for his father, who left the British Isles for the promise of education and work in the United States. I never asked him about this and I’m sorry now that he is no longer here to tell me about his history. Had he ever wondered who he would have been if his father hadn’t made his way to the New World? If my grandfather hadn’t learned the craft of copy editing, my father might have been born into the mines and the dirt poor towns of Wales.

 Master of The Leftover

“Now, a little parsley. It’s in the refrigerator. Look below the eggs, in a paper bag, I think.”

I stooped to reach behind the egg crate. The white interior of the GE refrigerator, with its un-shaded light bulb, was dazzling and bulging with food. It was all, at the same time, the most familiar and most mysterious of places, this box of tricks, my father’s refrigerator. For, not only did it contain the usual things that everyone’s refrigerator contained –bottles of milk, cream, a pound of butter, a carton of eggs and plastic-wrapped strips of bacon and cheese, oranges for juice, apples, pears, iceberg lettuce, hothouse tomatoes, onions and sometimes a green pepper or two, it also had little re-usable jars and small bowls of “leftovers”, those amazing secrets to my father’s cuisine, if “cuisine” it could be called in those days. For, besides being a cookbook author, he was a master of the leftover, a Brillat-Savarin of yesterday’s repasts made new.

LL Bean Book of New New England Cookery What I wouldn’t give for a list of the dishes my father improvised from leftovers. Some were so novel, they probably could never be duplicated. But, some, like lamb hash, have been memorialized in his books, including American Food: The Gastronomic Story and, The L. L. Bean Book of New New England Cookery. He saved everything that was edible. The juices from a robust beef stew, the gelee from a lightly poached salmon or haddock, the fat from a roast lamb with all the garlic and herb flavor imparted. His tomato sauces, whether Italian or otherwise, were the germ of an idea, the reason to create a new sauce. He drove my stepmother mad with his improvisations, for she was a stickler for measurements and precision in cooking. His rashness provoked her meticulousness and so, I think, created a synergy that made them perfect partners in the kitchen. Their joint efforts are seen in the several cookbooks they co-authored. Watching them do the discreet culinary dance in their kitchen was a pure pleasure.

 The Kitchen Dance

Hunched over the counter, my father would commune with his part of the meal, slipping in an ingredient or two all his own. My stepmother would have a cookbook out in front, craning her neck to see the proportions of a sauce or batter. Classical music played from a speaker, wedged into a corner of the room; or the conversation of a guest, also wedged into a corner of the tiny space, accompanied their choreography. The kitchen was the liveliest place I knew. Weekend evenings were more entertaining in my father’s kitchen then almost any other place I’d ever been. It was heaven to be there.

 To be continued in the next  post….

A bientot, 

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 A Newspaper FamilyEvan Jones making a Salisbury Steak

Growing up in a newspaper family had given my father a love of words. I don’t remember an evening when he wouldn’t reach for the dictionary. The Oxford Unabridged had pride of place on a stand next to the dining table. And it was part of the joy of those weekends that I listened and absorbed words. It was also a time to try out new words, the ones that I’d read but didn’t know how to pronounce.

 “So”, said my father, “Salisbury. Where’s that?”

 “A town in Connecticut?” I hesitantly replied. It was all I could think of.

  “What about the cathedral,” he prodded.  “Do you know where it is?”

 I wondered what he was talking about. “Britain”, he said, where your grandfather was born. Salisbury is a major county seat in England and Salisbury Cathedral is a magnificent church that was built in the middle ages.”

 While I was thinking about ancient monks and the Hunchback of Notre Dame (I’d just seen the Lon Chaney movie), he plopped a pound of hamburger meat in a large bowl and handed me a loaf of Arnold’s white bread. “Cut the crusts off the slices and then break them up into crumbs. We’ll add that to the meat.”

The Hands of a Welsh Miner

My thoughts of ancient Britain were immediately dissipated by the new task at hand. I watched my father’s hands work the crumbs into the meat. He had large hands, wide and full, not bony and elegant like a pianist’s, but the hands of a worker, the hands of a welsh miner. And a Welsh miner he might have become if it wasn’t for his father, who left the British Isles for the promise of education and work in the United States. I never asked him about this and I’m sorry now that he is no longer here to tell me about his history. Had he ever wondered who he would have been if his father hadn’t made his way to the New World? If my grandfather hadn’t learned the craft of copy editing, my father might have been born into the mines and the dirt poor towns of Wales.

