Soup Swap: Kathy Gunst’s Tomato Soup with Grilled-Cheese Croutons

 Soup Swap: Kathy Gunsts Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese CroutonsWe’re celebrating the launch of Soup Swap: Comforting Recipes to Make and Share (Chronicle, 9/16) by Kathy Gunst, Resident Chef for NPR’s “Here and Now,” with bloggers across the country for #SoupSwapParty hosted by Soup Swap features over sixty amazing soup recipes along with side dishes, garnishes and toppings and offers a guide to creating soup swap gatherings, where guests bring a pot of soup, and taste and take home others.

Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons —Gunst’s “ultimate comfort food” — appealed to us as the perfect Mad Men era soup recipe.

While hearty soup and sandwiches were 1960s staples, according to The Food Timeline,  Soup Swap: Kathy Gunsts Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutonspairing grilled cheese with tomato soup, was a post World War II institutional food service recommendation, designed to provide the required nutritional and protein elements in lunch.

Growing up the Mad Men era, a can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup, with two slices of Wonder Bread with Kraft American cheese, buttered and grilled in the Toastmaster was our usual version of this classic combo.

IMG 4021 Soup Swap: Kathy Gunsts Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese CroutonsThe Soup Swap rendition is far from our childhood one. Gunst uses fresh tomatoes, homemade vegetable broth (a great use for veggie scraps), with shallots, onion, leeks, and heavy cream, garnished with grilled cheese croutons (sliced cheddar and basil sandwiched in homemade bread and brushed with olive oil).  Why weren’t we dunking our grilled cheese in tomato soup all these years? This soup is a winner.

Thanks to Chef’s Choice we sharpened our knives with a Chef’s Choice Pronto Pro Diamond Hone  Soup Swap: Kathy Gunsts Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese CroutonsKnife Sharpener, which yielded perfect slices our tomatoes. leeks and onion and shallots. And for a true “grilled” cheese the Chef’sChoice® Cast Iron Professional Indoor Electric Grill Model 880 produced a grilled cheese was true to the sandwich’s name.

Congratulations Kathy Gunst on this terrific new book! We look forward to many soup swaps! You can follow Soup Swap bloggers on social media using #SoupSwapParty, and you’ll find their other delicious soup recipes from the cookbook on the Soup Swap Party page.

And finally a Mad Men soup quote— food for thought from Joyce Ramsay, Peggy’s friend and assistant photo editor at LIFE magazine:

Men are like this vegetable soup. You can’t put then on a plate or eat them off a counter. So women are the pot. They heat them up, hold them, contain them. Who wants to be a pot? Who the hell said we’re not soup?”

Soup Swap: Kathy Gunst’s Tomato Soup with Grilled-Cheese Croutons

Yield: 6 full servings; 8-10 tasting portions

IMG 4021 Soup Swap: Kathy Gunsts Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

Tomato Soup with Grilled-Cheese Croutons from Soup Swap: Comforting Recipes to Make and Share (Chronicle, 9/16) by Kathy Gunst for #SoupSwapParty hosted by


  • 2 medium leeks
  • 11/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 2 lb [910 g] vine-ripened tomatoes
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups [960 ml] Vegetable Stock (page 34)
  • 1/4 cup [60 ml] heavy cream (optional)
  • Grilled-Cheese Croutons halved, for garnish
  • 1/3 cup [20 g] fresh basil, cut into very fine ribbons
  • 8 bread slices of any variety you like
  • 21/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup [80 g] freshly grated sharp cheddar, Parmesan, or other hard cheese


  1. To make the soup: Trim off the dark green sections from the leeks and save for making vegetable stock. Halve the pale green and white sections lengthwise. Rinse under cold running water, pat dry, and cut crosswise into thin pieces.
  2. In a large stockpot over low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the leeks, onions, and shallot and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Cut a small X in the stem end of each tomato. Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water and blanch them for about 20 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a colander to drain. When cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin from the tomatoes, remove the core, and coarsely chop the flesh.
  4. Add the tomatoes to the stockpot, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to high, add the vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
  5. Using a food processor or blender and working in batches or using a handheld immersion blender, purée the soup until smooth. Return the soup to the pot, add the cream (if using), and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes. If the soup is too thin or watery, simmer for about another 10 minutes, until slightly thickened. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed.
  6. Ladle the soup into mugs or bowls and top each with 2 to 4 croutons or a half-slice of open-faced crouton, if you prefer. Garnish with the basil and serve.
  7. To make the croutons: Preheat the broiler. Arrange the bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Using half of the olive oil, lightly brush one side of each slice and broil for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven, flip the bread, and brush with the remaining oil. Top each slice with a basil leaf and sprinkle with an equal amount of cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
  8. When ready to serve, cut the bread in half and serve the crouton open-faced, or sandwich two pieces of bread together and cut each sandwich into six large or eight small croutons.


