There are different kinds of cooks, those who preserve their cookbooks, and those who abuse their cookbooks. I fall squarely into the second camp. Nobody who has ever looked at my cookbooks would have to wonder if I use them or not. In fact, you can even tell which recipes I have made the most by which pages have the most stains & notes on them. I write notes in my books for just about everything; tips for next time, add more of this, less of that, etc… I also tend to categorize the recipes. I’m not very scientific about it, but over the years my category system has pretty much broken down into the following groups:
- Amazing – we will definitely make it again
- Good, solid every-day fare – we will definitely make it again
- Good, but – not worth the price or effort, or sometimes just because the ingredients are too hard to find here
- Calorie Bombs – these are pretty much always good, but also usually one-time only affairs
- Meh – I don’t think this one really needs an explanation
- Fail – something went horribly wrong
As you can see, my ´´good, but” category covers quite a broad range of sins, and this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Lyonnaise Garlic and Herb Cheese fell squarely into it.
Why, you might ask. Well, because it was GOOD. Very GOOD! Exactly my kind of food in fact. In addition, it was not difficult or time consuming and it did not require any fancy ingredients. BUT, I can also buy it pretty easily at the grocery store.
Le Tartar, in case you have not met, is a french herb cheese spread. The consistency is light and airy, something like a whipped cream cheese, and much smoother than Boursin. It is supermarket cheese, so not high brow by any stretch of the imagination (no AOC designations for this one). I discovered it when I studied abroad in France many years ago, and I was delighted to find that it is available in my grocery store here in Germany. Smeared on a torn off stub of baguette or a nice farmhouse loaf, heaven!
So back to my original point. Dorie’s recipe was very good, but it falls into the category of so many foods which I can’t be bothered to make at home, because it is too easy to purchase at the store. Dorie’s cheese will have plenty of company in this category: fresh pasta, mayonnaise (once was enough), creme fraiche, to name but a few.
ha! I like your calorie bomb label. I also write in my books, and think i need to adopt that designation.
I love it, Rose! My husband always laughs because I get flour -and other things – all over the place when I cook. We just cook with enthusiasm, right? I’ve marked up my “Around My French Table” cookbook with when we made it and what I thought of it.
I agree with your assessment of this recipe – it was good and versatile.
Have a great weekend!
Rose, I am an abuser of cookbooks, too…you could always tell the recipes that are my favorite! I really thought this recipe was simple and delicious! I’m not sure I could find a substitute for this one in my grocery! Have a great weekend!
I abuse everything in my kitchen. I am sure a collector would be appalled at the state of some of my cookbooks.
Lovely setting – and if you can get something like this easily, you are a very lucky girl indeed 🙂
Many cookbooks I have, I just need to use more of them. However, I have one old one with
my recipe for barbecue shrimp, (the only recipe I ever used from that book) which is disgusting.
Finger prints all over, etc.. I have been using this recipe for about 40 years, made copies for
everyone, and still have to bring out the book to use. I must agree, if you can get something
as good as Le Tartare, why bother. Some of the french cheese is so wonderful it isn’t worth
Your post made me smile. I’m with you on what I will cook or not…I’d rather spend my time baking a yummy dessert or making a delicious dinner over making my own condiments. I also agree with you on your assessment of my ricotta version that was so bland. I think that the ricotta I get begins with no character and so it takes too much to fix it into a flavorful dip or spread…your supermarket version sounds like a great idea!
Your bread and spread combo looks great! 🙂
I don’t write on the cookbook itself but stick all sorts of notes into it. My friend also got me a cute kit of sticky flags with some of the same descriptors as yours. Not calorie-bomb, unfortunately. 🙂
most of my cookbooks are a MESS – that’s how I like it:)
I completely get your point. But I have to say that it was a great way to use all of our fresh herbs, and there’s nothing I’ve found quite like it readily available. So I’m more likely to make it again.
Your cheese and all of the goodies look wonderful!
Your kind of cookbooks are like the vintage ones that I love to buy that are well used and well loved. I especially love to find handwritten notes from the previous owners.
If I could buy this spread at the store, then I wouldn’t want to bother making it either. The La Tartar sounds like it is creamier than the ricotta. How lucky you are that it is readily available to you.
You did make me smile – I just love your writing style and I enjoy reading your posts and it is pretty interesting to read about your adventures with the things that are availabel in this country…Ha!
Enjoy a nice long weekend!
I totally agree…so much easier to buy a similar product at the market! Was a fun recipe to try nonetheless 🙂
Love the look of your entire spread!
Rose, There are many things that are as good or better than I can make from scratch. If they are, I buy them. Knorr’s Classic Sauces in a Package – Hollandaise and Bernaise (I am ashamed to say) are two of them. Wouldn’t it be a fun Blog Post if we all admitted to things we can buy better than make? That would be fun. And, cookbooks that aren’t a bit “fussed up” don’t have character. That’s a fact. Nothing looks more lonely on a shelf than a “perfect” cookbook. Your opening pictures were delicious-looking. Nice spread.
I am so torn about making and buying. For some reason, I am currently in the try to make it myself camp, but I think there are things that are just not worth the effort, except maybe the once to say you’ve done it!
I am so with you on buying stuff that is readily available and cheap – by the time you’ve drained the cheese and waited for the flavours to meld, you could have popped down to the shop, bought a tub of ready made spread, and be sitting at home in front of the telly enjoying it with some crudites or crackers.
First, I want to say that whether you’ll repeat this recipe or not, your spread looks perfect, like an indoor picnic, which is one of my favorite meals. I mark up my cookbooks too, with notes and grades. My rating system is simpler though. Check plus (or multiple pluses when deserved), Check (which is like your good, but) and, Check minus for those failures. I wonder if they sell La Tartar in the States. I’ll have to look for it and give it a try.
Rose, I am nominating you for The Food Stories Award for Excellence in Storytelling Award. Please go to my site to pick it up. Congratulations, Mary
I have food all over most of my cookbooks (at least on the pages of the recipes I’ve made), but I need to get better at taking notes. I really like your categorization system; I may adopt it. Your spread of meats, vegetables, and the cheese looks like fun. That’s my favorite kind of meal.