Oct 19, 2017 Last Updated 2:01 AM, Oct 19, 2017

Mass Effect: Andromeda and the Art of French Cooking

Published in Editorial
Read 2855 times
Rate this item
(0 votes)
Tagged under

You can laugh at me all you want, but Julia Child’s legendary “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” has got to be one of my favorite books of all time. It’s not just because French food is amazing, and this was written way before anyone was health conscious, but the writing is fantastic. Certainly, none of the current celebrity TV chefs could pull off a masterwork like this. Just look at the opening sentence:

This is a book 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.

Cookbooks don’t read like this anymore, and it’s a darn shame.

For those of us who are food snobs, we know that presentation is just as important as the taste of the meal itself. If you have some unsightly plating, or food that just looks unappetizing, chances are you’ll skew the person’s expectations, and they might start to taste imperfections that aren’t even there. Such is what’s happening with modern cookbooks. It’s all about what the ingredient list is, and how quickly we can get this from package to plate so that we can Netflix and (hopefully) chill.

Though the number of recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking is overwhelming, there are many dishes in the book that stand out. The simplicity of the garlic mashed potato recipe is laughable, but when you taste them, they are divine. Maybe it’s because there’s a pound of butter and an entire head of garlic in them, or perhaps it’s because you’re wearing a funny chef’s hat and an apron, but you’ll feel like a culinary superstar no matter what. The sponge cakes with orange rind and rum are nothing like you find in bakeries today. They’re soft and delicate, and not overly sweet; an entirely unfamiliar feeling for the modern American palate that’s trained for granular frostings smushed between cardboard layers of gluten.

The real standout of this almost 700-page wonder is Filet De Boeuf Braise Prince Albert

(Or, for those of us who aren’t worldly, braised filet of beef stuff with foie gras and truffles.) This dish is unique because typically filet is roasted or seared, not braised. Braising amplifies the filet’s natural tenderness to a level which I’m not comfortable explaining, in the event that young children are reading this. It’s shockingly good. Mix this with a great bottle of Bordeaux, and to paraphrase the words of famed TV anchor Veronica Corningstone, you’re going to Pleasure Town.

Truffles alone are enough to make most people weak, but when you marinate them in Madeira wine, they get an otherworldly flavor. Shift gears and you’re cooking shallots with cognac and foie gras, with fresh sprigs of thyme. At this point, your house never smelled so good. Ivan Pavlov is smiling in his grave right now. Then, the star of the show appears - a trimmed three-pound filet of beef.

After cutting a deep valley into this exquisite piece of meat, you line it with the foie gras stuffing, and then gently place the truffles along the base of the cut. Then, my favorite line of the recipe reads, “Lay the pork fat or bacon strips the length of the closed slit.” I feel dirty, and dirty feels so good right now.

Searing browns the proteins and caramelizes the sugars present in meat, so that’s the logical next step.

But it’s then that we divert from the usual preparation and fill the cast iron pan with stock, bouillon, or a nice white wine sauce to let the meat braise to its final temperature. Braising is like going to stew in the hot tub, it’s completely satisfying, and your muscles feel amazingly relaxed afterward. Well, what is filet of beef if not a muscle? You let that sucker braise in the sauce for a while, and it is worth the hour wait. Plus you’ve got a bottle of wine, right?

Once the meat has rested, carve it into slices about half an inch thick, and serve it with sautéed mushrooms, perhaps some brussel sprouts with cheese sauce, or even those garlic mashed potatoes. The leftover juices from the braising, mixed with a touch of arrowroot and a splash of Madeira wine, along with some diced truffles, makes the most heavenly sauce. Say what you will about the French, but they know their sauces.

By now you’re not only hungry as hell, but also wondering what any of this has to do with Mass Effect: Andromeda.

