About this meme: Melissa at the Traveler's Lunchbox read a BBC poll of "50 things to eat before you die" and devised a slightly different version for food bloggers everywhere. And that is to "create a list of food bloggers' top picks for things they've eaten and think that everyone should eat at least once before they die." Click on her link to see how this project works.
Ok. Deep breath. Here I go:
Cassoulet: Preferrably in Toulouse in southwest France, its purported birthplace, a claim that's been in question for over 100 years, as nearby Castelnaudary also claims that fame. Cassoulet is a dish made with beans, Toulouse sausage, and duck or goose confit. In Toulouse anyway. Castelnaudary and Carcassonne both have their versions which contain different meats. In Paula Wolfort's The Cooking of Southwest France, she devotes an entire chapter to cassoulet, its history and often fought-over origins, as well as several recipes. Cassoulet is rich and hearty. One must take care not to eat too much, especially if one is not used to such richness. I speak from experience--and it's an experience one should try at least once.
Seared Foie Gras appetizer at the Corner Table Restaurant in Minneapolis. Placed on a bed of locally grown, organic spinach, sprinkled with toasted walnuts and dusted with bee pollen, I know it's not PC in some circles, but I eat meat and I LOVE foie gras. This was done to buttery, divine perfection.
Roast Leg of Locally Raised Lamb: I've run into many people who won't eat lamb; claim to hate it. I would venture to guess that some of those many lamb-haters would be converts once they took a bite of this recipe. Our lambs are raised just across the fence from our property by our neighbors, D & M. On organic grassland. We watch them grazing in the fields, knowing that the only thing going into their bodies is good, wholesome grass, fresh air and clear, clean water. This lamb is rich, succulent, meaty and delicious. I wish all lamb-haters could have just one bite.
Salade aux Gesiers de Canard: Or, Salad with confit of duck gizzards. Again, you have to travel to France to get the real thing. And not just to France, but to the Perigord Noir region where the violet mustard is made and the walnut oil is local and the confit of duck gizzards, well, I just do not have words. There, in Sarlat, is where I had the most delicious salad I've ever, ever tasted. I continued to order it throughout our travels in the region, finding it in Domme, Rocamadour, Albi, Carcassonne, Cahors and St. Cirq Lapopie. And no matter that I brought back the local mustard, have found a source for French walnut oil, and have tried many times to replicate the recipe, it's not the real thing. You'll just have to go there. Trust me.
This has turned out to be somewhat of a travel essay to boot. I admit that I adore French food, especially from the countryside where we spent so much time. And I love sharing it with any who will listen (or read).
Okay then, here are my picks. I visit these bloggers often to see what they're up to and I'm always glad I do.
Julie, of A Mingling of Tastes, is a writer and newlywed living in Fort Lauderdale, known to cross state lines for an authentic tapas bar.
Cyndi, of Cookin' With Cyndi, lives up in the San Bernadino mountains and does some lower carb, downhome cooking.
Michelle, of Je Mange La Ville, lives, cooks and creates wonderful arty things in Portland.
Mimi, of French Kitchen in America, is the daughter of a chef and grand-daughter of avid French cooks and tells us that a love for food and food preparation can make any kitchen French.
And finally, a new blogger who I enjoy reading is Shane from Shane With Thyme On Her Hands, who doesn't really have much time now that the school year has started, but I do hope she will join us and have some fun!