A deeply silly morning name today, a play on the title Le Malade Imaginaire. Which then led me to some ethereal culinary musings.
The Imaginary Invalid (French: Le malade imaginaire … ) is a three-act comédie-ballet by the French playwright Molière with dance sequences and musical interludes by Marc-Antoine Charpentier. It premiered on 10 February 1673 at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal in Paris and was originally choreographed by Pierre Beauchamp.
My morning name refers to an imaginary salad. But what sort of salad is imagined (rather than real)? I suggest a classic Salade niçoise (also a favorite of mine). From Wikipedia:
Salade niçoise … is a salad that originated in the French city of Nice. It is traditionally made of tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, Niçoise olives, anchovies [or tuna], and dressed with olive oil. It has been popular worldwide since the early 20th century, and has been prepared and discussed by many famous chefs.
We might think of its imaginary version as Salade ne soit pas (roughy ‘Don’t be salad’).
Now imagine this: M.F.K. Fisher, Craig Claiborne, Julia Child, and James Beard, are gathered together ethereally to plan an imaginary meal. Things are going slowly. So far they have a soup — Vietnamese Faux (on Vietnamese pho, see my 4/5/11 posting “Go pho it”) — and La Salade Imaginaire, and a dessert, an Illusion Flottante ‘Floating Illusion’, an allusion to Île Fottante ‘Floating Island’: from Wikipedia:
A floating island is a dessert of French origin, consisting of meringue floating on crème anglaise (a vanilla custard). The meringues are prepared from whipped egg whites, sugar and vanilla extract then quickly poached. The crème anglaise is prepared with the egg yolks, vanilla, and hot milk, briefly cooked. … In French cuisine, the terms œufs à la neige (“eggs in snow”) and île flottante (floating island) are sometimes used interchangeably
And there the four ran aground in their menu planning, until Fisher had the smashing idea that the fish and meat courses should be truly and totally imaginary, nothing but air; a substantial soup, a substantial salad, and a light dessert would suffice. That settled, they pondered the question of whether the wines should be equally imaginary. Child argued that since the wines would be at least ethereal, they should go for the top of the line, Faux-Monnayeur-Conti ‘Counterfeiter Conti’, the other-worldly counterpart of Romanée-Conti. From Wikipedia:
Romanée-Conti is an Appellation d’origine contrôlée … and Grand Cru vineyard for red wine in the Côte de Nuits subregion of Burgundy, France, with Pinot noir as the primary grape variety … Wine from the vineyard is among the most sought after, and expensive, in the world.
And then, of course, they all floated away.