French Onion Soup is a delicious blend of caramelized onions, herbs, toasted bread, and lots of melty cheese. However, there are more variations than, as my mom would say, “Carter’s got liver pills.” I still don’t know who this Carver is, but I get the point none the less. Here are two versions that my family loves.
Sometimes I say that I am a self-taught cook, and that isn’t entirely true. We all have influences and usually the biggest one is a family member. I get my love and appreciation for the well-seasoned cuisines of New Orleans (and, trust me, I benefited from his relentless requests for my mother to carbon copy the dishes of his youth). My mother is pretty much the start of everything else. Although my mother wasn’t in the kitchen every day, when she was, you knew something special would be arriving on the table shortly. From the best pork chops I have ever eaten anywhere to some kickin’ omelets, I cherish the recipes and foundation of cooking I learned from her. Now before we get into the recipes, I stopped to ask my mom a few questions about what it was like to cook in the kitchen with me as a little one?
Q. What dish is everyone’s favorite in the family?
Mom – Beef Stew
Dad – Pralines, Mom’s Pork Chops, anything mom makes that she doesn’t burn.
My sister – Spaghetti and Pork Chops
Myself – Ettoufee, Stuffed Mushrooms, and Cincinnati Chili
Q. Do you have any good stories about me learning to cook?
You were about 10 years old when you really got into cooking. You always fancied yourself a smaller Julia Childs and wanted to make very complex meals even though you could barely read the instructions. Some of the learning adjustments were rather hilarious, indeed. There was a Coq Au Vin attempt where you used an entire bottle of high dollar burgundy wine from your father’s cellar. I can also remember a certain vegetable juice concoction that asked for 2 cloves of garlic, and you thought that meant two whole heads of garlic. You were so proud that we drank it anyways, but thought it best to avoid the public for a week.
Hey, I was figuring you didn’t want the vampires to get you.
Now, everyone grows up with expecting a certain style of cooking but our tastes change over time and I am no exception. So our tastes have diverged and a winning example is French Onion Soup. My Mom prefers a robust soup with a heavy-handed flavors that meld and layer within the broth. Her version is far more authentic to the European style of French Onion Soup.
My recipe is more mellow and what I would call “Americanized”. In my cooking and recipe development, I tend to apply Occam’s Razor in that the simplest recipe is usually the correct one. I start with the basics and build it to my own tastes. It has always worked out for me that way. My French Onion Soup is mellow and closer to the style of soup you might find in classic American Style Resturants such as T.G.I. Friday’s or Panera Bread.
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Which ever version you choose, I hope you enjoy it! Thanks Mom for making me grow up right and teaching me to cook!
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