Do you know the word bouffe? It’s a slangy term for food, kind of like chow or grub in English. And the French use the expression la malbouffe, the bad grub, to indicate food like burgers, fast food, junk food in general. In other words, what they think of as typical American food. But take a gander at this made-in-America savory pea ice cream. Nothing malbouffey about that, is there?
This little treat was part of a Franco-American dinner we went to this weekend, and by Franco-American you can rest assured that I do not mean spaghetti. Our friend Steve loves all things French, and he has a group of accomodating friends who indulge him once per season by cooking up their spin on French food and getting together at his house to bouffe it up. This time it was the printemps dinner, all things Spring.
Everyone took a turn in the kitchen, either cooking
or washing dishes.
Ellie would have liked to help wash dishes, but instead waited politely under the table for the inevitable bounty of crumbs.
There’s nothing like good entertainment
to help an appreciative audience work up a serious appetite. And their patience was rewarded by a dinner that included but was not limited to
an asparagus soup in duck stock,
pounti auvergnat, about which more anon,
halibut with morels and peas,
veal paupiettes with pea shoots,
and homemade chocolates with molten salt caramel centers. Now honestly, if that’s not a meal worth coining a new word for, I don’t know what would be. Hence, and henceforth, la bonnebouffe, definition: truly good and beautiful food made by dedicated home cooks and eaten in excellent company with high spirits. I invite you to incorporate my new word into your own vocabulary, just say “bun-boof.”
Now, about that pounti auvergnat. My assignment was to make part of the before dinner nibbles, and I wanted to make a terrine, but one that no one would have tasted before, including me. Et voilà, my searches led me to a terrine made of pork, Swiss chard, and prunes. Three of my favorite things, and a combination I’d never before imagined. Because it’s a dish that was originally created to use up leftovers there are dozens of recipes, each with its own twist.
I settled on this recipe as my basic version, but I tweaked it with the addition of lots of nutmeg and some unsmoked bacon, since that’s the closest thing to the poitrine salé that appears in many of the recipes. I urge you to try this dish, it’s easy to make, original, and wildly delicious. I served it cold, but it can also be seved hot or warm. Even if prunes are on your personal malbouffe list (which proves that you’re American, since the French adore those dried plums) give this a try, and I promise that you too will become a bonnebouffeur.
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