Readers' Questions 5

Q. Can I put allspice in my boeuf bourguignon? (From Peoria, Arizona, USA)

A. I think allspice is an excellent spice for beef -- in fact I use it my brown beef stock; it's a trick I learned in Mexico, where I had a superb beef stew in a canteen at a campground in Michoacan. Which goes to show that some of the best food may not be found where we think!

Q. Can you bake with homemade butter? (From Beltsville, Maryland, USA)

A. Absolutely! However, I would be wary of cooking (frying) with it unless I had washed all the milk out of it because it would burn very easily. Better yet, I would clarify it first. (But don't use clarified butter for baking.)

Q. What are the best accompaniments for beef bourguignon? (From Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)

A.  The classic accompaniments are mushrooms and small onions sautéed in butter, and small parsleyed boiled potatoes. Mashed potatoes are just fine and buttered noodles are Julia Child's favorite – and mine. Try them all!

Q. I would like Julia Child's recipe for crab cakes. (From Mableton, Georgia, USA)

A. I looked in all my Julia Child cookbooks and didn't find a recipe for crab cakes in any of them. That's not because the French don't eat them -- in fact it was at the Grand Véfour in Paris that I had the best crab cakes of my life.

If you'll settle for an American recipe, I have an excellent one from Cooks Illustrated. Click here for the PDF file.