 Master of The Leftover

“Now, a little parsley. It’s in the refrigerator. Look below the eggs, in a paper bag, I think.”

I stooped to reach behind the egg crate. The white interior of the GE refrigerator, with its un-shaded light bulb, was dazzling and bulging with food. It was all, at the same time, the most familiar and most mysterious of places, this box of tricks, my father’s refrigerator. For, not only did it contain the usual things that everyone’s refrigerator contained –bottles of milk, cream, a pound of butter, a carton of eggs and plastic-wrapped strips of bacon and cheese, oranges for juice, apples, pears, iceberg lettuce, hothouse tomatoes, onions and sometimes a green pepper or two, it also had little re-usable jars and small bowls of “leftovers”, those amazing secrets to my father’s cuisine, if “cuisine” it could be called in those days. For, besides being a cookbook author, he was a master of the leftover, a Brillat-Savarin of yesterday’s repasts made new.

LL Bean Book of New New England Cookery What I wouldn’t give for a list of the dishes my father improvised from leftovers. Some were so novel, they probably could never be duplicated. But, some, like lamb hash, have been memorialized in his books, including American Food: The Gastronomic Story and, The L. L. Bean Book of New New England Cookery. He saved everything that was edible. The juices from a robust beef stew, the gelee from a lightly poached salmon or haddock, the fat from a roast lamb with all the garlic and herb flavor imparted. His tomato sauces, whether Italian or otherwise, were the germ of an idea, the reason to create a new sauce. He drove my stepmother mad with his improvisations, for she was a stickler for measurements and precision in cooking. His rashness provoked her meticulousness and so, I think, created a synergy that made them perfect partners in the kitchen. Their joint efforts are seen in the several cookbooks they co-authored. Watching them do the discreet culinary dance in their kitchen was a pure pleasure.

 The Kitchen Dance

Hunched over the counter, my father would commune with his part of the meal, slipping in an ingredient or two all his own. My stepmother would have a cookbook out in front, craning her neck to see the proportions of a sauce or batter. Classical music played from a speaker, wedged into a corner of the room; or the conversation of a guest, also wedged into a corner of the tiny space, accompanied their choreography. The kitchen was the liveliest place I knew. Weekend evenings were more entertaining in my father’s kitchen then almost any other place I’d ever been. It was heaven to be there.

 To be continued in the next  post….

A bientot, 

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 A Newspaper FamilyEvan Jones making a Salisbury Steak

Growing up in a newspaper family had given my father a love of words. I don’t remember an evening when he wouldn’t reach for the dictionary. The Oxford Unabridged had pride of place on a stand next to the dining table. And it was part of the joy of those weekends that I listened and absorbed words. It was also a time to try out new words, the ones that I’d read but didn’t know how to pronounce.

 “So”, said my father, “Salisbury. Where’s that?”

 “A town in Connecticut?” I hesitantly replied. It was all I could think of.

  “What about the cathedral,” he prodded.  “Do you know where it is?”

 I wondered what he was talking about. “Britain”, he said, where your grandfather was born. Salisbury is a major county seat in England and Salisbury Cathedral is a magnificent church that was built in the middle ages.”

 While I was thinking about ancient monks and the Hunchback of Notre Dame (I’d just seen the Lon Chaney movie), he plopped a pound of hamburger meat in a large bowl and handed me a loaf of Arnold’s white bread. “Cut the crusts off the slices and then break them up into crumbs. We’ll add that to the meat.”

The Hands of a Welsh Miner

My thoughts of ancient Britain were immediately dissipated by the new task at hand. I watched my father’s hands work the crumbs into the meat. He had large hands, wide and full, not bony and elegant like a pianist’s, but the hands of a worker, the hands of a welsh miner. And a Welsh miner he might have become if it wasn’t for his father, who left the British Isles for the promise of education and work in the United States. I never asked him about this and I’m sorry now that he is no longer here to tell me about his history. Had he ever wondered who he would have been if his father hadn’t made his way to the New World? If my grandfather hadn’t learned the craft of copy editing, my father might have been born into the mines and the dirt poor towns of Wales.

