Three weeks ago my mother learned that her lung cancer has returned and that the new tumors are inoperable and in her weakened condition, untreatable. Sixty plus years of determined tobacco use are taking their toll. Two weeks ago, she enrolled in hospice and the direction of her thinking is starting to change. Susan and I went by to fix dinner Sunday night.
Comfort food in our family has always revolved around rice. When my or my sisters were sick as children, Mom would fix us a perfectly broiled ground beef patty with just enough jus to color the bottom grains of the buttered rice. Grandine might bring an covered enamel ware pot with her legendary chicken and dumplings. (It was Atlanta, after all.)
When our children were sick, Susan and I fed them tender chicken breasts and, you got it, buttered rice. Every so often when we celebrated I would fix butter poached chicken breasts with aromatic vegetables and what the recipe called Risotto, but it was closer to a Pilaf. But it was good, so that is what we took to fix for my Mother.
When we arrived, the question was whether she would leave the tranquil, leafy quiet of her bedroom and come into the dining room, but after the aromas started filling the apartment, the question was answered.
She and Susan were sitting at the table and Dad and I were bringing out the plates when I asked who wanted wine. Then it came to me. I brought out glasses for all and served everyone a glass. "I'm sorry," I said in my best Claude Rains, "But I'm afraid I must insist!"
And I proposed a toast to Julia Child in honor of her 100th birthday.
Because someone gave Susan a copy of Julia Child's The French Chef Cookbook when we got married. This was the first recipe I tried back in the summer of 1976 and have used it countless times since. Supremes de Volaille a l'Ecossaise with Risotto and Buttered Summer Vegetables.
"Serve the supremes with a chilled White Burgundy," Julia directed and I did.
The 2009 Bourgogne Blanc made by the young Christophe Cordier.
Everything was delicious.