1950s Archive

Food Flashes

Originally Published June 1951

It's a little patch of heaven—gourmets' heaven, we mean—Bellows' Gourmets' Bazaar, 69 East Fifty-second Street, New York. Here we discovered little delicacies from the Continent not generally found in the States. Suppose you are wanting again a box of those certain peppermints, Bètises de Cambrai, meaning “little nonsenses of Cambrai.” Yours for the asking, a thin white Candy stick with a pale gold stripe. Crisp under the teeth, sharp the mint flavor. Remember buying these long ago at Hediard's famous shop in the place de la Madeleine?

Remember Calissons d'Aix packed in a sealed tin? Bellows' again. The little sweets, a sort of cooky-candy, are diamond-shaped with an egg-white film for a base, almond pastry for a middle, pale cream frosting for a top.

And souvenirs from Dijon, the town smelling of mustard. Remember standing on the corner where Grcy-poupon has its window filled with squat little pots? But this is Bellows', and it's Moutarde de Dijon, a 5-ounce jar for 50 cents. A man's mustard, this pure pale Dijon with all the strength and flavor of the type known in France as nature au vinaigre, being only mustard seed and vinegar with salt. Quite sharp, it is true Dijon. It stands shoulder to shoulder with a jar of Moutarde à l'Estragon, this the same price, this the best Bordeaux mustard, tarragon-flavored, milder yet more savory.

The French have a way of turning elaboration into perfect simplicity. They have done that with quenelles, which long years ago began appearing on their finest menus. These were very much in favor on royal tables of the last century and today hold an important place in the French cuisine. This special dish of the country is a force meat ball of veal, chicken, or fish. They may be used as an entree, either cooked in butler or with a while or brown sauce, or as a garnish with timbales, vol an vent, and patty shells, with fricassees and fish stews, and with large fish. Quenelles de brocbei made from pike are a new item at Bellows', to serve in a sauce over filets of fish for a dressed-up main dish. And also newly arrived are the quenelles aux écrevisses à la Nantua, these made with crayfish from Tours, packed in their own sauce. A third quenelle is made with chicken, quenelles de volaille, to be used in a cream of chicken soup, in a chicken pie, or as an entree.

In the French mood, serve the liny green lentils grown in the volcanic soil of Le Puy, in Auvergne. Nothing else just like these anywhere in the world. The famous French cassoulel is packed into cans, made with round beans, with goose fat and sausage and a piece of pork meat. Purée of chestnuts in the Bellows' French collection, unsweetened to be used as a vegetable stuffing, in making chestnut ice cream, for fancy desserts.

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