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Le Cordon Wild Bleu Yonder

by David Westheimer

 


About 40 years into our marriage, my managing partner gave up wailing with the pots and pans on a daily basis. Said she was all cooked out. Thats understandable. For four decades she had been providing some fine home-cooking, most of those years to two growing boys, every day.

Anyway, she isnt one hundred percent cooked out. She does a baked potato now and then, Idahos as well as sweet, and her Native American specialty, succotash (shes native American but not Native American), and still does, after 55 years in harness (if the truth be known, Im the one in harness) and occasionally has a fit of baking--pecan pie, pumpkin bread, scones. And she doesnt consider her delectable Chinese chicken salad or tasty quesadilla snack--cheese folded into a corn tortilla and zapped in the toaster--a true cooking chore.

Despite being cooked out, she never asked me to take over culinary chores. Even though I was once a cook. Did it for months for up to fourteen hungry young men without ever getting a single complaint. Maybe she didnt like my school of cuisine.

"Le Cordon Wild Bleu Yonder."

A French name, sort of, but not what youd call haute cuisine. And while it originated and came to full flower in Germany, not Deutsche Kuchen, either, though some of the ingredients were German. No, Le Cordon Wild Bleu Yonder is American to the core.

Here are some of the gourmet dishes I would have whipped up for us if shed only asked:

  • Gedoing.
    The simplest and least popular dessert of "Le Cordon Wild Bleu Yonder." Boiled bread. At the time of its inception, German Army bread (hard to find in a supermarket these days, especially the World War II cellulose-enhanced variety). The bread came, though not often enough to suit us, in big, cracked, dense, dark grayish-brown loaves which fell into shards if we tried to slice it too thin on the camp slicer.
    Crumble the failed slices and cube the crust.
    Soak overnight in water, the most plentiful ingredient in this style of cuisine. Add Klim (powdered milk), sugar and either raisins, prunes, cocoa, chocolate shavings (I got the chocolate from military emergency ration D-bars) or instant coffee powder (it came in Red Cross parcels and we called it soluble coffee).
    Boil. Allow to cool and set.
    I did it on the barrackss communal stove and occasionally when the rooms stove time ran out before it thickened, we drank it. No one complained. (In Le Cordon Wild Bleu Yonder there are no failures.)

  • Saumon Luft III. (The canard de lorange of Le Cordon Wild Bleu Yonder). One can salmon. Add sauce.
    Sauce: Cheddar cheese, finely cubed.
    Melt cheese. Add margarine and milk.
    Milk: To Klim, add water very slowly, stirring vigorously until smoothly liquid. Salt and pepper to taste.
    Simmer salmon and sauce until it appears to be done (or, as at Stalag Luft III, your stove time expires).

  • Coffee whip.
    Klim. Prepare as for sauce above but only to consistency of a smooth paste.
    Margarine.
    Combine, working the margarine in smoothly.
    Add instant coffee, stirring vigorously.
    Sugar, to taste (if you have enough).
     
    After I got home and married Dody and settled down, I made a version of the post-liberation coffee whip I had dreamed of, using only the finest of ingredients, for Dody, her sister and her husband.

Heavy cream instead of Klim, creamery butter instead of margarine, as much sugar as I wanted, ditto instant coffee.

Heaven.

Only they wouldnt touch it and I could only manage a couple of spoonfuls of it. Took me most of the week to finish it off.

Le Cordon Wild Bleu Yonder also included canned corned beef with turnips, powdered-egg soufflé (which never fell because it never rose), chickenless stewed chicken and tooth powder cake (tooth powder made the cake rise), for which I will be pleased and proud to offer recipes if there is an overwhelming demand for them.

I do not do Le Cordon Wild Bleu Yonder at home. Dody says I am cooked out.

 

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