I have often been accused of being old fashioned; maybe because of my values, or possibly for my penchant for classical cookery.
I used to be surprised when younger cooks had not heard of jugged hare, or tête de veau or, perhaps worse still, not even knowing they should open doors for a lady.
Some elements of modern cookery are moving too close to science for my liking.
However, good old-fashioned dishes (there I go again) still have a place in my repertoire. Indeed, I wish I could find them in other establishments, as part of the joy of eating good food is someone else cooking it.
There cannot be many finer dishes than a good coq au vin, braised oxtail, or the aforementioned favourites of mine, jugged hare and calf's head.
Offal can provide some of the best taste sensations.
Those who close their minds to eating valued cuts - such as liver, sweetbreads, kidneys and the like - are missing out on some fine gastronomy.
Tripe is one which is rarely seen now, but evokes fond memories for me. Monsieur Bonnet, the old staff cook at A l'Ecu de France, used to cook it for us in the style of his native Normandy, where there is an annual award for the best tripe producer.
Here is a recipe for tripe, which I like to cook when I can. Old fashioned - moi?
Tripe and onions
750g blanched tripe, cut into even sized squares, about an inch.
100g peeled button onions
50g carrots, peeled and diced
50g fresh peas
500ml dry cider
500ml chicken stock
50g duck fat
1 good sprig of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Heat the duck fat in a pan and fry the seasoned tripe in small amounts until lightly golden.
Place in an oven-proof dish. In the same pan, fry the onions, then carrots, until lightly coloured. Add to the tripe together with the peas.
Boil the cider and stock in the same pan, reducing by a third and stirring to release the sediments. Add the stock and herbs to the tripe, cover with a lid, and cook in a moderate oven for two hours.
Serve with freshly-chopped parsley and boiled potatoes.
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