Thursday, November 19, 2009

moose bourguinon and why Julia Child scared the bejezus out of me

I'm going to admit something that from my childhood that I am totally ashamed of now.

Are you ready for it?

It's bad, really bad!

God, I'm so ashamed of myself!

Okay here goes...

When I was little Julia Child scared the bejezus outta me.

I know, I know, it sounds crazy and I'm sure the foodie police are about to revoke my membership in the club for this insult to one of the food gods. But first, let me explain.

See, my mom didn't watch cooking shows and she didn't own any of Julia's books so I think my first glimpse of Julia probably occurred as I was randomly flipping channels on a weekend morning and suddenly onto my screen popped this giant sized apron garbed apparition, speaking in a voice that I was sure was meant to bounce around in my head endlessly and make star appearances in my nightmares.

So I had no context for who this person was or what she was doing on my television.

And basically I let this ignorant childhood fear pervade the next 25 years or so of my life.

Further to my defense I also came out of a similar childhood episode with a fear of Robert Smith of The Cure (Robert I later realized to be one of the most romantic songwriters, like, ever and The Cure one of my favourite bands, although I still can't watch the one video that gave me the childhood willies.) Other episodes spawned fears of the "Joy of Painting" guy (again, fear totally abolished once I learned about marijuana.)

So, you see, the lesson here is: don't let your children watch too much unchaperoned television. They'll come out with a totally skewed view of the world.

And, they'll find themselves in the torturous position of apparent bandwagon jumping when a Hollywood film is eventually made of the object of one of their irrational youthful judgements and they realize just what the hell they've been missing all these years.

It's true, I held on to my Julia Child stupidity, totally avoiding anything Julia Child related - recipes, cookbooks, food talk - until I heard about the movie and really got an idea of who the woman was and what she had done for cooking.

So now I'm in the position of admitting that it took a major trend to open my mind to something that I should have figured out a long time ago. AND, worse yet, I'm realizing that by negating Julia Child all this time, I've got a lot more to learn about the basics of food than I ever thought possible.

I suck.....and so does my crappy, fearful, totally lacking in self confidence child me.

So, enough about my issues!

I came away from Julia and Julia with the same determination to make Beef Bourguinon as most other folks did and a few weeks later I made it for SeaBass. He was in heaven. For once he didn't even have any "helpful" criticisms...only that I should have made more.

Last week he started bugging me to make it for him again so I started gathering the ingredients and the day before I was set to make it my Dad said, "Hey SeaBass, how 'bout I make us some moose tomorrow?" (Dad brought home a whole wack load of moose from his recent trip to Newfoundland.) To which SeaBass replied, "No way, Jenn's making beef bour..."

At this point I jumped in, luckily saving SeaBass from calling the dish by it's rightful name and ensuring that my father would NEVER put even a forkful of it near his mouth.

"Kind of a beef stew Dad. I'm making SeaBass' favourite stew."

SeaBass, ever trying to keep the even keel in the house, suggested I use the moose for my "stew". And Dad happily agreed.

So away I went. I won't bore you with the recipe since you can find Julia's Beef Bourguinon a million places online.

This is one of the links I've used:

I spent yesterday cooking, with Dad peering over my shoulder to ask why I wasn't adding turnip? And did I need to add industrial gravy thickener to my sauce? But I did it.

And I actually think I like the moose more than the beef! The meat was so tender and soaked up all the flavours and juices. Moose really lends itself to this kind of preparation because it absolutely needs a long cooking time.

So there you have it, yet more evidence of my relative insanity and odd childhood and another culinary success.


Tasty Trix said...

It's understandable! She was a giantess, and without context a truly overwhelming presence. For all you knew, she was about to put you into a pie and bake you.
Back when I ate meat I loved this dish - it was really one of the very few things I knew I would miss about giving up meat. Now, I'll just eat it with my eyes - beautiful pics!

Heiko said...

Julia who? Never heard of her. You're giving me the willies now. Oh and moose is a bit tricky to get hold off here, how about using wild boar instead? I hear them shooting outside my window as we speak (not the wild boar of course, the hunters)...

Laura said...

Awesome... so would you classify moose "stew" as French Canadian? :) Great post. The happy little clouds guy always kinda skeeved me out too, he was just a little too mellow and weirded me right out. Your dish looks and sounds fantastic.

Sook said...

ha ha I like the way you write! I've been reading your posts and I got sucked into them. :) Thanks for joining my blog.

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