To say cooking is in Karen Stoeckley’s blood is an understatement. You can now add writing to the mix.
The owner of the Eagle’s Nest bed and breakfast and Josephine’s Bakery in Louisiana had a grandfather who cooked in Europe in a classic French-Italian style and she wanted to trace it the best way she could.
Now she has in a new book called “A Culinary Legacy, From Escoffier to Today.” The book written in conjunction with Max Callegari came after two lengthy stays in the southern French village where he is a chef, Les Arcs sur Argens.
Stoeckley was referred to Callegari and they sat together several times a week translating recipes that she had found in her grandparents’ garage years ago.
Stoeckley and Callegari soon realized the recipes from her grandfather, Axel Blumensaadt, were based on those of the famous Auguste Escoffier.
“He was the chef of kings and the king of chefs,” Stoeckley said. “There were no measurements, no procedures, just ingredients.
“We made them available for today with basic kitchen knowledge” and a lot of hard work. “There was a lot of frustration with the recipes that didn’t work out but a lot of joy,” with those that made the book.
The book also includes history of her grandfather’s culinary career and information on the village with photographs of its rustic buildings and the food they cooked in them.
“It’s an old medieval village and a new village but its untarnished in the medieval part,” Stoeckley said. “It’s a myth that the French are rude. Maybe they are a bit in Paris, but no ruder than in New York City.”
In Les Arcs sur Argens, “they are really, truly lovely people,” Stoeckley said. “They are more private than we are but they are kind and considerate and very grateful for what America did for them during World War II.”
While the town and Blumensaadt are well represented in the book, it is dominated by the recipes.
“We didn’t know what would be popular or not but we felt if we liked it, it went in,” Stoeckley said.
The dishes range from a Basque-style chicken to a zucchini souffle.
Now Stoeckley is hoping to return to the village and she will write another book whether that happens or not.
“The next book will be kind a look on life in the village with thumbnails of people and incidents,” Stoeckley said.
“I haven’t changed names to protect the innocent.
“It will probably be an amalgamation of my three years over there with some recipes but it’s not about cooking per se.”
You can find out plenty about cooking in the most recent book. It is available at the Eagle’s Nest Winery and through Acclaim Press of Sikeston. You can find it by calling 1-877-427-2665 or on the publisher’s website at www.acclaimpress.com. It is also available on Amazon.com.
In addition, Stoeckley will be signing copies of the book at a special reception open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 14 at the Eagle’s Nest, 211 Georgia Street in Louisiana.