Jacques Pépin's Fast Food
December 26, 2008 9:58 PM   Subscribe

Jacques Pépin has a sequel called More Fast Food My Way to his popular Fast Food My Way. Alot of episodes of More Fast Food My Way are online in their entirety and what episodes aren't online have excerpted one minute recipes. If that isn't enough cooking goodness videos exist online of most of the recipes in Fast Food My Way.
posted by Kattullus (29 comments total) 107 users marked this as a favorite
I loved Fast Food My Way. I would say it even changed my cooking philosophy. You made my day!
posted by Foam Pants at 10:02 PM on December 26, 2008

From Jacques Pépin I have learned how to quickly cut up a whole chicken raw or cooked; I never buy chicken parts anymore- the whole chickens fall apart in about a minute and a half. How to core, peel and slice apples with a paring knife (you cut a conical bit out of each end by rotating the apple around the knife, then slice it in half and and do the same motion on the core in each half). How to make nearly fat-free pan gravy after roasting a bird. His old-fashioned notion of building skills up from basic techniques that become second nature is really appealing to me.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 11:01 PM on December 26, 2008

I learned that you can still make something tasty out of all those hard nubs of cheese in your fridge.
posted by furtive at 11:08 PM on December 26, 2008

Those one minute recipes are great! They remind me of Bittman's 101 10-minute meals.

The more I cook the more I appreciate recipes that are little more than guidelines. "Throw these ingredients together. Do this process. Heat this way. Serve." It's jazz cooking! (As opposed to classical cooking, where each "note" is specified.) To me, a good cook is less of a performer and more of a composer.

This "cooking as music-making" metaphor can be extended further. The beginner cook should first learn how to hold and play the instrument; that is, basic knife skills and the different ways to apply heat. Then one should progress on to very simple tunes; how to boil an egg, how to bake a potato, etc. Then one learns how to play simple harmonies; recipes with three ingredients. After that, more complex harmonies involving unusual combinations of ingredients. One should practice some basic standards; roast beef, quiche, duck a l'orange... whatever your musical sensibility tells you is a "standard". And then one should start to improvise.

Often now when I want to cook a dish I've never tried before I search the web for recipes. I read a half dozen or so recipes to get the "theme and variations", then improvise around these.

One day I'll write "one minute cookbook" explaining all this.

Maybe I just did.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:43 PM on December 26, 2008 [9 favorites]

His approach is great; but still--Fast Food My Way?

That would require Wendy's delivery.
posted by sourwookie at 12:06 AM on December 27, 2008

Alot of episodes of More Fast Food My Way are online in their entirety
Alot of episodes of More Fast Food My Way
Alot of episodes

posted by LogicalDash at 12:34 AM on December 27, 2008

Great post, Kattullus! I was not familiar with Mr. Pepin at all, but the show looks very interesting.
posted by Harald74 at 1:01 AM on December 27, 2008

Love me some Mssr. Pepin. I'll always adore the last episodes of Julia Childs' show where he kind of filled in and helped her out.
posted by bardic at 1:08 AM on December 27, 2008

Thanks for the links.

"(born December 18, 1935) is a French chef working in the United States. Pépin was born in Bourg-en-Bresse near Lyon, and began cooking in his parents' restaurant, Le Pelican, at the age of 12. He went on to work in Paris, training under Lucien Diat at the Plaza Athénée. He eventually served as a personal chef for Charles de Gaulle and two other French premiers"...>(bold mine)

I like this especially: Upon immigration to the United States in 1959, Pépin turned down a job offer at the Kennedy White House, and instead accepted a position as the director of research and new development for the Howard Johnson chain of hotels.

I'm glad that he was a chef before there was a category of "celebrity chef" He demonstrates an understanding of how food and culture relate. He was a cook first and a chef later, and later still a media figure, and I think that's important.

Chefs, in modern tv land like Bobby Flay, Rachel Ray, Rocco DiSpirito, and "Chef" Ramsay, are in short, personalities weilding spoons.

I'm a bit of a foodie, and in my opinion he is the best chef, nevermind celebrity chef, alive.*
His book The Apprentice: My Life In The Kitchen is a great read.

