vegetarian french onion soup
a bowl of french onion soup defined a new food absolute for me.
in possession of my first passport and barely of driving age, i remember not caring that i had just scorched my tongue with a simple, slow brew of onions in butter, broth, and wine. i could taste every ingredient, yet their combination was made congruent through the preparation process, relating to my senses in an altogether notable way. topped with baguette slices and gruyére cheese, after that first taste of french onion soup: food added up to an art form. by the time i uncovered the bottom of the bowl, my interest in cooking had also raised exponentially. this, i had to learn to make.
every time i eat a facile french onion soup, i am reminded of why i prefer to eat with a spoon.
in julia child's words, "the french are seldom interested in unusual combinations or surpise presentations . . . the frenchman takes his greatest pleasure from a well-known dish impeccably cooked . . . each of the several steps in the process, though simple to accomplish, plays a critical role."