Tuesday, February 9, 2016


{These French recipies are from a French cookbook called La Cuisine:  Guide Practique de la Ménagère by Chef R. Blondeau.  This book was passed down to me from my great-grandmother, who was from Alsace, a North-eastern region on the Rhine river plain in France.  It was published in 1930 as a guide for cooks hired to cook for upper-middle class families.

As a fun project, I am translating the recipes from French, testing them out with home-grown or raised food, and re-writing them in a modern format, with notes about what worked for me in the kitchen} 

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  Here is the next French recipe from "La Cuisine," featuring two things we've got from the farm:  Pumpkins from last year's summer garden (I still have six!  The Seminoles keep so long!) and milk.  According to Chef R. Blondeau (the author), soup must be served at the beginning of dinner if it is not part of lunch.

When I was in France, my friend Sunil's dad told me that petit déjeuner for breakfast, déjeuner for lunch, and Dîner for dinner were the modern, Parisian French.  He was very amused to hear that I had been taught those words in American school.

He said those were the terms for big city people in Paris who stay up late and wake up close to noon.  He explained that déjeuner means literally "to stop fasting," just like our word breakfast means "to break the fast" of the night.

In French, lunch was traditionally called dîner, just like lunch was called dinner in English long ago.  Supper, which is what everyone calls dinner now, is souper in French, because soup was traditionally served.

 I've been inspired and have been making a soup to go along with dinner (and leftovers for lunch).  We actually eat a lot less of the rest of dinner, and I end up feeling very full and satisfied.  R. Blondeau divides soups into two categories:  Rich or Thin, depending on whether or not meat or meat broth is added.  This soup could be "Riche" or "Maigre" depending on if you use broth or water.  Many of the soups that do not have broth, meat, or seafood include milk.



 Remove the skin, seeds and strings from a slice of a beautiful, well-fleshed pumpkin. Cut into pieces and boil in a pot with just a little water and salt and pepper, for a little more than a quarter of an hour.

Remove from the heat, and add half a litre of milk. Return to the fire and cook until it boils again. Serve this soup hot, after adding a pat of butter.


1 small to medium-sized pumpkin (I used a Seminole pumpkin from the garden), or half a larger pumpkin – it really depends on how much pumpkin soup you want.

water or broth

salt and pepper to taste

2 cups of milk

butter to serve

1. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and strings. Cut into smaller slices and peel off the peel with a sharp knife. Chop into bite-sized pieces and put in a medium-sized pot with a little water.

2. Season pumpkin with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cook until pumpkin is soft, a little more than 15 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and add 2 cups of milk. I also blended the soup at this point. Return to the fire and cook until it boils again.

4. Stir in a pat of butter, taste and adjust seasonings before serving.

Notes:  The original recipe does not call for this soup to be blended, but I did blend it, for a couple of reasons - first of all Ta-ta Gaby, my great-aunt who is French, makes a similar squash soup that is blended.  Second of all, my picky offspring won't eat pumpkin if they know it's in something, but they said they liked this soup.

This soup turned out to be a lovely, creamy pink color.  It was a delicious mixture of sweet and savoury, and brought out the nutty, sweet flavor of the pumpkin.

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