Make this soup in the summer and fall, when fresh garden tomatoes are available, but there are some “acceptable” winter-tomato substitutes such as good-quality organic canned tomatoes or hothouse-grown organic winter tomatoes. Add 1/2 teaspoon sugar with the tomatoes if you are preparing this soup in winter.

The croutons can be made about 1 hour ahead, but they are best when made at the last minute. Be sure to cool them before packing them in a tightly sealed container for transport.

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A Mad Men Cocktail for The Great Gatsby Premiere

21 Classic Mint Julep 1024x682 A Mad Men Cocktail for The Great Gatsby Premiere

’21’ Classic Mint Julep

F. Scott Fitzgerald helped to popularize the Mint Juelp  – a bourbon and mint cocktail –  in The Great Gatsby. Tom, Daisy, Gatsby, Nick and Jordan cool off with a Mint Julep at New York’s Plaza Hotel on a hot day.

In the The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook, we included the recipe for Jane Sterling’s Mint Julep (season 3, episode 3 “My Old Kentucky Home”). As we wrote:

“Roger Sterling’s hedonism and lack of self-awareness are in full flower at the Kentucky Derby–themed garden party he and his new young wife Jane throw at an elegant Long Island country club. Guests mingle under the party tent and sip mint juleps in silver cups, Southern-style. Made up in blackface, and backed by a jazz band clad in straw boaters and Roaring Twenties–style red-and-white striped jackets, he sings ‘My Old Kentucky Home’ to Jane, the overt racism clearly lost on him and over Jane’s head. Later, Don and Betty Draper have to help Jane to her seat; she’s clearly had a few too many mint juleps.

“This classic Southern cocktail evokes the gentility of the South and hot, humid summer days passed on the porch of an elegant plantation-style home. For Betty, mint juleps were also the perfect refreshment to serve to the adults who accompany their children to Sally’s sixth birthday party (season 1, episode 3; “Marriage of Figaro”).

“The origins of the mint julep aren’t known, though legend has it that a Kentuckian boating on the Mississippi River stopped along the banks one day to pick fresh mint, which he then added to his bourbon and water mixture. An integral part of Kentucky culture, the mint julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby.

“This contemporary julep courtesy of the ‘21’ Club in Manhattan that features a delicious mint-infused simple syrup.”

21’ Club Mint Julep

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 1 drink

21 Classic Mint Julep A Mad Men Cocktail for The Great Gatsby Premiere

This refreshing, classic Mint Julep recipe from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook is courtesy of The ‘21’ Club in New York, New York and perfect for Gatsby gatherings.


  • Fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ounce Mint Simple Syrup (see recipe below)
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • *Mint Simple Syrup *
  • Bunch of fresh mint leaves
  • About 2 cups sugar
  • Boiling water


  1. To make the drink: In a Collins glass, muddle mint leaves in fresh lemon juice and Mint Simple Syrup.
  2. Fill glass with crushed ice and add bourbon. Stir. Garnish with a bruised mint leaf.
  3. To make the Mint Simple Syrup:Crush a goodly bunch of mint leaves in a quart container. Fill to halfway mark with sugar, then fill with boiling water. Stir well to dissolve sugar.
  4. Let mint steep while syrup cools. Strain. Let the syrup cool to room temperature and spoon it into a jar. Seal tight and store in refrigerator for up to three weeks.
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Bosco and Retro Chocolate Bars: Mad Men Gift Pick and Giveaway 11

bosco 133x300 Bosco and Retro Chocolate Bars: Mad Men Gift Pick and Giveaway 11Actor/comedian Dick Van Dyke claimed Bosco syrup made him “strong, handsome and thirsty” in a 1960s commercial for the famous chocolate syrup.

Advertised as natural, thicker and richer in B vitamins than its competitors, Bosco mixed with milk was a genuine treat for children in mid-century America.

