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Monday, April 14, 2014

cooking for madam

This book makes me happy for so many reasons. 

#1. I did not know it existed!
#2 It's a Jackie book. (see obsession here)
#3 It's a cookbook.
#4 I found it at the library so it was free for now (but I will probably buy it on Amazon for .22 or .28 cents after I return it). 

The recipes are organized by months of the year, and many of the dishes have little backstories about how they were prepared, tips on preparation, and which Kennedy family member or friend requested it. Published in October of 1998, the book's foreword was written by John Kennedy Jr. which is kind of heartbreaking because of course he died less than a year later. 

This is something more than a cookbook, as you will see and Marta found healing in revisiting the family moments described within. May you enjoy her creations as much has we did.  -John Kennedy, Jr. 

It was a little unusual, I have found, for John Jr. or Caroline to personally endorse books about their mother, so I think his commendation was kind of special.

The author of Cooking for Madam, Marta Sgubin, began her career with the Kennedy/Onassis family as John and Caroline's nanny, but stayed on as cook and housekeeper after the children grew too old for a nanny.  Marta was not a professionally trained chef, and the recipes reflect that. The cookbook is full of fairly simple, ladylike food, and I mean that in the best way possible. The narrative is charmingly humble and proud, and there are some funny little insights into the Jackie/Caroline/John post Onassis lifestyle. 

Practical advice about baking:

You can make the cookies directly on ungreased sheets, but it is easier to remove them if they are on tin foil and you can peel it away easily. And it makes the backs of the cookies shiny and pretty.

The nitty gritty of entertaining;

This dessert is very good, very refreshing. Also, the mint cleans your palate. When you go to the theater, you want to have a fresh mouth. Mrs.Onassis could brush her teeth, but the guests couldn't, so that was perfect.

And a copy of the.most.passionate note of thanks for a dessert ever written:

In all your life you will never make such an incredible dessert as the mango ice cream. No great chef could have equalled what it looked like- tasted like- felt like. 
How long is the season of mangoes- ? 
Let's start at the beginning & go to the end. 
Can we have mangoes at the Cape?
Bravo Marta- 
xo Jackie
Vichyssoise, Salmon etc. also fantastic.

Very few recipes in this book that call for ingredients beyond what you have in your pantry or could find easily at the grocery store. I did not have to Google anything. Carrot salad, tarragon chicken, nine different ways to prepare potatoes and three different ways to serve lobster. 

Fancy, but not pretentious. 

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