French Onion Soup


From Wikipedia…French onion soup (Soupe à l’oignon) is an onion soup based on beef broth or beef stock and chicken stock traditionally served with croutons and cheese as toppings. Although ancient in origin, this dish underwent a resurgence of popularity in the 1960s in the United States due to a greater interest in French cuisine.[1]

And the number one reason why french style cooking became popular in the United States in the 1960’s….

onion_soup_julia_child_collage

Yep. Julia Child and her amazing cookbooks and television shows. Watch her make hers..

But I digress. Here’s a story..

My mom grew up in Iowa on a working farm. One of her duties was to assist her mother in cooking lunches for the farmhands. She would describe incredible spreads that they would prepare for lunch. Fresh fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, tomatoes, fresh baked bread. And you know that none of it was ‘store-bought’. All made from scratch and cooked with love. And my sisters and I will attest to the cooking skills she gained from that.

When she married my dad they spent a few years in France. And there she spent a lot of time learning and practicing the local cooking trends and styles. She was in France at approximately the same time as Julia and Paul Child. And I also remember that the one cookbook that she referenced most was, of course…

Mastering The Art of French Cooking

Get it from Amazon here.

While growing up in Gunnison my sisters and I were subjected served on Christmas Eve a dish that only my dad loved. Oyster stew. It was a tradition. And we all suffered ate what was served and enjoyed it!

Later on, after mom and dad divorced, I remember her asking me and my sisters very nicely if she could change the long running Oyster stew tradition to something else. We immediately After much careful thought, we agreed. Mom chose French Onion Soup and it has become a family tradition ever since.

Here is Julia Childs recipe. Here is a different one.

My daughter seems to have inherited my moms amazing cooking skills. Bee has already worked in restaurants and has made a name for herself in her own town for her skills! She would have made my mom proud. Here is her recipe…

Bees Best FOS Recipe!

I yellow onion, sliced

Cook the onion slices in a pat of butter with a sprinkle of sugar and a couple shakes of dried thyme on low-ish. Cook till onions are soft and clear. Sprinkle in some flour with the onions and stir. (this is to help thicken the soup).
1-2 cans of beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, white wine, bay leaf
Slowly add the cans of beef broth to the onions with a wisk to help dissolve the flour. Turn heat to med-high and cook till broth is thickened. Add a dash of the worcestershire sauce and the bay leaf. Add a glug of white wine too! Salt and pepper to your tastes. When soup is thickened, turn heat back down to low and let simmer for about 30 min.
Place stale french bread and swiss or gruyere cheese in bottom of serving bowl. Don’t skimp.
Evenly pour the soup into crocks and top with the stale bread and cheese. Turn the oven on to 350 degrees and put the soup in the oven to melt the cheese. Cook till cheese is bubbly!!
You may use canned FOS soups in a pinch. We like the Campbell’s version best. Just substitute into the above recipe in place of the beef broth. Adjust your seasonings though as the canned stuff has a lot of sodium in it.

FOS FOS

FOS is best when served piping hot! Just a few degrees under volcanic. It should be bubbling when it hits the table. Have a nice fresh baguette of french bread and a glass, or two, of your favorite wine.

The soup should be all gooey and be filled with bread, cheese and onion pieces. Don’t skimp. And remember…Bon Appetite!

Legacy


Gene holds Abby

It is about 1981. Gene Taylor is around the same age as I am now. 50-ish. I am managing Marios pizzaria when Gene brings his sons and Jenny in to eat, and to meet me. Jen and I have been going out for a year or so by now. Gene extends his hand and says “Nice to meet you”. I, being all of 20, return this nice greeting with a selfish and sarcastic retort that even today embarrasses me. “Most people think that” is my reply.

Gene at Lake Powell

Forward to winter 1982. Jenny and I are living together in Grand Junction now and I am spending most of the winter working up in the Snowmass, CO store. My mom has a minor emergency of some sort and needs to contact me. She knows that Jenny and I are living together, but Gene doesn’t. She calls the store, gets Gene on the phone, and asks him for Jen and my new phone number. Gene asks “Doesn’t he live with you?” and Mom says “He and Jen have been living together for 6 months now!” Gene doesn’t talk to me for a month.

Gene with Newest great-grandkids Reid, on his right, and Hadari.

Forward to winter of 1983/84. I feel it is time to ask my best friend to marry me. But I need to ask her father for her hand in marriage. This is a very daunting task, and frankly, I’m intimidated to ask him. A lot intimidated! He drives up to Snowmass for the weekend to check on the store and mingle with friends he has up there. I ask him to a local bar that afternoon, buy him a beer, and ask him for his daughters hand. He takes a long drink. Sets the beer down and looks at me. “Yes.” Then he gives me the best ‘how to be a man’ talk I ever heard. I can’t remember the exact words, but I sure can remember the intent.

Jenny was at Genes side for most of his last year.

Long forward to 2002. I have worked for the Taylors for 25 years. I have done everything I feel I can for them and I have been talking to a local businessman who wants to throw a lot of money my way to run his store for him. Its a good offer and I’m really struggling with the decision. Gene comes out to the Fruita store I opened for the Taylors and we sit down at a small table and start to have our lunch. I bring up this opportunity to him. I expect a little fire and brimstone, but instead he gets a pad of paper and we fill out a classic pro/con list. Gene actually supported and encouraged the move. Not in any way to get me out, but he saw my need to expand and try new things out from under the Taylor umbrella.

It is now fall of 2011. Gene has had a bout with strokes, infections, heart problems and all the other ailments that come with getting old. During a brief time when there is no one else around we have a talk that centers on ‘quality of life’. He says that he doesn’t want to be bedridden for a lengthy time, or hooked up to machines to keep him alive. We talk about visits to his cabin, and remember fun times past. It is our last personal conversation. He remains bedridden at Hospice for the next 5 months and passes away in March of 2012.

Gene hunting by his cabin.

Gene Taylor will be remembered for a lot of things by the general public. His successful businesses, his philanthrophy, his baseball life. He will be remembered by his close friends and family for his loyalty, his love of life, his honesty. I will miss my friend and father-in-law. I will miss his crooked smile and mussed up hair. Here’s to you Gene. All my love,  Scott.