Now you can try the original Bosco and a few modern variations: strawberry, sugar-free and Dulce De Caramel. Whether you’re nostalgic for the “oh so thick and rich” chocolate syrup, or just have fond memories of the “I love Bosco” commercials, you can enter to win a Bosco gift pack. (Did you know Bosco was used as a substitute for blood in a number of black and white movies, including Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and Night of the Living Dead)?bosco 4 bottles 300x137 Bosco and Retro Chocolate Bars: Mad Men Gift Pick and Giveaway 11

For chocolate candy fans, you can  have Bosco’s chocolate taste conveniently wrapped up in a delicious all-natural milk chocolate PANAM BOTH 3D 3 300x100 Bosco and Retro Chocolate Bars: Mad Men Gift Pick and Giveaway 11bar. And for 60s fans, the Praim Group also offers chocolate bars with wrappers featuring quotes from 60s pop culture icon Andy Warhol and the logo from the popular airline, Pan Am.  A great gift for a retro foodie fan!

Enter to win a gift pack of Bosco, and an assortment of vintage candy bars!.


Dress Like Draper with Monster Vintage: Mad Men Holiday Gift Guide Pick and Giveaway 10

Idon draper 300x225 Dress Like Draper with Monster Vintage:  Mad Men Holiday Gift Guide Pick and Giveaway 10 f you want to rock Don Draper attire, whether it’s his early 60s classic business suit with narrow lapels,  a skinny tie, a Ban Lon shirt, or the wild plaid sport coat of Season 5, visit


MVshirt 150x150 Dress Like Draper with Monster Vintage:  Mad Men Holiday Gift Guide Pick and Giveaway 10


Monster Vintage’s owner, Victor Petrucci, has been collecting vintage clothing and accessories for twenty years, and the site is the premier online purveyor of one monster cache of true and unique vintage clothing and accessories. Mens’ clothing is 80% of Monster Vintage’s international business (Pendleton shirts and mesh hats currently among the most popular mens items from the 1960s) but you’ll find find a huge store of womens’ MVcoat Dress Like Draper with Monster Vintage:  Mad Men Holiday Gift Guide Pick and Giveaway 10 clothing and accessories as well.

Enter to win a $50.00 gift certificate or a $25.00 gift certificate to, and receive a discount on all holiday shopping!


Cocktail Barware for A Mad Man: Holiday Gift Pick and Giveaway 9

It’s the first drink or food of any kind mentioned in Mad Men. In fact, it’s in the very first line of dialogue: “Old Fashioned, please.”

 Cocktail Barware for A Mad Man:  Holiday Gift Pick and Giveaway 9

Don’s Old Fashioned
Photo: Nina Gallant/The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook

Don Draper is a whisky man and his preferred brand is Canadian Club. When it’s not in his Old Fashioned, he’s pouring it straight from the ever-present bottle that sits on his office liquor cart.

Whether you prefer bourbon or rye, imported or domestic, Bormilio Rocco, the Italian glassware company, has the perfect gift to complement your favorite whisky: a “Selecta” seven-piece glassware set featuring a  decanter and six tumblers. If you like your whisky “neat,” or prefer it in an Old Fashioned (don’t forget to muddle the cherry), this classic glassware set will ensure that every sip is taken in style…Don Draper style.

 Cocktail Barware for A Mad Man:  Holiday Gift Pick and Giveaway 9

Bormioli Rocco’s Whisky Decanter and Tumbler Set is perfect for any Mad Men-style cocktail bar.

Perfect for any Mad Men party host ( and makes a great gift packaged with The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook!) Enter to win a Selecta seven-piece glassware set including a whisky decanter and six tumblers.

Shopping Tip: Visit The Hour Shop in  Alexandria, Virginia,  and online, for mid-century chic barware.  Ninety percent of The Hour’s collection is true vintage.

12799 150x150 Cocktail Barware for A Mad Man:  Holiday Gift Pick and Giveaway 9

Vintage Barware from The Hour Shop




Holiday Gift Guide & Giveaway Pick Week 4: Vintage Clothing and Accessories with Modern Flair

1531 Holiday Gift Guide & Giveaway Pick Week 4:  Vintage Clothing and Accessories with Modern Flair No wife of Don Draper’s would be caught dead preparing Beef Bourguignon or Sole Meunière wearing sweat pants and a t-shirt! Shabby Apple, a vintage inspired online dress boutique, brings back the styles that make1040 Holiday Gift Guide & Giveaway Pick Week 4:  Vintage Clothing and Accessories with Modern Flair the women of Mad Men look like a million dollars whether they’re dining at Lutèce, preparing a Crown Roast for twenty or chairing a meeting of the board of their own company. Devoted to making women “feel feminine and beautiful for what they wear, not what they bare,” Shabby Apple “returns dresses to what they were always meant to be — a one1867 Holiday Gift Guide & Giveaway Pick Week 4:  Vintage Clothing and Accessories with Modern Flair -piece outfit. No need to add anything…no tank tops, no cardigans, nothing (except accessories, of course!).” Whether you’re looking for a brooch, apron, purse or entire vintage inspired outfit for you or your favorite Mad Men fan, you’ll want to browse Shabby Apple.

