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Friday, December 28, 2007

A Trip Down T.V. Lane

As a child of the 1980s, I watched quite a bit of television. I sat there, mouth agape, as Buzz Aldrin planted the MTV flag on the moon. As the Buggles serenaded the dawn of a new cultural movement.

I also spent a lot of time watching some much quieter programming. Like The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross. (If the phrase, "happy little trees" does not make you smile, I am truly sorry.)

But one of the shows that is forever burned in my memory was an elegant culinary show simply called: Madeleine Cooks. The star and host, Madeleine Kamman, captivated my young imagination in a way that still befuddles me today. Throughout the course of the show, Ms. Kamman spoke to the audience in a most polite, informative way. Her thick French accent added a special mystique for me. (I hadn't yet met anyone with an accent other than an Irish brogue.) And, though she had a certain grandmotherly quality (her lovely grey hair was swept up into a loose bun), I also remember noticing that she was quite beautiful. Looking back on that now, I see how amazing it was, since as a child, I tended to view people more simply: either young or old. Friend or authority figure. Ms. Kamman was an interesting mix of both. While she seemed very nice on-screen, she also had this intonation in her voice (which may have just been her accent) that to me, had undertones of, "Hey, pay attention and don't mess this up!" Which I love now, more than ever. And, what I now know is that Ms. Kamman is held in high regard for her skill in blending traditional French cooking techniques with seasonal American cuisine. She uses the freshest ingredients and time-honored techniques resulting in nearly perfect, delicious good.

It's funny what a child remembers. A French woman gliding effortlessly through the kitchen, deftly slicing and dicing, drawing me nearer to my glowing t.v. screen as she lifted the lid on a steamy pot of simmering soup and said, "Eeeet smells lovely, no?"

Oui, Madame Kamman. Bien sur.

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