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History of Food – Crêpes Suzette

“Thus was born and baptized this confection, one taste of which, I really believe, would reform a cannibal into a civilized gentleman.” – Henri Charpentier, disputed creator of Crêpes Suzette

What:

Crêpes Suzette is a variation of a crêpe served with a sauce of sugar, orange juice, and liqeur (typically Grand Marnier). For the final and signature touch, chefs pour the liquer over the crêpes and light it on fire.

When:

1895

Where:

Monte Carlo’s Café de Paris, Monaco

Who:

A fourteen year-old assistant waiter named Henri Charpentier (1880-1961).

How:

Most people tend to lose their nerve when they hear that they are in the presence of a celebrity. This was the cause with novice assistant waiter Henri Charpentier when he learned that he would be serving Prince Edward of Wales (the future English king Edward VII), his beautiful French mistress, Suzette, and a coterie filled with members of high society.

Desperation was high, time was tight, and Charpentier was frenzied. While preparing the food, Charpentier eventually set fire to the crêpes right after he poured liqeur over it. Historicity varies over Charpentier’s method: some claim that he burnt it accidentally by the chafing dish, others say that he purposefully flambéed the crêpes in front of the prince himself. Regardless, the young waiter mustered enough courage to serve the dish as it was.

Once Charpentier brought over the dish, the prince delightfully and promptly cleaned his plate of every last morsel. When asked for the name of the dish, Charpentier told him to call the creation “Crêpes Princesse” in honor of the prince. Charpentier was unable to title it “Crêpes Prince” since “Crêpes” in French is a feminine noun which controls the gender of the adjective(s) associated with it. Prince Edward shot the idea down and instead suggested the name be “Crêpes Suzette” in honor of his paramour.

The following day, Henri Charpentier received three gifts from the prince: a cane, a panama hat, and a jeweled ring. Within a few years, his concoction became a staple of French cuisine.

 

Sources:

Ramakrishnan, Rohan. “7 Great Foods (That Were Created Thanks to Dick Moves).”Cracked, 19 Sept. 2010, www.cracked.com/article_18744_7-great-foods-that-were-created-thanks-to-dick-moves.html.

 

Stradley, Linda. “Crepes Suzette History and Recipe, Whats Cooking America.”What’s Cooking America, 25 Sept. 2017, whatscookingamerica.net/History/CrepesSuzetteHistory.htm.

 

Trapella, Filippo – philosokitchen.com. “CREPES SUZETTE RECIPE & HISTORY – All You Need to Know!” Philosokitchen, 9 May 2017, philosokitchen.com/crepes-suzette-recipe-history/.

 

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Purple Foods – The Kings of Nutrients

For the most part, we tend to associate certain foods based off of their colors: when we think of something green, we might think of broccoli; when we think of something orange, we might think of an orange; when we think of something red, we might think of raspberries.

What about purple foods? I’m not talking about standard foods that have the royal color as their default shade (eggplants, grapes, blackberries); I’d like to shine a light on foods that have their own separate purple version. For example, did you know that you could find purple artichokes, carrots, potatoes, asparagus, peppers, tomatoes, and cauliflower? Unlike food coloring, this natural shading offers multiple health benefits. According to the Pantone Color Institute – the global authority on color trends – an ultraviolet hue in foods indicates nutrient density and antioxidants (Schueller).

Purple

Purple cauliflower – only slightly less boring than regular cauliflower.

The shade of purple within foods comes from anthocyanins – disease-fighting antioxidants. Anthocyanins are responsible for producing colors in red, blue, and violet foods, depending on the count of anthocyanins there are. For example, a black raspberry has nearly five times as many anthocyanins than a cherry. Artistically, this makes sense since blue and red combination of black raspberries outweigh the singular red hue of cherries.

So what do anthocyanins do? Because it boasts antioxidants, it prevents the creation of free radicals which would normally damage cells. In short, the more purple foods you eat, the less likely you will gain cancer. As a result, the American Cancer Society recommends eating as many anthocyanin-containing foods as possible (AFP).

So if you’re looking to spruce up your diet and colorize your dishes, look no further than anthocyanin-based fruits and vegetables. For a list of violet alternatives of your staple foods, take a look at our compilation below (Cole). Remember: expanding your purple palette can be just as delicious as it is life-saving!

Fruits:

  • Grapes
  • Figs
  • Passion Fruit
  • Raisins
  • Plums
  • Prunes
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Currants

Vegetables:

  • Red Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Asparagus
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Potatoes
  • Peppers
  • Basil
  • Broccoli
  • Thyme
  • Red Leaf Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Artichokes
  • Red Onions

 

Sources:

Schueller, Gretel H. “Nutrition and Health Benefits of Purple Potatoes & More Purple Produce.” EatingWell, EatingWell, 21 Nov. 2013, www.eatingwell.com/article/279756/nutrition-and-health-benefits-of-purple-potatoes- more-purple-produce/.

 

AFP. “The Most Fashionable Foods Of 2018.” Singapore Tatler, Edipress Media Asia Limited, 20 Dec. 2017, sg.asiatatler.com/dining/fashionable-foods-2018-pantone-purple.

 

Cole, Holly. “35 Purple Fruits and Vegetables You Should Be Eating.” Fine Dining Lovers, 15 Nov. 2017, www.finedininglovers.com/blog/food-drinks/purple-fruits-and-vegetables/.

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Ode to Brie and Camembert

Brie and Camembert, what a formidable pair
Without which we would quite despair!

You are as royal sisters, sharing a similar story;
One illustrious and proud, and quite deserving of great glory.

Within the vast world of cheese
Your delightful duo aims to please.

And please us you certainly have, for hundreds of years,
The mere mention of your names being music to our ears.

We are in good company, as you have been favored by French Kings and other royalty,
Charlemagne, Napoleon, among the many seduced by your texture so velvety.

Yes, you have long had regal fans, though your roots trace back to the farm,
Where dairymen have long toiled to make you, under the spell of your charms.

We have the French cows to thank for their beautiful milk
Which produces a fromage of unsurpassable ilk.

But the French are not alone in their loyal appreciation of your worth,
No, the fame has crossed all national boundaries and you are now found in any situation of great mirth.

If celebrating some occasion, we would no doubt rejoice with some Brie or Camembert,
Along with champagne perhaps, and so we find you at the swankiest of affairs.

You offer innumerable varieties – beware not to overwhelm us!
We sometimes feel that we need to take a head count and conduct our very own census!

Do we buy Brie de Melun, de Meaux, de Montereau or de Coulommiers?
Or do we purchase Brie not all, but rather a milder, more subtle Camembert?

Still we are faced with an abundance of choices, and narrowing it down is not so easy,
Though we can rest assured we will get top-notch quality when choosing Camembert de Normandie.

We may enjoy you with a selection of wine or an array of fresh fruit after dinner.
Yes, you enthrall our picky palates, but with your high fat content you do not help make us thinner!

But we can forgive you the calories since we dare not overindulge and risk taking you two for granted
For in our minds, Brie and Camembert, in first place will you forever be firmly planted.

Written by Sarah Schuler
Former student of Pascal Dionot