“Closed on account of cassoulet”


That is a sign that Prosper Montagné, author of the first Larousse Gastronomique, once saw on a bootmaker’s shop in Carcassone. Every year I follow the bootmaker’s example and cook a birthday cassoulet for around a dozen friends. This Sunday will be my seventy-fifth—birthday, not cassoulet!—and this diary will document the countdown.

Introduction and a bit of history.


To market, to market to buy a fat hog Off to the Borough Market for the basic ingredients.


Authentic cassoulet A wild goose chase!


Down Market The Borough Market is where I do my fun shopping; Mary does the real shopping at Chapel Market near the Angel, Islington.


I shop, therefore I eat. The commercial area of Muswell Hill is rapidly being invaded by trendy delis, but some good old-fashioned shops survive.


The story thus far The various elements have been prepared separately.


Interlude: Vegan Cassoulet The Ultimate Challenge!


Sunday's Cassoulet Menu The Big Day!


The final assembly


The Dénouement


Oysters, too! Absent friends make their presence felt.


Quick cassoulet  Mary's version in Entertaining Single-Handed, adapted from a Cordon Bleu recipe, can be finished in a day. It's so close to my laborious week-long labor of love as to be embarrassing.


Eight years later: Cassoulet Déjà Mange   My oldest friends are gone, but the October Gallery comes to the rescue!



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