It occurred to me recently that you might enjoy hearing about some of the content from one of my favorite little French books,Trucs et Conseils à L’Ancienne: Secrets de grands-mères by Julie Bardin.
As the title says, it features “tricks and advice.” It’s full of just the sorts of teasers and topics that fascinate me. The chapters include everything from the basics of cooking, cleaning and entertaining to makeup, beauty, taking care of clothes and much more.
In the last pages the author has Un Proverbe par Jour, literally a daily proverb. The book is wonderful. I find solutions to problems I didn’t even know I had. It’s great fun which made me think you might agree and that it would make for an entertaining series. What do you think?
I’ll start today and you can let me know if you enjoy les secrets de grands-mères as much as I do.
Let’s start in the kitchen today:
- For perfect mashed potatoes, make them with hot milk. Never pour cold milk into the hot potatoes and reheat. Add butter.
- When Brie is presented at table, it is to be cut on the side, one never cuts off the point. (We’ve already discussed this subject.)
- To determine whether an egg has passed its date of consumption, put it in a bowl of water. If it sinks to the bottom it’s fresh. If it floats, it’s time to toss it.
- If you’re not sure whether an egg is raw or hardboiled, spin it on a hard surface. If it refuses to spin, it’s hardboiled.
- If you need only a few drops of lemon juice, pierce the skin, squeeze out the amount needed and “plug” the little hole with a toothpick. The lemon will stay fresh for days.
- To get the maximum amount of juice from a lemon, plunge it in hot water for 15 minutes before squeezing.
- To clean a carafe (always tricky I find), cover the inside bottom with sea salt or egg shells, add vinegar, water, shake, rinse.
- To enhance the flavor of fresh coffee add a pinch of cinnamon.
- Wash strawberries with their stems.
- When boiling cauliflower, to assure that it remains white, place the head on the bottom of the pan and add a teaspoon of flour to the water.
We had cauliflower for dinner last night and I placed the bottom on the bottom of the pan and that was that. I haven’t tested everything I’ve read or am now passing along to you.
Another tip, to keep green vegetables green, haricots verts and spinach for example, add a couple of pinches of bicarbonate of soda to the water and never cover the pan (go figure).
I’m off to meet Babette for another feature this week.