A few weeks ago, I took another trip to Fernandina Beach, Florida. This time with my friend and walking partner, Barbara. The historic district was dressed for fall, the temps cooler. A calm ambiance prevailed on Centre Street until we approached The Book Loft where chef Jacques Pépin was appearing for a book signing. Long before 11:00 when the event was to begin, book lovers jammed the small store. Others thronged the entrance, waiting to get in line.
Jacques has a home in Fernandina Beach and has appeared at The Book Loft before, but this time his new book was making a début: Jacques Pépin: Quick and Simple. This book was sold out at an event the night before, so I bought this title instead, autographed by the chef himself.
Jacques, who has created his own ink-drawn illustrations in this delightful ccokbook, shares the spotlight with his grand-daughter Shorey.
Shorey has been cooking with her grandfather since she is six years old, standing on an upside-down cardboard box to reach the counter.
When she was about two years old, I [grandfather Jacques] asked Shorey if she likes blueberries. She responded, “Oh, yes, I love blueberries. They have a lot of antioxidants in them.” I barely knew the word!” he remarks. Jacques admits his grand-daughter has a kind disposition, but she also notices her grandpa’s shortcomings and comments when he talks with his mouth full, puts his elbows on the table, or slouches at the table.
“The best meal I’ve ever had happens almost every day. A homemade meal with fresh organic ingredients shared by family and friends.”
“I like to cook with Papi because I enjoy learning about his life and listening to his stories.”
“The most fun thing about cooking is definitely eating.”
“The biggest difference between cooking with my mom, daddy, and grandfather is the conversation. With my mom, I talk about life and my goals. My dad and I talk about things in the news especially if they relate to math and science. My grandpa and I like to discuss school—and food!”
Shorey remarks: I don’t often cook with my grandma because we usually go out for Chinese food so there is no cleanup. (Smart lady!)
Shorey’s Chat reminded me of fun in the kitchen with my own granddaughter. Once we made a Rainbow Cake.
Another time we had a Lemony Tea Party.
Recipes I Tried from this Cookbook
Jacques’ Salmon for Grandma, a fish dish marinated in these ingredients
Beet and Apple Salad
The beet and apple salad was simple to make. I had all the ingredients except fresh dill and sour cream, which was left out of the photo.
The dish can be served with or without lettuce.
Paging through the cookbook, I made other discoveries: A recipe for fried green tomatoes, which surprised me. What didn’t surprise me was the section “Decorating for Fun.”
Because, after all, why cook with Grandpère if it’s not fun
. . . unless, of course, your grandfather is Jacques Pepin!
Other Fun Dishes!
Curly hot dog with relish on a hamburger bun
Chicken Salad, food art
You can find videos of these recipes here: www.surlatable.com/jacquespepin
The Book Loft sponsored this fall event. You’ll possibly meet two Cathys, a Rita, Dan, or perhaps Sue, when you visit. The bookstore, featuring best-seller and local authors, invites you to browse and buy from an independent bookstore.