I have a fascination for culinary terms and love to know the origins of the names of dishes.
This obsession started from when I was quite young and I know precisely, the exact moment it did.
We are three siblings and all three of us have formally studied food. My sister and myself are ‘HAFTies’ (Sophia Polytechnic, Mumbai) ….proud to be so too!
My brother a CRAFTie was formally trained as a baker and is currently working as one.
I remember many moons ago, when my sister ML, was at HAFT, she decided that she needed her own copy of the ‘Larousse Gastronomique.’
The Larousse Gastronomique is probably THE cookery Bible.
Schoolgirl me, tagged along to pick up her copy. A heavy tome, ML lugged it home like it was a chest full of gold.
She was very protective of her Larousse. But I would still manage to sneak a look very often.
Oh! The pages of the Larousse…..they held treasure!
Treasure in the form of knowledge….foodie knowledge!
I was in heaven. I did not know what the food I was reading about, was. I didn’t think I ever would.
But the stories within, of historical events, lovers, royalty and famous stars all having dishes created especially for them, fascinated me.
I did not realize that all this information was filed away, only to surface 8 years later when I myself became a proud HAFTie!
With my parents running a catering business, our house was filled with all kinds of cookery books as well as constant discussions about food.
So it was natural that I had unknowingly absorbed so much of foodie knowledge, that I was teased in college and called ‘The Walking Talking Larousse II ‘.( I had a senior who was the first)
But I love my Larousse and now have my own copy which I still browse through, eagerly.
As part of my this blog I’ve decided to write about ‘Foodie Gyans and Yarns’.
This will include foodie terms I find interesting as well as those that confuse me…..my gyans.
Sometimes I will write stories…..my yarns.
I hope you will enjoy this and would love to hear about what you would like to see on the blog.
Talking about Escoffier, its only natural that I should talk about his acclaimed dish ‘The Peach Melba.’
Nellie Melba was a renowned Australian opera singer who was very popular in the late 1800’s.
Escoffier was the chef at both these landmark hotels at different points in his career.
Once when Nellie Melba was unwell, Escoffier created a very dry, thin, crisp piece of toast for her to eat. This toast came to be known as ‘Melba Toast.’
Normally eaten with some pate or cheese, Melba Toast is often served with soup or salad.
In 1892, when Nellie Melba was performing Wagner’s opera Lohengrin in Covent Gardens, London, she sent her fan Escoffier 2 tickets for the show.
Escoffier was so grateful that he created a dish of poached peaches on a bed of vanilla ice cream for Melba.
Later he added a topping of raspberry sauce to the dessert and served it in a swan shaped bowl carved out of ice.
Although many of us may have never heard of her, she is alive in history every time your eyes skim over a dessert menu and spies a dish called ‘Peach Melba’.
Or whenever you are served a soup or salad with Melba Toast on the side.
Now you are ‘in the know’.
Picture credits……Cooking in Provence