*Thomas Keller seems to be popular amongst chefs and critics alike though.

Also whatever Mario Batali makes results in me salivating.
posted by vapidave at 2:54 AM on December 27, 2008 [2 favorites]

Chefs, in modern tv land like Bobby Flay, Rachel Ray, Rocco DiSpirito, and "Chef" Ramsay, are in short, personalities weilding spoons.

One of these chefs is not like the others. One of these chefs has fourteen Michelin stars. The fact that he has a personality that works on TV shouldn't get him lumped along with people like Rachel Ray who can't actually cook.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:13 AM on December 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

I will graciously defer, but ask why is he not cooking? Seems odd to me.
posted by vapidave at 3:28 AM on December 27, 2008

And thanks for the info, I would have not known.
posted by vapidave at 3:38 AM on December 27, 2008

Jacques Pépin is a great chef and one of the greatest teachers of fine cooking. Cookbooks hit the remainder bins pretty quickly. If you ever find one of his there, no matter which one it is, I recommend picking it up.
posted by caddis at 5:28 AM on December 27, 2008

Yes, good God, Rachel Ray and Gordon Ramsay in the same sentence? Puh-lease.

He's an ass, but he can cook.
posted by unSane at 5:30 AM on December 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

I will graciously defer, but ask why is he not cooking? Seems odd to me.

I think I read somewhere that Ramsay was getting a little bored and wanted to do something different. Just because you're good at something, doesn't mean you have to do it your whole life.

That being said, I really like Pepin's Fast Food show. But I really love the old show when he would end each episode eating with his daughter. He made some out of this world fancy stuff which I would never make at home. But somewhere in there I learned some techniques and information about food in general that helped me cook much simpler dishes at home.
posted by bluefly at 5:40 AM on December 27, 2008

Oh.My.God. He has a no-knead bread recipe that looks even simpler than the NY Times original or the Cook's Illustrated revision (see 2:05 to 5:25). Stir up everything in one non-stick pot, let it sit for 60-90 minutes, "break" it, stick it in the fridge overnight for slow proofing, then bake at 400 for 40 minutes, let cool, dump out of pot.
posted by maudlin at 5:57 AM on December 27, 2008 [3 favorites]

I will graciously defer, but ask why is he not cooking? Seems odd to me.

I don't think it's all that odd for someone of his caliber. I doubt very much that you'll find Ducasse or Robuchon cooking as you seem to define it.
posted by barkingpumpkin at 7:54 AM on December 27, 2008

Dang, I seem to have encountered the whole Ramsay clan here.
I'm sincerely sorry for the derail.

Now on to Jacques Pepin again I hope.
posted by vapidave at 9:12 AM on December 27, 2008

YAY -- a Jacques Pepin thread! I bought Mr. Psho the first "Fast Food My Way" for Christmas this year!

Here's how we spend our Saturday mornings:

:: Watch Jacques (we love it when he messes up a bit and just gives us a Gallic shrug), then

:: America's Test Kitchen, featuring Chris Kimball, the Food Nerd (and I agree with the commenter who was quoted in the NYT: "He and Bridget are totally doing it!")

:: Cook's Country, even though it seems as if recipes are migrating from the ATK web site onto Cook's Country, where you need yet ANOTHER log in to access them... grrrr.

:: Joanne Weir, if only to laugh at her as she berates her "students"

:: ChefClass, with the crazy rocknroll theme each time a Chef is introduced ("WAAAH WAA WAA WAAAH WAA WAAAH WAAAAAAH...") -- and the students look so bored as they doodle in their notebooks

:: Jose, Made in Spain, if just for the music (although is apples in wine dessert in quite tasty) Jose -- make that soundtrack CD available!

I make Mr. Psho watch whatever Gordon Ramsay is doing. I especially enjoy the gratutious "take off the shirt and put on the chef's whites" in nearly every episode. I was annoyed to read about Ramsay's alleged extra-curricular activities, however.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 4:17 PM on December 27, 2008

Well, no, vapidave. People who actually know food can tell who else knows food. If you've ever watched any of Ramsay's shows it's quite obvious that he knows food, and how to cook. What's nice about Ramsay is that when it comes to food, he is completely without pretense. He finds goodness in something as simple as fish and chips, and he wouldn't try to frilly it up with unnecessary sauces or ingredients. Just because it's not haute cuisine doesn't mean it's not good.

