Fortunately, the quality of the photograph was inversely related to the quality of the meal: Perhaps the best Friday evening steak supper ever.
Mr. Big Food whipped up Potato Casserole II while I started a fire. (Casserole recipe to follow.) I poured us a Gentleman Jack and he read aloud from The Creative Cooking Course (links after the fold). We learned that brandy is the most noble spirit of them all. And…
To speak of brandy, we have to speak of the most exquisite example of spirits of this type… Cognac. Cognac is unequivocally and universally accepted as the greatest of brandies!
Mr. Big Food grilled the steak to perfection and paired it with a very nice BV Cabernet Savignone. In due time, we enjoyed a V.S.O.P. cognac.
There is no doubt that the drinking of a fine old brandy is one of the most pleasurable ways to climax a meal.
You should serve your brandy in medium-sized, narrow necked glasses called balloons or tulips. Both (especially the balloon) are shaped to deliberately “show off” the fragrance of the brandy.
Warming the brandy before drinking releases the bouquet, but the manner of warming is important to attain full pleasure. Although you may see it done in some restaurants, it is an injustice to warm your brandy over a flame. This will shock the bouquet into rapid dispersal, shortening your enjoyment. Instead, cradle the glass in both hands, “nursing” it and warming it with the warmth of your hands. Within a few minutes, you will no longer feel the glass because it and the brandy will have reached the temperature of your hands. Now you are ready to bury your nose in the matchless aroma, savor the fragrance and then sip.
[V.S.O.P. is Very Special Old Pale, aged for 18-25 years.]
It was a very luxurious grown-up supper which we were able to enjoy in no small part because we try to mind our pennies.
Keep reading for a bit more about the old cookbook, The Creative Cooking Course.
The Creative Cooking Course is really quite a book. The section “Presenting Brandy” is four pages long and includes the history and regional distinctions of cognac, as well as a description of how cognac is made, and how to select cognac and serve brandy, generally.
Creative Cooking is available at Amazon. More on Creative Cooking in Mr. Big Food’s Big Food Manual and Survivalist Flourishing Guidehere.