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French (Food Revolution) Friday with Dorie 2015: Four years of food education

aka “Lessons Learned”

AMFT cover on eatlivetravelwrite.comWe’re ONE recipe from finishing Around my French Table for French Fridays with Dorie but we’re taking a break this week because it’s FOOD REVOLUTION DAY!

As a Food Revolution Day Ambassador for Canada, I know a lot of people want to take part but are perhaps not able to participate in an “in person” event so once again, I thought it might be fun to get some global participation with the Doristas taking part virtually, just like we did in 2013 and last year.  This year, I asked the Doristas to choose a recipe or a technique they have learned from Around my French Table that they think is a “must know”.  I want to know “What did Dorie teach you over the past four years?”

I’ve a confession to make, as well. I actually didn’t plan on making anything for this post – partly because I have been crazy busy over the past couple of weeks leading up to my Food Revolution week activities at school but mainly because I actually really just wanted to sit down and reflect on this journey we’ve been on for the past four and a half years, working our way through this book and really think about what I have learned.

It would be much too hard to talk about every single technique that I have learned over the course of working my way through this book – there are simply far too many…  and when it came down to it, every single technique that I started listing came back to one thing. Yes, I can.

Before starting this project, I had not had much luck making my own pastry. Two weeks into the book, I did. successfully for the first time, with Gérard’s mustard tart:

Dorie Greenspan mustard tart on eatlivetravelwrite.comOur foray into pastry got fancy, too…

Dorie Greenspan chocolate eclairs with vanilla pastry cream on eatlivetravelwrite.comWhilst I’d made choux pastry before, it was making Dorie’s éclairs that got me hooked on choux.

Paris Brest from Around my French Table on eatlivetravelwrite.comParis-Brest, anyone?

Yup, choux really is easy!  Heck, I’ve even taught my boys’ cooking club how to make profiteroles because – psst – they are SO easy!

Make my own pastry? Yes, I can.

Prior to embarking on Around my French Table, I was not very confident cooking duck. Dorie’s not only taught me to master it but also, to appreciate it a little more…

Dorie Greenspan Pan-seared Duck Breasts with Kumquats on eatlivetravelwrite.comCook duck? Yes, I can.

It would be remiss of me to not point out the extraordinary amount of seafood and fish dishes I have cooked from this book. Many longtime readers will know that I am not the biggest seafood or fish fan but I’ve boldly worked my way though every single recipe…

Dorie Greenspan monkfish and double carrots on eatlivetravelwrite.com Swordfish in a Paris Market and at Rungis on eatlivetravelwrite.com Dorie Greenspan's swordfish with frilly herb salad on eatlivetravelwrite.comBuying mussels at the Bayeux Market on Delicious Normandy tour on eatlivetravelwrite.comDorie Greenspan curried mussels for French Fridays with Dorie on eatlivetravelwrite.comSalmon tartare from Around my French Table on eatlivetravelwrite.comSalmon rillettes with cream cheese Around my French TableFish and seafood? No, it might not be my favourite but yes, I can cook that.

Onto tastier, but not easier things –

Dorie Greenspan bubble top briocheBubble-top brioche? Why, yes, I can make that.

And speaking of bread… Dorie’s taught me to make a meal out of “nothing” (you know, when you have nothing in your fridge). It’s called a tartine

French Fridays with Dorie dieter's tartine from Around my French Table Dorie Greenspan goat cheese and strawberry tartine with vin cotto from Around my French Table for French Fridays with Dorie Mardi MIchels eatlivetravelwrite.com Dorie Greenspan raost beef tartine on eatlivetravelwrite.com Dorie Greenspan chocolate raspberry tartine Nutella Tartine Dorie GreenspanDorie Greenspan smoked salmon tartine on eatlivetravelwrite.com“Stuff on toast”? Yes, I can make a meal out of that. Sweet and savoury!

Dorie’s taught me so much over the course of the past four years. Would I say she’s taught me to cook? Not exactly, but she’s taught me to be confident in the kitchen. She’s taught me to go rogue experiment (well, there ARE “Bonnes Idées” – or suggestions for changing the dish up – for nearly every recipe!). From the first day of French Fridays with Dorie, when we made gougères, Dorie has been very encouraging and not at all cross when we mess with experiment with her recipes…

Gourgeres on eatlivetravelwrite.comI mean, I made these into a fancy French onion soup…

And Dorie thought it was brilliant 😉

Dorie comment on eatlivetravelwrite.comFrom that moment on, I knew I was in for a very fun ride through this book (and bonus, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Dorie many times, in Paris and Chicago!).

Interestingly, feeling empowered and having fun are two of the key messages Jamie Oliver‘s trying to get across this Food Revolution Day.  This day of global action was created by Jamie Oliver and the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation to engage and inspire people of all ages to learn about food and how to cook it.  Jamie passionately believes that by educating children about food and cooking in a fun and engaging way, we can equip them with the basic skills they need to lead healthier, happier lives, for themselves and their future families.

Dorie and the Doristas have given me the confidence to get in the kitchen and just do it. Get cooking, have a go, make mistakes (learn from them) and learn a ton about foods and dishes I never would have tried othewise. This group has inspired me like no other “cook along” group I have been a part of. I’ve had so much fun and learned so much. I know Dorie is proud of us. I bet Jamie would be too…

 

FRD15 logo with strap

Let’s inspire governments to do the right thing: Sign It. Share It. Let’s fight for food education for every child #FoodRevolutionDay change.org/jamieoliver

 

Food Revolution Day is TODAY Friday May 15th – find out how you can get involved right here!

