If your not Patricia Wells, preparing a dinner for French friends might be intimidating. For the first few years in France, I went through all sorts of contortions to prepare a meal that might prove to the French that Americans did actually have something called ‘cuisine’.
Most of my efforts were pretty pathetic. There was the meatloaf dinner for example.
“Meatloaf was one President Nixon’s favorite plates,” I explained.
My guests tried to make a few polite comments.
“It’s very nicely spiced.”
After running the gamut of Cajun Shrimp, Mama Mollo’s Sicilian recipe for lasagne, southern fried chicken,creamed corn, and sweet potatoes, I finally fell upon an old standby: Spinach, cooked the way I learned during a girl scout outing sponsored by Rochester Gas & Electric.
An amazing women wowed a dozen girl scouts wearing our little green hats and uniforms by doing something with spinach no one had ever seen before back in the early sixties. She dumped it in a sautee pan with a minimum of olive oil and let it lightly reduce in its own moisture along with some sauteed onions. Lightly salt, pepper, add a dab of nutmeg. Spinach had always been a vegetable that would literally make me gag. I immediately went home and tried out the recipe. Now, in Paris, I pulled out the old recipe as my last resort.
Amazingly, everyone who’d tries this spinach raves and showers me with compliments.
“Christina’s come a long ways in cooking,” they say.
Just call me ‘Madame Epinard’.