Life Is Meals: A Food Lover's Book of Days

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9780307264961: Life Is Meals: A Food Lover's Book of Days

From the PEN/Faulkner Award-winning author James Salter and his wife, Kay—amateur chefs and perfect hosts—here is a charming, beautifully illustrated tour de table: a food lover's companion that, with an entry for each day of the year, takes us from a Twelfth Night cake in January to a champagne dinner on New Year's Eve. Life Is Meals is rich with culinary wisdom, history, recipes, literary pleasures, and the authors' own memories of successes and catastrophes.For instance: • The menu on the Titanic on the fatal night• Reflections on dining from Queen Victoria, JFK, Winnie-the-Pooh, Garrison Keillor, and many others• The seductiveness of a velvety Brie or the perfect martini• How to decide whom to invite to a dinner party—and whom not to• John Irving's family recipe for meatballs; Balzac's love of coffee• The greatest dinner ever given at the White House• Where in Paris Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter had French onion soup at 4:00 a.m.• How to cope with acts of God and man-made disasters in the kitchenSophisticated as well as practical, opinionated, and indispensable, Life Is Meals is a tribute to the glory of food and drink, and the joy of sharing them with others. "The meal is the emblem of civilization," the Salters observe. "What would one know of life as it should be lived, or nights as they should be spent, apart from meals?"

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About the Author:

James Salter is the author of nine previous books, including the novel A Sport and a Pastime; the collection Dusk and Other Stories, which won the 1989 PEN/Faulkner Award; and Burning the Days: Recollection. Kay Salter, a journalist and playwright, has written for The New York Times and Food & Wine, among other publications. The Salters live in Colorado and on Long Island.Fabrice Moireau is a graphic artist, illustrator, and set and product designer. He lives in Olivet, France, with his wife and children.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Béchamel Sauce

Béchamel, the delicious white sauce for creamed vegetables, soufflés, and croquettes, first appeared in France during the reign of Louis XIV (1643-1715), though it may have been created earlier and elsewhere. It was named for Louis de Bechameil, a handsome, corrupt financier who served as the king's majordomo. He had all the luck, complained an old duke who said he had been serving chicken in a cream sauce since before Bechameil was born, and no one had named any kind of sauce for him.

Béchamel is simple to make and takes only about five minutes. There are a number of variations using more or less butter and flour, depending on the desired thickness, but the foundation for all of them is the same.


Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk heated to a boil in a small saucepan


In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the flour slowly, stirring until they are smoothly blended without browning. Remove from heat. Add the milk and stir vigorously with a wire whisk. Set over medium heat, stirring until the sauce comes to a boil; then cook for another minute, stirring constantly. Makes two cups.

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