croque monsieur

In praise of the humble French classics

In praise of the humble French classics

We didn't eat at any creative new restaurants on our recent trip to Paris. But we weren't disappointed. This wasn't that kind of trip. We went for the Paris sales and decided to save our euros for our purchases. We limited meals to somewhat casual establishments, grabbed breakfast on the go at a pâtisserie, indulged once a day in a modest bistro meal, and made lunch or dinner a hot-to-go option. The humble classics of French casual cuisine never let us down and never left us hungry. One of our standbys is the kind of croque monsieur shown at the top of the post. Is there anything more honest? It's little more than a slice each of ham and cheese—either Emmenthal or Comté—between thin slices...Read More

Cheese-loving Americans in good company

Here in the United States, January 20 is National Cheese Lover's Day. We're not really certain how this designation originated but there's no doubt that we Americans have a genuine affection for the food. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, each American consumed about 35 pounds of cheese in 2015. (That's the most recent year for which statistics are available.) And that figure is way up from a little over 14 pounds per person in 1975. That's certainly a lot of cheese love. But Americans still have a long way to go to catch up with the French. They consumed more than 59 pounds of cheese per person in 2015, according to the Canadian Dairy Information Centre, which tracks global cheese consumption. That's the...Read More

Even more decadent grilled cheese and truffle sandwich

Some foodies love to play the “last supper” game: What would you want to eat for your last meal on earth? Pat and I are in accord on this one. It would probably be this elegantly simple grilled cheese sandwich with Comté, prosciutto, ripe tomato and truffle. Cooked just enough to brown the bread in butter (an omelet pan is perfect for the task), the Comté brings out all the high, resinous notes in the black truffle. You could die happy just biting into the sandwich, which gives you a strong whiff of truffle just before you actually taste it. In the interest of research, we tried this sandwich in the purist form—just Comté and truffle—before adding the prosciutto and tomato. The basic sandwich shown...Read More