Enter to Win a $150.00 Shabby Apple gift certificate!

She Ain’t Heavy, She’s My Mother: Our Mad Men Holiday Gift Guide & Giveaway Week 3

Gayle season3open a She Aint Heavy, Shes My Mother: Our Mad Men Holiday Gift Guide & Giveaway Week 3

Bryan Batt and his mother, Gayle

If you’re like many Mad Men fans we know, you miss Salvatore Romano, Sterling Cooper’s erstwhile art director, whose repressed sexuality was beautifully portrayed by New Orleans SAH She Aint Heavy, Shes My Mother: Our Mad Men Holiday Gift Guide & Giveaway Week 3native Bryan Batt. In this deft, heart-warming memoir and tribute to his unforgettably eccentric mother, She Ain’t Heavy, She’s My Mother, Batt takes us from his colorful 1960s New Orleans childhood through his early acting days in New York and his star turn on Mad Men. Batt’s keen eye for the telling detail and light touch make for a memorable read. And we love the references to 60s food

 She Aint Heavy, Shes My Mother: Our Mad Men Holiday Gift Guide & Giveaway Week 3

Bryan Batt as Sal Romano in “Mad Men”

and cocktails! A wonderful story for Mad Men fans, Batt’s memoir is available in hardcover (Hachette, $24.00) or paperback (Three Rivers, $14.00).

Bryan Batt has contributed three autographed hardcover copies of She Ain’t Heavy, She’s My Mother for our Holiday Gift Guide giveaway! Enter to win one for yourself or your favorite Mad Men/Sal Romano Fan!!

More for Bryan Batt Fans: Bryan is co-owner of New Orleans’s Hazelnut, a boutique offering fine gifts and elegant home accessories, including toile based on his sketches. He is also the author of Big, Easy Style: Creating Rooms You Love to Live In.

William Greenberg Brownies: Mad Men Holiday Gift Guide and Giveaway Week 2


n06 brownies2B 272x300 William Greenberg Brownies:  Mad Men Holiday Gift Guide and Giveaway Week 2Pete Campbell never wanted to leave the city for Cos Cob; Trudy made him do it. So, he’s delighted when Don and Meghan arrive for dinner one evening, in Season 5, with a red tin of delicious and decadent William Greenberg brownies. “Tweety, look what they brought!” exclaims Pete. “Doesn’t it make you homesick?” For more than 65 years William Greenberg baked goods have been synonymous with good taste: “well bred and adventurous with a refined dazzle,” New York Magazine once said of Manhattan’s most famous brownies.

7084528803 893d694c9e William Greenberg Brownies:  Mad Men Holiday Gift Guide and Giveaway Week 2

Don and Meghan’s gift of William Greenberg Brownies makes Pete Campbell pine away for Manhattan.

Lucky for us, William Greenberg Desserts still makes the brownies that excited Pete. This holiday season, give your Mad Men fan or your favorite New Yorker in exile a taste of “The Brownie of New York for over 50 years” with a Greenberg William Greenberg Brownies:  Mad Men Holiday Gift Guide and Giveaway Week 2gift certificate from William Greenberg Desserts, Pete Campbell’s favorite.

Enter to win a gift certificate to William Greenberg Desserts (mail order). Good For one dozen pecan or chocolate brownies by mail- value $36.00.

A Cocktail to Toast Mad Men’s 17 Emmy Nominations

21 Club Gin Fizz 1024x682 A Cocktail to Toast Mad Mens 17 Emmy Nominations
The ’21’ Club’s Gin Fizz

How should you toast the 17 nominations for Mad Men during Sunday night’s Emmy Awards? We suggest Joan’s Gin Fizz – one of the few cocktails mentioned in Season 5 of Mad Men (Episode 4, “Mystery Date”). Our recipe is courtesy of New York’s ‘21′ Club.

To celebrate the homecoming from Vietnam of Joan’s husband, Dr. Greg Miller, the extended family gathers for dinner at an unidentified Italian restaurant, but it’s an awkward and uncomfortable gathering. Joan orders a gin fizz, the Mad Men debut for this famous cocktail and a refreshing change from the Old Fashioneds, Martinis and Manhattans seen frequently over the first four seasons. But a bad evening gets worse when Greg, always a self-centered, insecure cad, announces that his imminent return to Viet Nam isn’t involuntary, as he’d led Joan, a new mother, to believe.

