Some of us come from large, extended families. Some of us from smaller ones. I never met either of my grandfathers. And my parents were never able to convey any sense of the character of those men. “Grandfather” is an empty word for me.
If I had my druthers, if I could pick and choose, then I think I would have liked to have Jacques Pepin to be my grandfather.
There is a charming girl named Shorey and Jacques Pepin is her grandfather. Now, Shorey turns out to be a foodie, a real gourmand Jacques says. He describes her as precocious and he clearly loves her.
For Shorey, Jacques has created this cookbook, a cookbook for a young girl who just may grow up to outdo her famous grandfather. Shorey has been in the kitchen with Jacques for years, starting at age six. She’s learned for sure at her grandfather’s side. She may have needed a boost or two to see what is happening, but she’s past twelve now so when she stands tall she can see the countertop and all the equipment and food at play.
Play is a good word to use here, for Jacques loves to cook and the photos here show grandfather and granddaughter smiling and laughing as dishes are happily prepared. While this book is written for his granddaughter, and for other kids, the audience here can be all of us. This is not “kid” food. There are dishes here that any of us would be proud to prepare and delighted to consume. Dishes like this one:
That is Oven-Roasted Bass in Cream, Horseradish and Caper Sauce. Other ideas? How about:
Chicken Supremes in Persillade
Cubanelle Peppers with Anchovies and Tomato
Sausage, Potatoes, Onions and Mushrooms en Papillote
Twice-Baked Potatoes with Sour Cream Sauce
Classic French Meringues
Radishes with Butter
Sushi Salmon Cubes
I’m lucky enough to have two grandsons, who will be getting copies of this book. They love to cook with Suzi and me, but we’ve never undertaken anything so elegant as the lovely ideas presented here. I’m going to resort to blatant shame: “Hey, if that girl on the cover can cook those peppers, surely you can do it.”
I know. Inappropriate. But it will ultimately be for everyone’s good. And, our table can bend with the grand bounty presented in A Grandfather’s Lessons. Lessons well learned and lovingly presented.