So, either you lied about being a foodie, and know nothing about food, or you know absolutely nothing about Ramsay and shouldn't be making such judgements.

I always liked Pepin's shows as well. And as was mentioned, the emphasis on technique to be learned as a part of a skill set to other cooking is great. I also eat my apples with black pepper now. mmmmm
posted by Eekacat at 4:25 PM on December 27, 2008

I just watched two episodes and made the clafoutis (subbed peaches for the apricots, and forgot the sour cream even though I bought it specifically for this recipe). It turned out great. I've also got the 'bread in a pot' sitting in the fridge right now, thanks for the tip maudlin!.

I'm very tempted to start a "cooking with Jacques" blog ;) it's a little more... attainable... than the french laundry stuff.
posted by lowlife at 4:54 PM on December 27, 2008


* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1 can (8.25 ounces) apricot halves in syrup
* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 3 large eggs
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* 1/4 cup sour cream
* 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar

Oh -- clafoutis -- as in plural -- as in substantially more fat and sugar than Julia Child' s recipe.

But I love my Jacques, so I will no have choice but to try it his way soon.

(So tell us how the bread turns out tomorrow, lowlife.)
posted by maudlin at 5:56 PM on December 27, 2008

I ate at the French Laundry a couple of years after he started, and it wasn't some kind of unapproachable foodie stuff like it sounds like it's become. It was great food in a great environment. There wasn't a salt course like what I hear there is now. It wasn't about smears of flavor on a plate. It was about a great multi-course dinner. It was a great experience then. Too bad it seems to be about pretentiousness now. I wish I was famous enough to compare my experience then with what it's become now.
posted by Eekacat at 6:24 PM on December 27, 2008

I love Jacques Pepin, and every time his name is mentioned I repeat it in my head in an outrageous French accent.

I always attempt his blazing fast garlic chopping-smushing-wiping thing but then just go for the garlic press.

My only quip against him is that most of his recipes, while done with an exuberant attitude of "Hey, pull some leftovers out of your fridge, and with a little know how, you can cook anything! Be fearless!"* more often than not call for rather expensive ingredients.

Regardless, I'm happy to know some PBS cooking show makes online content freely accessible (I'm glaring at you Test Kitchen!)

*italics indicate crazy fake french accent
posted by fontophilic at 10:53 PM on December 27, 2008

My goodness, do I love Jacques Pepin. I discovered him initially on 'Julia and Jacques: cooking at home' and eventually read The Apprentice, and own many of his cookbooks.

To my thinking, there is nobody else beside Julia Child who has done so much in the name of educating and inspiring the chef at home. He's an artist, scholar and gentleman; a true national treasure.
posted by pianoboy at 11:03 PM on December 27, 2008

As requested, a follow-up on the bread.

Because I can't leave things alone, I subbed one cup of all purpose flour with wholewheat. I prepped the recipe in too small a pot, so the dough exploded out of the pot during the first rise. Twice. I transferred everything into a large pot for the time the dough was to sit in the fridge.

After around 14 hours in the fridge I baked it off this morning, but failed to remove it from the pot quickly enough, so I think it retained a lot more moisture than it should have. Overall, I think it turned out pretty well. Maybe a bit too much yeast (large bubbles, kind of cake-y). It's not like I'm going to throw it out or anything though.

I'll have to try again next weekend ;)
posted by lowlife at 9:30 AM on December 28, 2008

This is awesome stuff. Thanks for turning me on to this, Kattullus!
posted by Snyder at 10:26 AM on December 28, 2008

Oh -- clafoutis -- as in plural

? "clafoutis" is singular.
posted by kenko at 6:26 PM on December 30, 2008

Sounds almost foccacia-like, lowlife. When I saw Pepin's loaf, it reminded me of the foccacia with sun dried tomatoes that I used to get at a local farmer's market.

(kenko, I'm French. I know clafoutis is singular, but given that this recipe is richer, it was just a joke.)
posted by maudlin at 9:24 PM on December 30, 2008

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