Monday, April 11, 2016

Flashback: Julia Child and Emeril's 1993 Master Chefs video

I can follow a recipe or simply throw something on the stove to see what happens, but I don't think of myself as a cook. That's probably because I don't love cooking. Still, watching this 1993 episode of Julia Child's PBS series, Cooking with Master Chefs, swept me into a misty nostalgia, memories of my grandmother and mother at the cutting board.

My grandmother -- now, she was a cook!

In the video I've posted, Child introduces Emeril Lagasse who cooks shrimp étouffée, which is a type of smothered dish that can be made as well with crawfish or chicken. Generally, any poultry, shellfish, or meat that will not overcook during the smothering process will do.

Emeril, a young up-and-comer then, carefully guides viewers through his method, taking time to explain various terms and show some of his techniques at least twice. As I watched him peel and clean the shrimp, I recalled my grandmother and my mother teaching me how to peel and devein the little scavengers. But what really brought back memories was Emeril's preparation of the mirepoix, the chopped vegetable mix that Cajun/Creole cooks tend to use for almost all dishes. A mirepoix consists of bell peppers, onion (my grandmother always used scallions), celery, and garlic, occasionally carrots, too.

My grandmother and mother never called the mix a mirepoix that I recall, but I definitely remember my mother saying, "always use these seasonings" for dishes such as étouffée, shrimp and okra succotash, gumbo, and so on. My mother was not a fan of cooking either, but she could make a good dish when she chose to.  She didn't spend much time guiding me in cooking, but this video reminds me of one of the few times she gave me a cooking lesson.

Side note here, Julia introduces New Orleans Cajun/Creole cooking and lists its influences; however, she leaves out a major influence, African. I'll just assume the tourism board didn't make that clear to her back then.

1 comment:

CCG said...

THIS post is PURE LOVE!!!