Vive le France!

“I need to eat more French food,” my wife, who has lived in both the Alps and Paris, announced the other day.

As it so happened, the day after she made this proclamation was Bastille Day. And always good for an occasion to build a theme meal around, I pulled out what is and will always be the best French cookbook of all — Thomas Keller’s “The French Laundry.”

The master at work

The master at work

I don’t use cookbooks so much for recipes as for inspiration. I had picked up three plump soft shell crabs a few days before, and wanted to see if any of Keller’s preparations caught my eye. Sure enough, there was a Chesapeake Bay Soft Shell Crab “Sandwich” — the quotation marks being Keller’s and indicating that the recipe was a playful riff on something you might be familiar with. More

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Summer Gravlax for Argentina

So your friends, the Murphys, down the street, who lived in Argentina for awhile and fancy themselves Argentines, are having a party for the World Cup Final. They are making a traditional asado for the afternoon meal, and you want to bring a nice complementary appetizer. What do you settle on? Gravlax, of course.

Sockeye salmon curing

Sockeye salmon curing

While the closest thing to a Scandinavian country in the World Cup would be, I guess, the Netherlands, in today’s globally connected world of culinary mash-ups, there’s no need to be overly legalistic. More