180° Dining, Venetian Menu

On my last night before vacation we had a public dining event at the school.   The theme was Venetian cuisine.  The student’s did a great job on their first public event and the food was of high quality.  I had to leave right after the main course to pick up my wife and our visiting French guest.

Here are some pictures of the dishes we served:

Zuppa dei Doge, before consomme

Zuppa dei Doge, before consomme

with the gradual addition of a highly flavorful clarified Brodo

with the gradual addition of a highly flavorful clarified Brodo

 a full portion, notice how quickly the broth takes on the imperial color of purple from the beets

a full portion, notice how quickly the broth takes on the imperial color purple from the beets

Il secundi: Risotto al frutti di mare topped with frico

Il secundi: Risotto al frutti di mare topped with frico

I had to leave shortly after the plating of this dish, but for dessert we had Sgroppino.  A layer of raspberry coulis topped with lemon sorbet and prosecco.

Platter of cheese brought over from France

We have the daughter of a good friend of ours visiting us from France.  Her mother is my good friend Robert Brunel’s girlfriend and owns a chocolate factory outside of Chateau Neuf du Pape: Chocolaterie Castelain.

She brought all kinds of chocolate and other delectables from Provence.  More importantly she brought us a selection of fine French cheese.

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It has been awhile since we have enjoyed unpasteurized French cheese and it is always a special occasion.  It of course makes us yearn to return.  It was all we could do to restrain my son from digging in to the platter before my parents arrived.

Michael Pollan article

This is a long article, but very well written by Michael Pollan who wrote “Omnivore’s Dilemma”   He goes about explaining our current fascination with the food TV network and our reptilian connection to the world of cooking.  The message is clear:  Cook your own food, it’s better for you.

I am happy I get to teach people how to cook, but I can honestly say I rarely practice the depth of cooking I preach when I get home and inspect the contents of my fridge.  What can I cook quickly and get on the table is mostly what I am motivated by.  Our family I’m happy to admit is not a take out or home replacement meal consumer, nor do we visit restaurants out of necessity.  We cook, albeit simple and easy to make food, but we cook and we try hard to avoid prepared foods.

I often loose the taste battle to packaged foods when my son is the judge.  Do you like dad’s homemade Mac and Cheese (made with a cheddar Mornay) better than Kraft’s?  My son replies “it’s almost as good”.  I guess if I had a whole consumer research team and applied my vast culinary knowledge to the challenge I might actually win.  One of the things I have noticed over the years is when we decrease the quality of the base products his satisfaction increases (i.e. if we substitute Barilla macaroni for Albertson’s).

Every parent faces the challenge to satisfy their children’s taste and to provide wholesome food they can feel good about, but we often concede to the path of least resistance.  Kraft wins.

I urge you all not to give up the fight.  Learn to cook. Avoid buying prepared foods. Take back control of the stove.  De-program your children.

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