cooking and recipe archive

French cookery classes, 1978-79

It's hard to imagine my mother without her common sense cooking skills and dinner party expertise - but apparently most of this was gleaned after she married my father, in her late 30s. How to sear a fillet of beef, how to add eggs into cake batter without curdling... I figured this was just a sixth sense you were born with (or taught at a precociously young age...).

Then I found two notebooks from when she took French cooking classes in Melbourne. Madame de Stoop was a sophisticated Belgian expat who did for gallic gastronomy in Melbourne what Julia Childs did in the United States. It would have been quite the mission to drive two hours to 'town' for these, but that's country life for you: you go the extra mile (or 90) for some culture.

Mum's notes read straight from the teacher's mouth - the kind of practiced knowledge that you can't get from a cook book. No surprises where I get my note-taking style from - she loved a bit of CAPS LOCK for emphasis. With winter already settling in, it's the perfect time to try out these wine and cream-soaked classics at home...