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Corned tongue and Queen Alexandra’s Sandwiches

<Queen Alexandra's Sandwiches

A couple years ago, my then-boss gave me a very thoughtful gift: A vintage 1958 edition of the Gourmet Cookbook, Volume II. To this day I occasionally like to sit down and flip through it, enjoy the quaint little illustrations that separate recipes and inhale the musky aroma of the quinquagenarian pages. The book is mostly text, but it is peppered throughout with occasional color plates to highlight certain recipes.

As one might expect, there’s quite a lot of old-school fare in there, harkening to the deep French roots of continental cuisine so much in vogue at the time. The recipes are amusing enough as it is, but the presentation as well as the preparation is really a snapshot of retro food in the most over-the-top sense; in fact, there’s an entire section dedicated to aspics. To wit: Langue de bouche à la Rochefort, beef tongue poised like a ski slope on a mound of rice, then coated in four layers chaud-froid and decorated with filigree-like slices of truffle. 

Langue de boeuf à la Rochefort


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Duck prosciutto: Charcutepalooza month one

Duck prosciutto

After last year's relatively easily-gotten success making guanciale, I've been fairly obsessed with the idea of dabbling deeper into charcuterie. I mean, if it's as easy as salting, hanging and waiting, what's not to love? And so, as the winter cool descended upon us, I began to fantasize about setting up a more serious curing chamber in our basement, looking at different options, developing madcap ideas about how to hack something together that would serve the purpose. 

And then, Cathy Barrow from Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Kitchen and Kim Foster of The Yummy Mummy hatched a genius plan: Charcutepalooza! A charcuterie project for each month during the year 2011, all inspired by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn's book "Charcuterie." It was like a sign from the heavens, a booming voice in my ear encouraging me to embrace the art of curing meat. And it was good. 

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