Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Pavel Strogonoff


The Princess and the Cook

State Secrets are just nothing when compared to Cookbook Family Secrets. Smiling guests trying to seduce hostesses in the desperate attempt to obtain a recipe invariably get deliberately truncated versions. Unscrupulous amateur gourmets engaging in bribery or blackmail to get hold of famous kitchen formula from unfortunate family cooks fail too, as a key detail is always left out.
I happen to know who indeed knows the true recipe of Beef Stroganoff. I have no reasons not to believe that claim.

A complex chain of events. A writer in Moscow tells the departing diplomat that he must absolutely get in touch in his new post with a White Russian Countess that carries the allure of Old Russia like no one. In a talk in Paris the writer confirms that a preliminary contact was established. A reply to an electronic reminder at last carries the necessary phone number. On the eve of an At Home on Fools'Day, Russkaya invites, in Russian, the said Countess who happened not to speak Russian and not to be a Countess afterall ( a Princess, in fact) to honour the birthdaying diplomat with her presence. A telephone conversation a couple of days after the party happens to take place in the middle of the Russkaya's cooking exertions. A cook stuff discussion follows. And so the Princess recalls a personal conversation with a cook who worked with the Strogonoffs themselves.

The Family Cook at the Strogonoffs: "We have kept the recipe in the Family since the times of Count Pavel Strogonoff. One day he had more than one hundred fifty people to supper instead of the usual eighty or so and some last minute solution had to be found for although there was always plenty of food in reserve this time the challenge was formidable . Mushrooms in the estate there were plenty. Cream no problem either. The cutting of the beef would be the key to the miracle of the multiplication of maincourses. The chief cook of Graf Pavel was good, really good. The experiment went really well. I can't tell you about the recipe more than you know already, Princess. But come tomorrow morning, very early, to the kitchen and you can watch me prepare it. "

The cool and glamorous dressed Lady, who has charmed all fool's day guests with her beauty and grace from older, gentler times, claims she is now in possession of the Secret of the Strogonoff Beef. Who are we to doubt the Princess?

1 comment:

ballerina said...

P.s Princess nº2 aka Your middle daughter has just honoured you with a mercy-link. Have a nice day.