Friday, July 06, 2012

A Waterloo dinner

(Reposted with slight alterations from my personal blog.)

I've been saying for years, ever since I turned into a Napoleonic Wars military history geek and developed a historical crush on the Duke of Wellington, that I wanted to start hosting an annual Waterloo dinner on or around the battle's June 18 anniversary.

This year I put my money and my kitchen where my mouth was.  Now, I suppose you could do a Waterloo dinner with authentic 1815 foods, and I'd love to attempt such a meal someday...but I went with a Wellington as the main course and a Napoleon (aka a mille-feuille) for dessert, because, really, why wouldn't I?  As a wholly American, wholly non-aristocratic person hosting a Waterloo party, I've got to have my tongue somewhere in my cheek during this process.

Rather than a traditional beef Wellington, I made Alton Brown's Pork Wellington, which is the most delicious thing I've ever cooked myself. And if the Wellington was the best thing I've ever cooked, the Napoleon was the best dessert I've ever bought.  It came from Le Fournil, which is up there on my Seattle recommendations list with Tilth and Serious Pie.

I didn't get any pictures of the Wellington, but here's the Napoleon, accompanied by my desk toy/writing mascot Duke of Wellington:

The chocolate curls on the side got a little messed up in transit from the bakery, but I think you can still tell that's an awesome cake. And those glasses held a lovely, smoky-tasting tawny port.

I plan to continue this dinner in future years.  We were even riffing on the idea of a Waterloo seder, complete with questions like, "Why is this night different from any other night? On all other nights we eat our meat plain or lightly sauced. On this night why do we wrap it in puff pastry?"  Halfway through we'd send someone to the door to look for Blucher and the Prussian army, and Mr. Fraser thinks we should close with a particularly solemn rendition of this song.

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