Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Kitchen Lunch in Paris

There are only two rooms in my home in which I'd have no problem going modern, and those would be the kitchen and the bathroom. I actually like kitchens that look clinical and a little antiseptic. Those 1930s kitchens that were white and chrome and spartan looking? I especially love those. But I'm starting to change my mind just a bit thanks to the photo above. It's a kitchen in Paris that was photographed in 1970. I think it's the most charming looking kitchen. This photo made me realize that I miss traditional, decorated kitchens.

The photo above, which showed the Paris kitchen of American-born Beatrice Howell Dabney, accompanied a magazine article on lunches served in one's kitchen. Dabney was quoted as saying, "I'm one of those who believe you must not take the food to the dining room but the dining room to the kitchen." While I personally don't think it's appropriate to host formal dinners or lunches in the kitchen, it's perfectly acceptable to serve a casual lunch or dinner there, especially if one's kitchen looks like that of Mrs. Dabney. That said, if you live in warm climates, you might want to nix dining in the kitchen unless you're serving a cold lunch or supper. The heat that the oven throws off might make kitchen dining a tad bit uncomfortable during the summer.

Mrs. Dabney liked to serve simple yet tasty meals, and she created the menu below for her kitchen lunch in Paris. This being the 1970s, her lunches were preceded by preprandial drinks including Champagne Cocktail (recipe below), Pernod on the rocks, or Dubonnet served either straight up or mixed with dry vermouth. I must say that the drinks also sound quite tasty, but if I were to indulge, a postprandial nap would be in order for me.

Mrs. Beatrice Dabney's Lunch in Paris

Finnan Haddie Souffle
Grilled Chicken Diable
Wine: Château du Nozet
Green Salad
Fromage Coulommiers

Grilled Chicken Diable
2 lb broiling chicken
4 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 cups fresh white bread crumbs

Split chicken in half lengthwise. Spread both sides with Dijon mustard, then pat bread crumbs into both sides. Preheat broiler. Place chicken, skin side up, on a grill over a roasting pan about 8 inches below the heat. Broil about 15 minutes, until skin side is fairly brown, turn, and broil 10-15 minutes longer, until chicken is cooked. Serves 2.

Champagne Cocktail
Soak 2 small sugar cubes, one in Benedictine, one in crème de cacao. Place them in the bottom of a champagne flute and fill with chilled Bollinger Brut or Extra Dry Champagne.

Recipes and photo from House & Garden, March 1970


  1. Congratulations!
    You were already on my "favorite blog" list....
    just added you to my Pinterest page Sylvie's Bric-a brac which means :knick-knacks " in french.
    Again felicitations !! Best Sylvie

  2. Congrats you were already on my " favorite blog" list...just added you to my pinterest page
    Sylvie's Bric-a-brac which means in french knick knacks
    again Felicitations!!