Ginette Duplessis, Calvados, Fresh Peaches, & Len Deighton's Onion SoupSaturday, June 15, 2013
|Ginette Duplessis, 1977|
I have been a botanical widower for two days and I have one more day, tomorrow, to go. Rosemary is attending the Hardy Plant Society Study Weekend. She mingles with all the elderly (and rich) garden intelligentsia of Vancouver. I used to attend until I lost interest in seeing other people’s gardens. I am too busy with my own.
The above meant I had to set my iPhone for 7:15 to wake up Rosemary who has been picked up an hour later. It is strange to have a whole weekend without my wife, only to see her in the evenings.
Today, Saturday I was in charge of cooking (I am the local cook) my own Father’s Day dinner. Hilary and Lauren showed up but Rebecca did not. She is unaware of the importance of grandfathers who at one time were exclusively fathers. Now they, the grandfathers/fathers have to share the former and the latter and the result is a dilution that could be defined as bicycle trainer wheels when they are no longer needed.
I decided to please my most avid admirer of my cooking and that is Lauren. While she cannot abide raw onions she loves my French Onion soup. The recipe, modified in that I make a chicken broth from scratch and I add white wine, is from Len Deighton’s Strip Cook Book given to us when we were married by Raúl Guerrero Montemayor who was Hilary’s godfather. Lauren says that my onion soup is the best soup ever.
The meal started with a quintessential Argentine favourite, honeydew melon slices with jamón Serrano draped over them. We drank a blend of fresh Manila mangoes and orange juice. Dessert was special but not as special as it could have been.
I remembered Ginette Duplessis, a French Canadian opera singer that I photographed in 1977 when she came to Vancouver courtesy of Radio Canada. Somehow she visited us in our Burnaby home for dinner or perhaps she may have invited usr to her house where she prepared what we call Pears Ginette Duplessis. Rosemary is ambivalent of Pernod so I modified the recipe for fresh peaches and calvados.
Lauren loved it but I was a bit more critical. Canned peaches would have held their shape and Pernod goes through a delightful chemical change and it does not quite taste of licorice (I dislike licorice and yet I absolutely adore my myrrh scented roses which smell of Pernod!)
I took Hilary and Lauren home. Lauren previously cleaned the kitchen and left it spotless. As we drove Hilary commented on how she loves the longer days and Lauren added that the evening was a warm one. I told her I was still cold because being cold is what we old men feel most of the time. I long for the hot summer days and if Lauren is lucky she might just catch a butterfly with her net. She did note that she would immediately release it.
As for Ginette Duplessis, as I lit the calvados I thought of her, while running in my head those beautiful words from the Catholic New Testament, “Do this in memory of me.”