Sunday, November 7, 2010
i have been waiting to make this recipe for a long time now. we are talking years here. when S and i finally set a date this summer to make it together, november seemed so far away. i read the recipe weeks before to prepare for this epic meal. i psyched myself up. "i can make a juila child recipe," i told myself. my mouth was practically watering in anticipation as the meal cooked. mrs. child's boeuf bourginion was in the oven. we only had to wait mere hours to taste it.
when it finally came out of the oven, we prepared the plates. we served this classic, slow-cooked, cold evening, beef dish over creamy, butter-laden mashed potatoes. i took one bite and realized i had fallen victim of over-anticipation. yes, this dish was good. yes, the beef was so tender it literally melted in my mouth. yes, the wine paired expertly with the meal. but it wasn't the amazing, near heaven experience i was expecting. i mean, it's julia child. it's boeuf bourguignon. books were written about dishes like this. blogs have been based on and movies have been written about this woman and this near-legendary dish. i was anticipating pure amazement in my mouth. the long wait and anticipation built the dish up too much in my mind. it didn't stand a chance living up to the standard i had set. the bar was too high.
don't get me wrong - this dish was good. i mean, it was gooood. i will be making this again and i will not be afraid to make some changes to it. after all, i have learned something very important. i won't be intimidated by a recipe from a cooking legend again.
as S and i were making this, we vowed to follow the recipe to a T. we would cook this dish just as julia intended it to be cooked. but we found ourselves questioning the recipe over and over again. boil the bacon?? then fry it in olive oil?? why wouldn't we just fry the bacon in the pan, and use the bacon fat, juices, and flavor to saute the veggies? wipe the pan out each time you added something new? then add more butter/oil? it felt wrong. weren't we wiping out the flavor?? as i said, i am anxious to make this again because it was still good. plus, next time i will remember to alter my expectations to reachable and not set myself up for disappointment.
here is the link to the recipe we followed. when i make this again with my changes, i'll post that too.