The family of drinks known as “fizz” was a creation of New Orleans in the late 19th century and was especially popular in the first half of the 20th century. There are many variations: the basic gin fizz is made with gin, lemon juice, sugar and carbonated water (hence the fizz) over rocks. Fizz variations include the use of lime juice, simple syrup, cream, eggs (either the whole egg, just the yolk or just the white), and even crème de menthe. A Sloe Gin Fizz is made with a blackthorn-based spirit  (a blackthorn is a fruit in the same family as plums and cherries).

Sorry the evening and your cocktail were ruined by your selfish, soon-to-be ex-husband, Joan, but you’re well rid of him!


Joan's Gin Fizz Recipe, courtesy of Manhattan's '21' Club


Prep Time: 4 minutes

Yield: 1 drink

21 Club Gin Fizz A Cocktail to Toast Mad Mens 17 Emmy Nominations

A refreshing, classic Gin Fizz recipe from the '21' Club to toast Mad Men's Emmy nominations. Joan Harris orders a Gin Fizz in Season 5, Episode 4 ("Mystery Date").


  • 2 ounces gin
  • 2 ounces fresh lemon juice
  • 4 rounded teaspoonfuls sugar
  • Club soda


  1. Add ice, gin, lime juice and sugar to a shaker. Shake vigorously.
  2. Pour into a Collins glass and fill with club soda.


You can add a splash of orange juice to soften the cocktail.

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Cooking for Julia: Megan’s Sole Meunière

120 JULI BADGING Cooking for Julia: Megans Sole MeunièreWe are happy to join PBS in celebrating Julia Child’s 100th birthday this August by preparing a Julia Child recipe in her honor, and posting a tribute to Julia.  For #CookforJulia, we’re pleased to share a Sole Meunière recipe and an excerpt from our book, The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook: Inside the Kitchens, Bars and Restaurants of Mad Men.

The beginning of Julia’s real-life career in books and television coincided with the early years in which Mad Men is set, and one sees her influence on American culinary tastes of that era reflected in many ways on Mad Men. One of our favorite Mad Men Julia recipes,  after Boeuf Bourguignon (Season 5, Episode 8, “Lady Lazarus”) is Megan’s Sole Meunière (Season 5, Episode 7, “At the Cod Fish Ball”).

When Megan Draper’s parents, the Calvets, visit from Quebec she doesn’t scrimp on dinner: she prepares Dover sole. Given her French–Canadian heritage and comfort level in the kitchen, a classic Sole Meunière would have been a natural choice. Dover Sole Meunière was a classic French dish served at many of Manhattan’s fine French restaurants in the 1960s, including La Caravelle mentioned in Season 5, Episode 11 (“The Other Woman”) when Peggy, looking for a new job, meets with Don’s nemesis, Ted Chaough, of rival agency Cutler, Gleason and Chaough.

Imported from Europe, Dover sole is “considered by many food lovers to be the best-tasting fish in the world,” according to an article in the November 1964 issue of Life magazine. “If you by chance have a fish market elegant enough to carry it, filets may cost $3 or $4 a pound.” Julia Child called Dover sole “a dream fish” with a “texture firm enough to hold yet delicate to the tooth.” She later wrote that she “often wished they were farming Dover sole, as they do salmon and other popular fish.”

To make this famous dish the sole, whole or fillet, is dredged in flour, pan-fried in butter and served with the resulting brown butter. Simple and elegant, it was one of Child’s personal favorites. As she wrote in her memoir, My Life in France, her first meal in Rouen was Sole Meunière: it was “perfectly browned in a sputtering butter sauce with a sprinkling of chopped parsley… I closed my eyes and inhaled the rising perfume. Then I lifted a forkful of fish to my mouth… The flesh of the sole was delicate, with a light but distinct taste of the ocean that blended marvelously with the browned butter… It was a morsel of perfection… It was the most exciting meal of my life.”

For our tribute to Julia we’ve adapted, ever-so-slightly, Julia Child and Jacque Pepin’s recipe for Dover Sole Meunière from Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home (Knopf, 1999). While they call for preparing the dish with whole Dover Sole, they offer suggestions for preparing Sole Meunière with sole filets, which are more widely available and more moderately priced.

