You Know My Mom’s Savory Clafouti is Definitely Going In My Cookbook

Maybe I already said this. But I’ll say it again because I like the way it sounds. I’m writing a cookbook.

Well let me be more precise. I’m writing, cooking, food styling and photographing a cookbook. There is no team. There is no staff. There is only me. YIKES. Say it like that and it seems more scary that just saying “I’m writing a cookbook”.

But I do take solace in the fact that in actuality I am not writing this cookbook alone. My mom is helping me. She may have passed away in 1993, but her mark is all over this book. In fact today I was writing, cooking, food styling & photographing one of her recipes to include in this book. It’s a Savory Clafouti, which is essentially a crustless quiche. It may have come straight my my mom’s 1970s kitchen, but the idea of a crustless quiche feels so intensely modern to me. So I included it in the book.

Which makes me feel a bit weepy. So I ran right over here to the computer and started writing this post. I write best when I’m on the verge of tears.

Are you laughing at me now? Because I can get weepy at the silliest things. Yet actual physical pain barely phases me. When I broke my jaw in Sonoma I drove all the way home to Los Angeles barely registering the massive injury I had sustained. I had to hold my jaw in place with my hand, but I didn’t cry.

But say clafouti to me, and I begin to tear up. Mis-pronounce it and watch the tears flow.

Savory Clafouti from Sippity SupThat’s because my mother had her very special way of pronouncing some words. Clafouti was one of those words. Now she had a pretty good grasp of the French language, but she could not get the emphasis on the proper syllable in clafouti. Of course there was no correcting her. She wasn’t the type of person who took criticism well. She would just stare at you blankly like she had no idea what you were talking about. So when she had a way of saying a word, well that’s the way the word would be said forever. Don’t get me started on schedule. I may start balling and never stop!

I just realized this may be my version of staring at you blankly acting like I have no idea what you are talking about. Because I have assumed you know what clafouti is. Well to start off it is properly called clafoutis, even in the singular. But in English speaking countries the S is usually dropped. That’s because when those wacky French people put an S at the end of a word, they don’t even bother to pronounce it. So CLAFOUTIS or CLAFOUTI are both pronounced kla-foo-TEE. Unless you’re my mother, then it is pronounced  KLAF-a-tee.

But what is clafouti? Well at its most technical it’s a rustic looking French country dessert from the Limousin region that has become very popular in North America. Traditionally it was made with the first sweet cherries of the season. Typically the cherries are not pitted so the pits can release their delicate almond flavor as they bake. But of course in this country they are usually pitted (nuance is often lost on us…). When other kinds of fruit are used instead of cherries, the dish is called a flaugnarde. When artichokes are used instead of cherries or other fruit it is called KLAF-a-tee. Or so said my mother… GREG

P.S. Notice there is no recipe here? That’s cuz your gonna have to buy the book in November to get the recipe. Yes, I am capable of using blatent sentimentality just to sell a few books.

P.P.S D’ya like my Costa Rican tan?

Greg Henry writes the food blog Sippity Sup- Serious Fun Food, and contributes the Friday column on entertaining for The Back Burner at Key Ingredient. He’s active in the food blogging community, and a popular speaker at IFBC, Food Buzz Festival and Camp Blogaway. He’s led cooking demonstrations in PanamaCosta Rica, and has traveled as far and wide as Norway to promote culinary travel. He’s been featured in Food & Wine Magazine, Los Angeles Times, More Magazine, The Today Show Online and Saveur’s Best of the Web. Greg also co-hosts The Table Set podcast which can be downloaded on iTunes or at Homefries Podcast Network.

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  • Look for Greg’s book Savory Pies coming Nov 2012, from Ulysses Press