Tag Archives: france

We Should Aspire to Have the World’s Longest Arms

Anthony Bourdain had some of the longest arms in the world, a reach that included street food vendors, every professional cook and chef, former U.S. presidents, activists, heads of state, international journalists and the countless world cultures he humanized and helped us appreciate.

Primetime Creative Emmy Awards 2009

Declaring his French-origin surname was originally pronounced “boor-dah”, Anthony Bourdain first tasted an oyster as a teenager on a family vacation in France, the birthplace of his father, an event that would forever secure his love of food and cooking.

Anthony’s descriptors brimmed with the unabashed intellect and no-holds charm he cast, describing “flambe traveling up an inexperienced cook’s leg” or the loving castigation of his friend, Le Bernardin chef Eric Ripert, for “dicking around with your insane professionalism”, or his assertion that “we deserted Detroit because it was full of black people.”

On CNN’s Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, he called street food “the path to true happiness and wisdom”, yet spoke of the loneliness of travel. He had a not-so-well-disguised undercurrent of love and empathetic appreciation for all cultures; yet he admitted to personally having “become harder in some ways.” Who among us cannot relate to the dichotomy.

Anthony authored blogs, essays, articles, fiction, historical non-fiction, cookbooks and travel-exploit books. Occasionally interwoven in interviews and commentary was the thread of his personal “struggle”, and always a deep honesty of the challenges he lived.

A lot has been written about the question of death by suicide. Others we’ve lost we’ve loved no less for their brilliance and courage when faced with what must have seemed insurmountable.

If only we could extend to him the arms he extended to us.

I, for one, am still in his reach and will miss him deeply.

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The Sophistication of Goo

 A dispassionate tear of glucose, the refugee of macaroon mischief…

Six months of management classes at the Oregon Culinary Institute are successfully completed at a GPA I must admit I’m pretty happy with. I have a set of core business courses under my belt that will serve Essential Confection well.

The hammer is down. I’m now immersed in what I came here for, management classes notwithstanding. Baking and pastry, the creative love of my life for more than 40 years, is under way. Immersion, indeed.

Two to three recipes per day, ingredients scaled a day ahead. I’ve elected to come in an hour early each day to work ahead.

Macaroons, a super-slight crunch sheltering the sweet succulence of coconut. The texture of a great macaroon is a viscid al dente goo offset by the shimmer of a crunch.

Macaroons have an elegance undoubtedly arising from their French, Italian and Belgian origins where ground almonds were, and are, commonly used in place of coconut.

Instead of glucose, heavy, dense and very tacky, our formula called for corn syrup which has glucose as an ingredient but is lighter and a bit easier to handle. A simple recipe and technique that yields a brilliant result.

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Coconut Macaroons

6 oz sugar

6 oz macaroon coconut

1 oz corn syrup

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp pastry flour

1 pinch salt

3 egg whites (1 oz per egg white)

Combine all ingredients and warm over simmering water to 120 degrees F. Allow mixture to cool. Stir before use. Scoop portions onto parchment-lined sheet pans. Bake for 12 min at 350 degrees F. Piping the dough into beautiful little pointed stacks is an option.