Sunday, March 18, 2018

"Most fabulous recipe for preparing spaghetti that has ever been devised"

I would like to share an item from the 1965 edition of Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes and Practices, by George Leonard Herter and Berthe E. Herter. In 2008, Paul Collins, writing in The New York Times, called the book "one of the greatest oddball masterpieces in this or any other language."

Well, here's the oddball item that appears on Page 137.

This is the most fabulous recipe for preparing spaghetti that has ever been devised and is one of the few really original recipes of the past 100 years.

Arthur Dupont of Carnieres, Belgium, one of the most original cooks who ever lived, created Spaghetti Dupont.

Roquefort cheese as you know was invented in Roquefort, France by the sorceress Jehanne Muret. She created it by putting blue molded stale bread into sheep's milk and a little of the lining of the sheep's stomach. In this country Roquefort or blue cheese is made in the same way but cow's milk is used in place of the sheep's milk. Using the cow's milk instead of the sheep's milk actually improves the cheese rather than subtracts from it.

European cooks rarely used Roquefort cheese in salad dressings of any kind. They use it mostly simply as an after dinner dessert strange as it may seem. Roquefort cheese used in salad dressings was invented in France by Charles Derrault in 1701.

Here is the original Arthur Dupont recipe:

Take an 8 ounce package of egg noodles and boil in water until done according to the instructions on the package. Drain off the hot water. Fill the pan with cold water and then drain off the cold water. This takes away any loose starch on the noodles. Now place in a heaping tablespoon of butter in the bottom of the pot you cooked the noodles, and add one ounce of crumbled Roquefort cheese to the noodles. You can buy Roquefort or blue cheese in one ounce foil packages at most grocery stores. Add ¼ level teaspoon of black pepper and salt to taste. Put a low heat under the pot. Stir the noodles, butter and Roquefort or blue cheese evenly until the butter is distributed all over the noodles and the cheese is melted and evenly distributed all over the noodles. Serve as the main dish while hot.

What will surprise you is that the noodles will have not Roquefort or blue cheese taste at all but an entirely different taste unlike anything that you have ever tasted. This is really fine cookery art not to be confused with the presentation type of cooking found in most high priced restaurants. In places like Maxim's in Paris which is supposed to be a good restaurant, most of the cooking there is poor and very unoriginal. They try to impress people in such places by using expensive cognac, old wines and champagne in their cooking and by burning expensive liquors over food. This is nothing but cheap "hokus pocus" and shows lack of ability to originate really good food recipes and even to follow good recipes.

This Spaghetti Dupont is preferred by most people to so-called Italian Spaghettis of any kind by several country miles.
Wow. That last sentence...

First, let me say that this recipe actually sounds pretty good (I'm going to try it), and I love the authors' rant against snooty upscale restaurants.

But ... but, this is not spaghetti. The noodles aren't even right. The meal described is basically egg noodles with blue cheese and butter, which should not be confused with a heaping plate of spaghetti noodles covered with marinara sauce and, if you choose, some meatballs and parmesan cheese.

A 2003 piece by John Owen on had this to say about the the Herters' book:
"... whenever I mention Herter in this column somebody fires off a message admitting membership in this unofficial cult. And as one e-mail correspondent pointed out, some of Herter's recipes actually are terrific. The reader cited Spaghetti Dupont; I tried it and liked it a lot, although I'm not sure I completely endorse Herter's claim that, 'This is the most fabulous recipe for preparing spaghetti that has ever been devised and is one of the few really original recipes of the past 100 years.'"

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