Dear Soup Development Team,
Barack Obama isn’t the first president to take over in a time of crisis. In January of 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt assumed the President’s office in the midst of The Great Depression. Due to the circumstances, most of the ceremonies for Inauguration Day where canceled, save for a simple buffet for family and a few friends, and a reception in the early evening, which FDR didn’t even attend.
Although not considered a picky eater, FDR quickly grew tired of the meals that were prepared by Mrs. Henry Nesbitt, the White House housekeeper at the time, who believed in plain food plainly cooked, and apparently was very difficult to get along with. FDR is reported to have said, “my stomach positively rebels and this does not help my relations with foreign powers. I bit two of them yesterday.”
Because of his disability, FDR seldom ate out. Fed up with Mrs. Henry’s cooking, he eventually brought in his former personal cook and had a kitchen installed on the third floor, where she cooked two meals for him daily. This was successful right up until when America was put on an austerity program shortly after World War 2, and the White House needed to follow it like everyone else. During this time, the diet consisted of an egg, one slice of toast, one slice of bacon, and coffee for breakfast, and simple lunches and dinners. Staff were even required to bring their own sugar to work if they wanted to use it in their cooking.
FDR is the only president to have presided over the country for more than two terms, serving from 1933 until his death in 1945, eventually being succeeded by Harry Truman. His plan for tackling The Great Depression, called The New Deal, is largely considered to have been a success, as well as his leadership throughout World War II. There’s little doubt Obama and his team will be closely studying the policies of FDR’s administration as to figure out how to steer the US through the next couple of years.
FDR’s favourite soup was Martha Washington’s Crab Soup. I’ve taken the gist of this soup and updated it a little. So this is for those who didn’t want to spend $50 making A Tribe Called Bisque a few months back, but want to enjoy the deliciousness of a good bisque.
Bisque Markie (Just a Friend)
Serves four or five
For delicate soups like this (as well as for things like melting chocolate) try to use a double boiler, however you can make a makeshift one with a large sauce pan, a smaller sauce pan, and a strainer (see picture at the bottom). The idea is that you want to cook the thing in the inside pot, using the heat from the boiling water of the outside pot. The inside pot should be just sitting on top of the water level of the bigger pot.
In the top of a double boiler (or the inside sauce pan if you have a makeshift one), add:
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp all purpose flour
When mixed well together, add:
2 hard boiled eggs, mashed
zest of one lemon (or one lemon peel grated if you don’t have a zester, which is just a very fine grater)
Stir in and cook on medium heat, until thickened up a bit, about 10 minutes:
4 cups of milk, or light cream (the heavier the milk/cream the better the taste)
1/4 cup of pureed rice (cook whatever rice you like to use and then puree it in a blender with some of the milk
Add and cook for another 5 minutes:
1.5 pounds of crab meat, I used soft shell because it’s much easier to get the meat out, but you can use whatever kind you want
You can also add some shrimp in there as well, or shallots, or any other seafood
1 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup of sherry (used Orion 2001 Chardonnay Sherry, was the only bottle they had at The Wine Rack and I wasn’t driving all the way to the LCBO)
paprika to taste
salt and pepper to taste
Cook for another 5 minutes or so and then serve.
Jayro in the News
If you’re looking for something to do next weekend, I’ll be giving a cooking demonstration on Saturday in Markham, Ontario, showcasing a few of Susur’s French Chinese fusion recipies. Starts at 1, see attached poster.
Track of the Week
Yip Harburg’s “Life is a Bowl of Cherries” was one of the defining songs of the Great Depression. Although Judy Garland’s career came a bit later, her version is still my favorite. Give it a listen and get some perspective yo.
“made from scratch”