A Filet De Boeuf Braise Prince Albert costs you about $60 to make, which is oddly the same amount that the fourth release in the Mass Effect franchise will run you. But the filet of beef has an incredible amount of thought, love, and passion; none of that was present in the making of Mass Effect: Andromeda. 2/10. You could waste $60 on one of the most reviled titles in recent history and log countless hours playing alone in the basement, or you could spend the same amount on the most fabulous dinner you’ve ever made, and more than likely get laid.

Dizzyjuice

Most widely known for never suppressing his impulse control disorder, and his stubborn position on the jet fuel vs. steel beams argument, Dizzyjuice is your typical renaissance man. An avid photographer, chef, classically trained musician, meme addict, philanthropist, and IT geek, he spends most of his spare time watching hours upon hours of ‘related videos’ on YouTube, and then purchasing random things to try and recreate them. Most notably, however, is that he hates it when biographies don’t end the way you octopus.

Related items

  • Is Early Access Worth It?

    Early access games give developers and players a unique relationship as a game goes through early-to-final development stages. As a player, you don’t have to be among the select few for the game’s alpha and beta phases; you can play immediately and experience a new perspective as the developers continue to build and improve the game based on your feedback.

  • Banner Saga 3 Art Reveal

    Stoic, an independent game development company, and Versus Evil a leading independent video game publisher, today unveiled the first key artwork for Banner Saga 3, the third and final chapter in the epic Viking RPG trilogy.

  • Aftercharge Interview with Chainsawesome Games

    The studio itself was established in 2012 by three people — two programmers and one artist — who had gained experience working in different studios before, but mostly with one studio (that is) in Quebec City, which is called Frima Studio. They decided to try it on their own and began working on a project which was later canceled because it had been too ambitious. Their first successful project was BeatBlasters III which is a game they released on PC. It’s a rhythm game with platformer and puzzle elements — a unique take on those genres. It didn’t perform very well, like most first games of a studio. They didn't invest much in marketing.

  • Devil Dagger’s Die-Hard Devotees

    Devil Daggers is created by Matt “m4ttbush” Bush, under the company Sorath. I’m greeted with screenshots that depict a hand engulfed in embers, firing countless daggers from its fingertips at hordes of lovecraftian enemies. The room is dark: there are no walls or ceilings, only a dark void. The faint illumination from the main character reveals ancient stone floors beneath. The entire color scheme seems to stick with three, maybe four colors at once — all dusty reds or luminescent yellows. They are hugging vertices that I have not seen since Quake, and they look brilliant combined.

  • Chronicles of Nyanya Interview

    Who doesn’t love cats? (Rhetorical question, folks — I’m awfully allergic to the diminutive felines, myself.) But still, even in ancient Egyptian and Asian cultures, cats have always seemed to be… around. Enter one of the last survivors of the Greenlight program: Chronicles of NyaNya, a cRPG ]by  Ilona Myszkowska, Polish comic artist and creator of the very popular chatolandia.pl. [EN: I looked it up, and no, the “c” does not stand for “cat”]

  • tinyBuild sponsors cash prizes for indie devs

    tinyBuild today announced their sponsoring in hard cash prizes of indie games at a game development event in Minsk, Belarus. The event is called DevGAMM and has the region's biggest game awards show.

  • What is my story, I wonder?

    Every gamer has her story of creation, his moment of revelation, the guidance of a universe-ordained path that lead to their own grand, epiphanous moment in which they became a gamer. Each one has their own unique testimony that lead to them pressing start for the first time. What is my story, I wonder?

  • Lifestyle Driven Play

    My drug dealer, “Dub,” runs an independent cafe in the Dallas metroplex. Keep in mind, my drug is black pu-erh tea, so he's not actually as sketchy as I've made him sound. His shop's a quiet place, and even when it's busy, he gets a lot of down time. He walks around, chats a bit with everyone, and then settles down behind the counter, where he keeps his unoptimized, but still respectable, PC. He plays turn-based strategy — usually single player, usually cheap or free.