What to Cook (Page 619)
- Merrill Last summer my mother and I went to Scotland, where we visited some friends in Kirkcaldy, just north of Edinburgh. At lunch in their lovely dining room we were served a dessert I had never tried, and of which I had always been highly skeptical. Like Spotted Dick, Heg-Peg-Dump and Toad-in-the-Hole, Eton Mess is one of those traditional U.K. dishes with a moniker that makes you want to run for the hills. But I was happily surprised to find that what I had assumed would be a heavy, drippy English "pud" was in fact an appealing reinterpretation of one of my all-time favorite desserts: pavlova.
- Merrill While studying at Le Cordon Bleu nearly a decade ago, I was taught lots of highly specific, and traditionally French, cooking skills. Some, like "turning" mushrooms, have not been repeated since. (This is where you use a special knife shaped like a bird's beak to carve tiny ridges around the entire cap of a mushroom so that it ends up looking like one of those round, spinning roof vents on the tops of city buildings.) Others, like a nifty trick for cutting bell peppers, have proven incredibly useful in my everyday cooking life.
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