Iron Chef: Hyde Park

Illustration by Matthew Elliott

Every winter, Burton-Judson holds its own Iron Chef competition. Resident master Joshua Scodel, the Helen A. Regenstein Professor of English and Comparative Literature, supplies the prompt. Here is this year’s.

The Franco-American Connection

Did you know that on February 11, 1926, the famous French chef Paul Bocuse was born; that on February 11, 1963, the television show premiered that arguably made French cuisine part of American mainstream life, Julia Child’s The French Chef; and that this very same Julia Child provided the motto “America’s Most European Supermarket” for Treasure Island, the supermarket that graces our very own Hyde Park Shopping Center?

Do you realize that on February 11, 1889, the United States Department of Agriculture was raised to cabinet status, presumably in recognition of its importance for the American economy and way of life?

Finally, are you aware that this year is the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts of America?

Can you infer the point of these questions? Don’t they ineluctably suggest that today you should make a delicious meal of three or four dishes with (1) at least one dish indebted to French cooking; and (2) at least one dish using a quintessentially American ingredient; and (3) at least one dish that captures, however obliquely, the true Girl Scout spirit? Dishes combining 1 and/or 2 and/or 3 would, of course, be “vraiment chouette,” “totally awesome,” and (to quote the Girl Scout Law) “courageous” instances of using “resources wisely.”