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Ye Olde Roadkill Inn contains 158 recipes that have been gathered over several years. Do not expect to find low-fat, low-cholesterol, low-taste meals. Most of the collection is a combination of American meat-and-potatoes and French culinary cuisine. Expect to find generous amounts of cream and butter and deep-fried food. Also there will be a few regional Italian recipes. They are, after all, the folks who taught the French how to cook. Much of French cuisine was imported from Florence by Caterina de Medici's chefs in the sixteenth century.
The sources and refinements came from Larousse Gastronomique, originally compiled by Prosper Montagné, Auguste Escoffier's A Guide to Modern Cookery, and Victor Hirzler's The Hotel St. Francis Cook Book published in 1919 when he was head chef at the San Francisco hotel. Other ideas came from Jacques Pépin's (arguably the best TV chef) La Methode, James Beard's Theory and Practice of Good Cooking, The Culinary Arts Institute's The New Professional Chef and Herter's Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes and Practices.
We are greatly indebted to a retired chef who, while employed as executive chef at the Princeton Grill, prepared a luncheon for Eleanor Roosevelt paid for by Albert Einstein. He passed judgement on some of the recipes in this collection. If he said, "It's okay," we knew it needed work. If he said, "Is good," it was a keeper. Coincidentally, he taught Einstein a painful lesson in kitchen mathematics. Link to the rest of the story as told to us by the chef.
Most of the measurements are not engraved in stone and can and should be adjusted for individual tastes. After all, with the exception of a few classics, a recipe is nothing more than one person's idea of how something should taste. And your idea could just as easily be better than ours. While some techniques are presented, it is assumed the user can not only boil water, but also sauté without scorching the skilletmost of the time.
The recipes were developed and compiled for a number of reasons. It began as a way for the kids, now grown, to enjoy the meals they grew up enjoyingand sometimes hating. But the most compelling was what too many restaurants have been doing over the past two decades to market their product as cheaply as possible.
It seems to have begun with soup. About twenty-years ago, the industry started making soup thicker and thicker with the idea, I suspect, that their patrons would think they were getting more value because the soup was thick. All the patron really got was flour. And flour's cheaphint, hint. It began with New England clam chowder so dense it could support an upright soup spoon. Manhattan clam chowder was next. Then the coup de grâce: they screwed around with crab bisque (she-crab soup), that wonderful gift from the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Originally its thickness came from a very thin velouté made with table cream plus an equal amount of heavy cream, not the thick milk and flour béchamel that most restaurants serve. Makes me wonder when they'll get around to reinventing the brothy French onion soup, gratiné.
Soup is but one of several factors that have contributed to the decline. We don't want to get started on some of the abortions that now pass for crab cakes or runny, plastic cheese on cheeseburgers or entrées that don't measure up to the menu hype or when service becomes an oxymoron. Although there are still a few fine restaurants that are not overpriced, we seldom eat dinner out lately. We buy the freshest available ingredients and prepare most meals at home. Not only are they cheaper, invariably they're much better.
We hope visitors to this site will find a meal or two that will meet their needs. That's another reason we posted it. To the Index.
Provided by Scott & Eleanor McGonigle