Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"Peasant Food"

J and I have lately had the pleasure of sharing a delicious meal with some friends while also partaking in some good dinner conversation. It will come as no surprise that the subject of food was a frequent topic, and in the midst of nattering on about copper pots and gas vs. electric, someone dropped in the phrase "peasant food." Fear not, foodie friends, I'm not talking about pseudo-country-style, over-seasoned, baby-portioned, restaurant interpretations of medieval fare. I'm talking about simple ingredients combined in a single dish, the likes of which have been enjoyed by the international middle and lower classes for centuries. Yep, real household versions of much older dishes.

Coincidentally enough, I'd been planning to attempt chicken pot pie as this week's challenge -- a true bit of peasant cooking indeed. So with mild trepidation, I began:

Empty dish awaiting its cargo

Is that pastry dough? From scratch?!

I chose a single-crust version, because really, nobody likes the soggy crust on the bottom, do they? And look at that pan, all shiny and new -- this was its inaugural bake. I prepped, boiled, cooled, mixed, sprayed, and poured, and this is what we got.

Obviously the rolled-out crust went on top, but my hands were a little too full to take a picture. Note to self: next time, ask J!

As this dish baked, I set the table with an old favorite and a new: our gurgling cod water pitcher and a crisp Vignoles white from local Flag Hill Winery. And suddenly, my timer was beeping and J was pouring. Time to eat!


In the interest of full disclosure, I'll say that I almost hoped we'd hate it. The amount of work that goes into this relatively simple single-dish meal is completely out of proportion to the unimpressive-looking result, and I wasn't totally sure it would be worth the trouble. As it turns out, however, John took one taste and immediately gave it his highest accolade: "Mmmmmm. This is one of the best things you've ever made!"

Yikes. I suppose in the end this is a good thing -- the idea was to find homemade meals, tasty and filling, that I could make in the future to expand our diet. The other idea was to make the time spent in the kitchen worthwhile. According to J, it's a win for both (he gave it an A, for whoever's counting) so that makes it a win for all. I just hope he doesn't ask for it again too soon.

One other note before I wrap this up: my little project may not be for profit of any kind, but promoting it is still important to me. With that in mind, I used my favorite printing company to make up just a few (free!) business cards to hand out to farmer's market folks and keep in my wallet. They look pretty good, in my opinion, and since they were free, I certainly don't mind the little promotional logo in the corner. What do you think?


  1. Another hit with the man!!! Good for you. When do I get my dinner invitation and what can I bring!!!I will challenge you for future weeks to try some veggie side dishes. The farmer's market should provide you with lots of ideas!!!

  2. Looks delicious- congrats again on your innovation in the kitchen!

  3. Wow! That looks really yummy!! Good job :)