Megan’s Sole Meunière Season 5, Episode 7 (“At the Cod Fish Ball”)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Sole Meuniere Cooking for Julia: Megans Sole Meunière

Megan’s Sole Meunière Season 5, Episode 7 (“At the Cod Fish Ball”)


  • For the fish
  • 1– 1 1/2 pounds filet of sole (cut in 4 – 6 ounce portions) (see note)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • About 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • For the beurre noisette
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice


  1. To make fish: Set frying pan(s) over medium high heat. Season both sides of the fish filets with salt and pepper. Dredge fish in the flour. Press lightly to coat, and then shake off the excess. Swirl oil and 2 tablespoons butter in the pan and when foam subsides, lay as many floured fish filets as will fit in pan.
  2. Sauté for a minute or two on each side, until skin is crisped and the flesh is just springy rather than squashy. Turn the fish over carefully with spatula as it can break apart easily. As soon as the fish are done, remove to a warm platter.
  3. To make the beurre noisette: Sprinkle chopped parsley on each fish filet. Place clean medium pan over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter. When butter melts, bubbles and begins to brown, remove pan from heat and as butter darkens to hazelnut color, toss in the capers and lemon juice and swirl together. Pour sizzling butter over fish, crisping the parsley, and serve immediately.


Note: Julia Child’s recipe calls for a whole Dover sole, which can be hard to find and expensive. We’ve adapted the recipe for sole filets. Child suggests substituting gray sole, lemon sole, winter flounder and yellow tail flounder, petrale sole, rex sole or rock sole for Dover sole.

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We’ll close with an excerpt from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook titled, “America’s French Chef.”

It’s no surprise we see Mad Men characters frequenting French restaurants such as Lutèce and La Grenouille and eating French foods such as vichyssoise and coquilles. It was during this same period that Julia Child was, to borrow a phrase from the ’60s, turning America on to French cuisine, starting in 1961 with publication of Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Alfred A. Knopf).

Public interest in French food was fueled in part by the Kennedys’ passion for all things French. Distinguished French chef René Verdon was hired to be the White House chef, and Mrs. Kennedy spoke French fluently. But it was Julia Child, America’s first true celebrity chef, who introduced Americans to French cooking, and there’s never been another quite like her. The gangly, irrepressible cookbook author and TV personality
became an American icon beloved for her wit, her authenticity, and, of course, her passion for French cooking.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking wasn’t the first French cookbook to appear in American bookstores in the postwar years by any means; there were many. Written by French chefs and professional food writers, the recipes were inaccessible to the average American cook because they assumed a certain amount of knowledge of French cooking. But Child learned her craft from scratch while living in Paris with her diplomat husband. Mastering the Art of French Cooking conveyed her love of the cuisine and the joy of learning from the beginning. It was a cookbook for the complete novice that broke French cooking down step by step.

Alfred Knopf, Child’s publisher, had doubts about the commercial viability of the book from the beginning, and published it only after much in-house debate. Its authors were unknown and Knopf had just published a volume by Joseph Donon, a renowned French chef. Few resources were allocated for promotion. But when New York Times food critic Craig Claiborne gave the book a glowing review, the stage was set for Child to take the country by storm. She was invited to do a cooking demonstration on NBC’s Today Show  in front of four million viewers (she cooked an omelet on a hot plate). More favorable book reviews followed, including an endorsement from James Beard, perhaps America’s most famous chef at the time.

“This is a book,” wrote Child and her co-authors, “for the servantless American cook who can be unconcerned on occasion with budgets,waistlines, time schedules, children’s meals, the parent-chauffeur-den-mother syndrome, or anything else which might interfere with the enjoyment of producing something wonderful to eat.” It wasn’t just the destination that was to be enjoyed, but the journey. She was converting cooks into gourmands, walking her readers through the making of boeuf bourguignon and tarte tatin, and teaching that technique was every bit as important as quality ingredients.

Child took to the airwaves in 1962 on a program called The French Chef, produced at WGBH, Boston’s public broadcasting station. The French Chef soon had a national following. With infectious joie de vivre, the imposing 6’2” Child wielded her kitchen knife with an equally sharp wit. On television, Child proved to be an outstanding teacher that viewers connected with. She wasn’t particularly telegenic or polished, and her voice was given to warbles and sudden changes in register. But her movements were both flamboyant and buoyant, and she handled miscues,both in her presentation and her cooking, with humor and aplomb. In short, she was as irrepressible as she was irresistible. She was so comfortable in her own skin that she made others comfortable trying to
do what she had done: master the art of French cooking.