 Master of The Leftover

“Now, a little parsley. It’s in the refrigerator. Look below the eggs, in a paper bag, I think.”

I stooped to reach behind the egg crate. The white interior of the GE refrigerator, with its un-shaded light bulb, was dazzling and bulging with food. It was all, at the same time, the most familiar and most mysterious of places, this box of tricks, my father’s refrigerator. For, not only did it contain the usual things that everyone’s refrigerator contained –bottles of milk, cream, a pound of butter, a carton of eggs and plastic-wrapped strips of bacon and cheese, oranges for juice, apples, pears, iceberg lettuce, hothouse tomatoes, onions and sometimes a green pepper or two, it also had little re-usable jars and small bowls of “leftovers”, those amazing secrets to my father’s cuisine, if “cuisine” it could be called in those days. For, besides being a cookbook author, he was a master of the leftover, a Brillat-Savarin of yesterday’s repasts made new.

LL Bean Book of New New England Cookery What I wouldn’t give for a list of the dishes my father improvised from leftovers. Some were so novel, they probably could never be duplicated. But, some, like lamb hash, have been memorialized in his books, including American Food: The Gastronomic Story and, The L. L. Bean Book of New New England Cookery. He saved everything that was edible. The juices from a robust beef stew, the gelee from a lightly poached salmon or haddock, the fat from a roast lamb with all the garlic and herb flavor imparted. His tomato sauces, whether Italian or otherwise, were the germ of an idea, the reason to create a new sauce. He drove my stepmother mad with his improvisations, for she was a stickler for measurements and precision in cooking. His rashness provoked her meticulousness and so, I think, created a synergy that made them perfect partners in the kitchen. Their joint efforts are seen in the several cookbooks they co-authored. Watching them do the discreet culinary dance in their kitchen was a pure pleasure.

 The Kitchen Dance

Hunched over the counter, my father would commune with his part of the meal, slipping in an ingredient or two all his own. My stepmother would have a cookbook out in front, craning her neck to see the proportions of a sauce or batter. Classical music played from a speaker, wedged into a corner of the room; or the conversation of a guest, also wedged into a corner of the tiny space, accompanied their choreography. The kitchen was the liveliest place I knew. Weekend evenings were more entertaining in my father’s kitchen then almost any other place I’d ever been. It was heaven to be there.

 To be continued in the next  post….

A bientot, 

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19 Responses to “Cooking with Evan Jones: My Father’s Recipes, Part 2 of 4”

  1. Margo and Tony says:

    Bron,

    We have experienced Judith’s kitchen and only a few years earlier would have had the joy of your Dad as well!! what a team they must have made.

    Margo and Tony

    • Bronwyn says:

      Lovely to hear from you, Margo and Tony. I miss seeing you in New York! Wish you could have seen Evan and Judith “dancing” in the kitchen. We all had so much fun cooking together….

  2. Hey there, You’ve done an excellent job. I will certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I am sure they will be benefited from this website.

    • Bronwyn says:

      Thanks for your interest. I’m really happy with the new blog and hope everyone who reads it will feel the same way!

  3. Janet says:

    I’m trying to wean myself from recipes and learn how to improvise–reading about your father and his leftovers is emboldening … congratulations on the new website!

    • Bronwyn says:

      Janet, you’re so nice to comment about the “improvisations” that were part of our kitchen life when I was growing up. Try it, it’s fun and sometimes produces a new dish that becomes a recipe you can use over and over….

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    • Bronwyn says:

      Hi, Lorna

      I’m glad you like the blog. It’s fun to write about my food family and the great food stuff happening in Vermont. Let me know what interests you most and I will try to write more on that subject. Is it food, family, farming, restaurants…let me know!

      Bronwyn

  6. Mark Dobson says:

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    • Bronwyn says:

      Hi Mark, So glad you like the blog and I hope you will contribute some of your wonderful knowledge of local food people and events here in Vermont. I always learn something new when we talk…thank you!

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