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17 Responses to French (Food Revolution) Friday with Dorie 2015: Four years of food education

  1. Cher May 15, 2015 at 07:37 #

    Love this round up.
    Thank you for pulling us along on this adventure. Those petit chefs have no idea how lucky they are 🙂
    XO

  2. Liz May 15, 2015 at 07:50 #

    YES! Dorie has taught us how to cook so much—even when we might not want to eat it! Thanks for being such a wonderful advocate fro Food Revolution Day!

  3. Dorie May 15, 2015 at 08:18 #

    Cher is right, Les Petits Chefs are so very lucky to have you in their lives. And so am I! What you’ve written has touched me deeply. As an author, you have no idea where your work will go, whom it will reach and if it will affect a single person. That it has inspired you and the other members of French Fridays with Dorie – that there even is a French Fridays with Dorie – is a gift and one I could never have imagined – xoDorie

    • Mardi Michels July 5, 2015 at 10:59 #

      Thanks Dorie, your support has meant the world to us all XO

  4. Cecilia May 15, 2015 at 08:32 #

    Mardie–what a great post, and gorgeous photographs! I love this book, but have to confess that I have cooked very little from it. I can’t wait to go home and look through the book tonight. The fish (swordfish?) with capers and parsley looks delicious, I think I need to make that.

  5. Trevor May 15, 2015 at 13:04 #

    Yes. What Cher said. Speaking more generally I have learned that there really isn’t anything I can’t make. Choux was a big one for me too…

  6. Mr. Neil May 15, 2015 at 13:34 #

    Well it has certainly been an amazing journey. I have Dorie to thank for some fantastic dishes, and of course Mardi for preparing them. (Especially the fish – it’s been a delight to get more fish back into my house!)

    From my perspective, what Mardi has learned the most isn’t any one technique or process, ingredient or protein. It’s been patience and “roll-with-it-ness” in the kitchen. And that is surely one of the best tools any cook can have, isn’t it?

    Thanks Mardi – and Dorie – for having me along for the ride. 🙂

    • Mr. Neil May 15, 2015 at 13:35 #

      (And not to sound like a grade school teacher myself – but that whole “I can try anything” approach!) 😉

  7. Mary Hirsch May 15, 2015 at 16:41 #

    Oh, Mardi, what a fabulously wonderful Post ( you can’t get much better (in my book) than fabulously wonderful). And, thank you for inviting us, the past three years, to participate in Food Revolution Day. Besides being proud of you and your commitment to it, I have learned so much (not particularly thrilled with the statistics which are quite alarming) from just being involved in it from afar. These experiences have enriched our French Fridays group, that’s for sure. This also has been a nice “Intermission” before our march to the finish. Your pictures are impressive. I think everyone will agree that we’ve learned and observed and tried and had some wins and suffered some failures but we’ve never given up on this project. I hope you are basking in the joy of the Day. A pat on the back to you for doing it.

  8. Ann May 15, 2015 at 19:06 #

    I LOVE this post! What fun to reflect on the joy of cooking and improvisation, inspired by Dorie AND France. Can’t believe this project is almost over. Thank goodness for Baking with Dorie! 🙂

  9. Cakelaw May 15, 2015 at 19:26 #

    So much pastry – you are a professional now! Thanks for hosting this event.

  10. Kathy May 16, 2015 at 13:46 #

    A truly wonderful post, Mardi! Love your beautiful round-up, and very thoughtful reflection of our time cooking through “Around My French Table”! Happy Friday! And Happy Food Revolution Day!!

  11. Nana May 16, 2015 at 16:09 #

    I agree with everyone, a fantastic post. Starting this at the age of 79, I could not even imagine the fun it would be. I played along with Tricia when she mentioned signing us up, but had no idea
    how much I would enjoy it. And, to be a part of the Food Revolution Day has been so great.
    Thank you for your lovely comment, and I am sad to see this will be finished next week. Hopefully,
    my chicken will look very impressive, if not, no photos. Have a wonderful weekend.

  12. Teresa May 16, 2015 at 22:44 #

    Thanks so much for leading us into Food Revolution Day again this year – it’s important work and there is definitely a connection with what we’ve been doing with French Fridays with Dorie. I love all your choices for your round up and the photos are gorgeous – your commitment to photographing them in the best light is another ‘yes, I can’ moment.

  13. Katie May 17, 2015 at 10:01 #

    Thank you, Mardi, for the lovely post and also for being in charge of Food Revolution Day! I love the feeling empowered and having fun aspects you raised at the end of your post as they really are important when cooking, I think!

  14. Diane Zwang May 17, 2015 at 23:50 #

    So when are we going to see Les Petits Chefs cookbook? You are such an inspiration with teaching, cooking and advocacy. It has been such a pleasure cooking with you this past year. I am glad to have participated in Food Revolution Day and hope to again.

  15. Candy May 23, 2015 at 13:50 #

    Mardi, I wasn’t able to participate this year, sadly. But please know that I think that this is a wondeful undertaking. Most people don’t know this about me, but I actually have a Home Economics Education degree! I wholeheartedly agree that we need to bring this back to schools so that people can learn a whole range of things – very much including how to shop for and prepare healthy meals!!

    I am fortunate that I have a couple of nieces whose cooking education was placed in my hands, and another 20 nieces and nephews that I’ve helped along the way! Can you even imagine, one of my very fun stories is that I got one of my superintendents (on a 800,000 sq ft industrial construction project) to learn to bake bread! He and his family now enjoy that as well! So, not that it’s so special, but just so that you know that I think the world of your efforts, and that there are others in the world that support it too.

    And BTW, your look back at all of your accomplishements is wonderful!!

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