I felt both giddy and queasy. I would consume tons of the best beluga caviar with my wife, dispose of the best boiled ham and the most excellent Iberíco ham, and would eat eggs cooked in butter, scrambled, mollet-style or sunny-side up, with the ham. It comes and it disappears.

"A waste of your time. "It was silly," I said. There was no easy definition for what Pépin had become for me. It had left me, when I had finally wrested myself away from the apartment we shared in Brooklyn, living in the windowless, though carpeted, basement of an old friend’s house in Cobble Hill. He was not my father, certainly, nor a friend, nor even a mentor. Indeed, the show had just begun: For the next 45 minutes, Pépin spun gold out of the base elements of yolk and albumen. And I would go my way, too. "I would love to be able to taste the food I did forty years ago. (He had, in fact, served Sartre at La Rotonde, the Paris brasserie.) His mother, close to 100, was still alive in Lyon. "Craig was great," Pépin said, tenderly. ", "But it was not me, it was you," he said. Conversation came easily. Whatever I put in my mouth felt like dry newspaper; I was unable to swallow. Jacques Pépin was born on December 18, 1935 in Bourg-en-Bresse, France, 35 miles north of Lyon.
Later, I would come to know the kind of elemental alchemy Pépin's hands were capable of: transforming a liquid mass of eggs into an omelet with a few sharp pulls of a fork, trussing a roast with lightning-fast knots as elaborate and tight as a sailor's, deftly dismantling a whole chicken with whatever implement happens to be at hand—a knife, a spoon, for all I know the daily newspaper.

We took the long way downstairs, so that Pépin could walk me through ICC's facilities. An assistant led me to the cluttered office where Pépin waited. Blindly, I settled on some kind of protein drink. Anyone that knows Jacques Pépin understands his passion for food.This passion has carried the little wartime French boy into an icon of cooking in America. (Cast iron pan; 425 degrees; 20 minutes laid on one side, leg down; 20 minutes on the other; breast up for 20 minutes, or until the juices run clear.) For the first time, I felt my experience might be a link in a chain. Please enable cookies on your web browser in order to continue.

He and Pépin swapped stories of coming up in France's old brigade system: the yelling, the smack of a pan hurled across the room, the chore of pressing ingredients through a massive sieve in the back of the Plaza Athénée in the days before food processors. We sat at a table at L'Ecole, a few feet from where our first meal together had been. At a bodega, I scanned the refrigerator case for anything I could choke down.

He poached eggs and kept them in a bowl of ice water; you woke up and had one, whenever you wanted.

He endured a devastating car accident in the Catskills, after which he was not expected to walk again, much less cook.

Ad Choices. "I came to Craig and we went to the market. A twist, a flourish with the fingers, and he had transformed them into a rose, which he dropped into cold water. When I was done, he looked at me for a long time. Dunea asks. At lunch, there's some ham, you stuff a sandwich. He extended a hand to shake, one of the most extraordinary hands I'd ever seen: angular and bony, with an exceptionally long middle finger, thick pads at the tip of each digit, and a thumb that protruded at an odd angle upwards. He pressed two packages, wrapped in brown paper, into my hands. I associated his name with Julia Child's.

He had told Claiborne thank you, but under unhappy circumstances. This was an almost primitive magic, a mastery of the physical world—though rooted in a plain-spoken stream of scientific fact. Generic Afghanistan explosion: Soldier and teenager screaming and map of Afghanistan AP / CBS He dipped his napkin in his water glass and used it to wash his fingers.

How one should, of course, have a gas stove but opt for the consistency of an electric oven, preferably placed high on the wall, to avoid excessive bending.
Just by way of topping things off, I was broke. And the list continues: fingerling potatoes cooked in goose fat, pâté of pheasant with black truffles, a lobster roll, a hot dog, apricots, cherries, white and wine peaches, "I would pile homemade apricot jam onto thin, buttery crêpes, hot from the pan and accompany them with a Bollinger Brut 1996 champagne.". I had swum back to myself. Even in my profoundly stunted state, it was the kind of thing I couldn’t screw up too completely. Gloria is also often seen in television shows and programs. How most gadgets are useless and fail the Closet Test—i.e. I grabbed hunks of bread and slathered them with paté, wolfed down delicate, pink lamb chops, gnawing the bones. "You will.". Jacques Pépin is a French–American chef, television personality, and author. Ad Choice | That’s how I tell it, anyway —at parties, over dinner, on those occasions when a friend finds himself drowning in his own life and I’m cast as an unlikely dispenser of wisdom. Jacques Pépin French pronunciation: [ʒak pepɛ̃] (born December 18, 1935) is a French-born American chef, author, culinary educator, television personality, and artist. For him, it had been Claiborne, the first food critic at the Times—the inventor, really, of modern restaurant criticism—and a guru of the nascent food scene of the 1960s. His has been a life too varied and rich to be quickly summarized: from apprenticeships in the provinces, to the kitchens of Paris, to the palace itself, where he served three prime ministers, including Charles de Gaulle. Things continued to happen. I only met Jacques Pépin once, during one of the worst weeks of my life.

I was invited to watch him give a demo at the ICC and then have dinner.

(Their TV show Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home was, in fact, one of the great culinary vaudeville acts of all time.) "But we tend to do that. As he talked, one hand idly scraped at a block of yellow butter on the counter in front of him, pulling up long, flat strips. Sure, I plan to, I said. And, well, it was just such a lovely day that it really turned me around." "So, the reason I came here today," I began, "I wanted to tell you a story about the last time we met and… for reasons…there's no reason you should have known this, but it was a difficult time in my life, I was at a real low point. When it did come, it was complete with screaming, sobbing, drinking, all the flourishes that make you think, even in the midst of it, not without a certain amount of grim pride, "Good god. Pépin put down his lobster.

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