Today’s Front Burner column is about a great January short term class at Hollins University. The course focuses on French culture and cuisine, so the students are watching episodes of “The French Chef” with Julia Child and attempting to replicate some of her dishes.
Last week, they made French onion soup. I had a cup of the wonderful soup before leaving the assignment, but that didn’t satisfy my craving. I decided this weekend to make a pot of the stuff myself, using the same recipe from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”
The whole experience brought back a memory I forgot existed. My mom used to have a cookbook that featured full-page color photos of dishes, as many do today. But at that time, that cookbook just fascinated the dickens out of me – that should have been a sign that I’d always be a food lover. Anyway, I used to flip through that book and look at the pictures, and one picture in particular was my favorite: The photo of little crocks of French onion soup covered in melted cheese. It looked so wonderful to me. When I found out what French onion soup was really like, I was so disappointed. As a child, it did not seem appetizing at all.
Well, that’s all changed. And so, this past Sunday, I cried through the onion chopping and pulled a stool up to the stove, where I patiently stirred and caramelized those onions for 40 minutes. When we sat down with our individual bowls of cheesy goodness, it was so gratifying.
So do yourself a favor on one of these painfully cold winter days and make a pot of homemade French onion soup. It’ll warm your soul!
If you have a lot of practice making French onion soup and think you have some tips or variations that would be useful to readers, please share.