June 20

Eggs sardou

Today's Flavor

Today is National Vanilla Milk Shake Day. I prefer malted milkshakes myself, but I do lean toward vanilla over chocolate. Seems to allow the malted taste to come through better. First one I ever encountered was from a panel truck with a soft-serve ice cream machine aboard and the entire range of ice-cream-parlor ingredients. I loved it immediately. It was called Dairy Dan, and made the rounds in River Ridge in the 1960s. Anybody else remember it? This is also Eggs Sardou Day. Poached eggs atop an artichoke bottom filled with creamed spinach, with a substantial flow of hollandaise sauce. The idea is such a good one that not only is the dish probably the most popular fancy eggs in New Orleans, but it has given rise to many other things Sardou as well. For example, there's crabmeat Sardou, in which lump crabmeat takes the place of the eggs, but everything else is left standing. Eggs Sardou was originally created at Antoine's in New Orleans, in the late 1800s, when Antoine Alciatore himself was still alive. He named it for playwright Victorien Sardou, who'd just written a French comedy called Uncle Sam. (Imagine--the French poking fun at America!) The playwright is probably best remembered because posters for his plays were painted by the Art Nouveau master Alfonse Mucha, but I'm getting off the subject. Antoine's eggs Sardou is different from others in that it doesn't include the spinach, but does have a bit of chopped anchovy. It's a good dish, even though eating eggs at Antoine's seems a little funny. Brennan's changed the dish to its present form everywhere (except Antoine's) by adding creamed spinach to the recipe. Making eggs Sardou at home is too much work for just one or two, but if you have a bunch of friends coming over for brunch, it would impress them.

Gourmet Gazetteer

Curry, Louisiana is one of at least ten places in this country bearing that name. That's appropriate, considering how many different kinds of curry there are. This one is just a junction on US 84 in Kisatchie National Forest, in Winn Parish, about forty-seven miles north of Alexandria. The nearest restaurant serving curry to the denizens of Curry is the China Restaurant, twenty miles down US 84 in Jena.

Edible Dictionary

roadhouse, n.--Originally, a combination restaurant, bar, and small hotel, located on a highway well away from a large town. They served the same function that inns have since medieval times, long before the restaurant as we know it came to be. Roadhouses are found all over America, but the best examples from the heyday of such establishments is found on the original US highway routes, most famously Route 66. The advent of motels and fast-food restaurants drew away customers from both sides of the classic roadhouses' business. Few have rooms any more. Real roadhouses (as opposed to chains claiming the name for atmospheric purposes) are usually old and a bit raffish, with homestyle, inexpensive food and a dubious clientele in the bar. But that's what makes them worthy of interest.

Deft Dining Rule #107:

One of the first steps to becoming a gourmet is deciding whether you want good or plenty.

The Old Kitchen Sage Sez:

If your hollandaise breaks, add a tablespoon of warm water and see if it re-emulsifies. If not, start over again with just one egg yolk, whisking over gentle heat until it gets thick, then whisk in the broken sauce a little at a time.

Music To Eat In Your Room By

Today is the birthday, in 1942, of Brian Wilson, the songwriting genius and distinctive falsetto voice of the Beach Boys. His food quotation was, "Beware the lollipop of mediocrity. Lick it once, and you'll suck forever."

Food Namesakes

Toast Of The Town-- which later became better known as the Ed Sullivan Show, made its first appearance on CBS television on this date in 1948. It was on Sunday nights for twenty-three years. . . Candy Clark, who was an actress in a bunch of 1970s and 1980s movies, was born today in 1947. . . Novelist Charles Chesnutt was born today in 1858. . . Actor John McCook was born today in 1945. . . Writer Lillian Hellman came out of the jar today in 1905.

Words To Eat By

"I am not strict vegan, because I'm a hedonist pig. If I see a big chocolate cake that is made with eggs, I'll have it."--Grace Slick, lead singer of Jefferson Airplane/Starship.

Words To Drink By

"I like my whisky old and my women young."--Actor Errol Flynn, born today in 1909.