One of the best dishes I ever made, probably the best one, was French onion soup. When we first moved to Fredericton, we joined the university gourmet group and were members for several years. Once for our final meal of the year I made onion soup for sixteen people. A departing faculty member had given me a huge black iron pot that had belonged to the US Army. Every once in a while, even now, someone will mention the soup. Some people said it was the single best thing they ever tasted. I have never made it again. I used an Escoffier book and a Larousse cookbook. Escoffier recommended first roasting the bones for the stock, several kinds, beef of course, and I think lamb and veal. Some vegetables were roasted too. The resulting stock was so subtle that I can’t even bring it to my memory; I only remember its reputation.
I was thinking of that soup this morning because tonight we will have chicken soup with stock from the bones of the roast chicken we had several nights ago. My cooking has gradually lost its luster. I rarely cook any more for someone who loves food. I love food, but cooking just for myself is too much work. Fredericton has never had good restaurants. I don’t know why that is. We go to one and it is good, and six months later we go back and it is mediocre. Bill loves Italian food, but there has never been a good one here. An Indian restaurant opened here a year or so ago. I was delighted. It was ridiculously expensive and lousy. I didn’t think it was possible to make lousy Indian food. All the effort had gone into the ambience.