I recently read Adam Gopnik's "Table Come First," a nice if overwrought book on a variety of food topics. He inserts chapters posing as e-mails to long-dead cook/writer Elizabeth Pennell (if you know about her you can tell where these are going to lead). One of them reads: 'They don't seem to make [soufflé potatoes] in New York these days, though I have read that they were still available in the fancy places in New Orleans until recently, along with crepes suzettes and flambéed duck and all the other ancient dishes of the old theatrical cuisine."
It surprised me that he had not researched this since as we all know soufflé (puff) potatoes are still staples on the menu at Antoine's and Galatoire's. I am trying to think of where else I have had them. I've had them at Commander's at a private party but haven't had them as part of a regular meal. Where else in town are they regular features? Just curious. Sort of a casual research into which of the Classic Items are still around
The whole idea of "the old theatrical cuisine" is interesting. Roahen's book "Gumbo Tales" refers to broccoli hollandaise as something that (outside New Orleans) went "out of fashion with the smoking jacket." It never occurred to me to consider what I eat by its being in-or-out of fashion but, then, I pay no attention to clothing fashion, either. Sometimes I think that "cutting edge" cookery is trying to avoid running a kitchen properly although I know that Adria et alia put a lot of time and effort into their flights of fancy.
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