The four seasons define our way of cooking and describe the style of our dishes. Following the slow food principles we like to think in seasonal products, and try to find locally produced ingredients that still allow us to vary in recipes especially from around Europe. Antonio Vivaldi is a true inspiration for us, and apart from all those endless music libraries we find online, his timeless pieces have always been a valid starter for a relaxed home office day. Born in Venice, he was a composer, virtuoso violinist, teacher and cleric, and his influence during his lifetime was widespread across Europe. His best known work „The Four Seasons“ is a set of four violin concertos composed around 1720. A well made piece interpreted in so many ways by now. The texture of each concerto is varied, each resembling its respective season. From quite slower parts to heavy loud parts calling to mind thunderstorms in summer. Vivaldi was one of the strongest Baroque music composers who could translate moods, pictures and feelings in musical form. He created a universal language that impressively communicate movements and conditions of life. We can imagine his patterns as metaphor for the events in our kitchen. Our slow and thorough preparations, the buzz during a peaking day at the market, or the relieve after finishing up a good week. Such as every part in the orchestra has to work accordingly, every hand in the kitchen has to be aligned as well. Every day is a day of practice and we try hard to form a Copper and Wheat orchestra that provides lovely notes in tastful guise.
For those who enjoy BBQ the same as we do, this weeks’ article is dedicated to the meat from bovines. We are talking about cows, bulls, heifers or steers, strong gregarious mammals, which muscles are appreciated as food source in different parts of the world. The beef muscle can be cut into roasts, short ribs or steak. The meat from older cows and bulls is usually tougher, therefore frequently used for mince. Beef is the third most widely consumed meat in the world, accounting for about 25% of meat production worldwide. The United States, Brazil, and China are the world’s three largest consumers. A cow is commonly divided into primal cuts, pieces of meat initially separated from the carcass during butchering. These are basic sections from which steaks and other submissions are cut. Since the animal’s legs and neck muscles do the most work, they are the toughest; the meat becomes more tender as distance from hoof and horn increases. Different countries and cuisines have different cuts and names, and sometimes use the same name for a different cut; e.g. the cut described as „brisket“ in the US is from a significantly different part of the carcass than British brisket. To improve tenderness of beef, it often is aged to allow endogenous proteolytic enzymes to weaken structural and myofibril proteins. Meat from less tender cuts or older cattle can be mechanically tenderized by forcing small, sharp blades through the cuts to disrupt the proteins. There are many different ways to prepare and cook the dry meat, i.e. grilling, barbecue, broiling, griddle, roasting, frying, but also raw beef is relished in countries like France (Tartare de filet de boeuf). Every now and then we serve beef at our food atelier, i.e. using traditional recipes from our family members (Boeuf Bourguignon de l’oncle Hubert) or US style dishes (BBQ Style Brisket) supplemented with our own infusion.
Market places are busy places, you would find vendors yelling and selling, people bargaining, queuing, waiting with watering mouths and eventually watching us, how our craft is being done in our food atelier. Preparation is the most important aspect to keep the level of stress low during a day. The weekly fresh dishes are a result of thorough research, exchange with professionals and inspiration given by friends. Early steps were hard for us, calculating, ordering and purchasing all the ingredients based on bare assumptions. We learned a lot over time, and the knowledge we gained from experience is worth gold. We feel that relationships with suppliers are growing through personal contact and reciprocal fine tuning of processes. Talking about hard fact, let’s take the Chili con Carne, scheduled for week 30. The official dish of the U.S. state of Texas, a recipe that originally consisted of dried beef, suet, dried chili peppers and salt, which were pounded together, formed into bricks and left to dry, which could then be boiled in pots on the trail. We decide on the various meals a month in advance. Concrete preparations start usually a week before, and the kitchen has to be settled Fridays prior to the upcoming week. Since we want to stick to the oldest recipe we could find, we are prone to find just the exact right chilis and beans to get it right! To realize each new dish it needs team work and not just two hands. We are cutting like crazy, and the distribution of tasks has to be chosen wisely. Quite relieved to use professional kitchen utilities by now, it took us some time to forward Copper and Wheat’s philosophy and wisdom to our crew members. Again food is all about communication and exchange, regardless of making, consuming or fantasizing about it.
Quite a few people recognized the golden tins standing in the back of our kitchens, sometimes wondering what „Graisse de Canard“ means. After explaining that these cans contain the duck fat we use for our fries, they are usually keen to know where it originates from. The region is called Périgord, a former province of France, which corresponds roughly to the current Dordogne département, now forming the northern part of the Aquitaine région. It is a beautiful, unspoiled region rich in history and wildlife. The cuisine is known especially for its duck and goose products, such as confit de canard or foie gras, but also considered as the centre for truffles in France. Within the Périgord Noir, one of the four different areas in the region (black, green, white, red) you would find the medieval town of Sarlat. Several large foie gras factories make the place interesting for chefs and kitchens around the world. A truly local produced industry in an environment worth visiting!
Apparently Danes feel forced to subordinate to muslim practices according to the Dansk Folkeparti. In a country where its best self produced meat gets exported, there is truly a good reason for complaining against further treatment to the meat sold by my trustful friend down the Kebab Shop. Halal is dangerous and if not explicitly notified, my friendly chef from the middle east should definitely loose his job. Accepting different religious beliefs is ok, but tolerating the punishing force of the Kebab Shop in my neighborhood is too much. Since the danish culture appears to be weak, DF has to put the beloved meatballs back on the agenda and use them as a metaphor for national freedom. We as Copper and Wheat want to state clear: Meatballs and bacon don’t create any identity in a country, people do! It is about a common life, respect and tolerance. Nobody is forced in this peaceful part of the earth to eat what ever. We have pure drinking water coming out of our taps, an almost infinite choice of culinary varieties from all around the world and we can share this place with other nationalities! If you don’t like Halal, just ask and choose different…maybe even renounce meat from time to time, we know some very good Falafel places!
Our company is founded by french people, two dudes with berets that ride their bicycles with baskets full of baguette to our shop every morning. Of course, Copper and Wheat is a food business that derives from our great food snobbery and french origin – Europe’s if not the worlds’ delicacy center. Most of the people know our beautiful Paris, fashion capital and city of taste – you should come over drink expansive wine, eat snails and frogs in upper class restaurants, but don’t you dare to speak english to us. If you try to get in touch with us during a night out in Paris don’t forget – if I’m not looking at you, you are not really there! Besides disgusting cigarettes, croissants and La Vache qui rit, there are more fun facts about us Frenchies, you just have to talk to people of this world.
Have you ever been in the city of Nantes, close to the Atlantic Coast of France or even stepped a little further off shore to Noirmoutier. This is the place where our salt is from. One island that has always been progressively filled by a combination of human activity and silage. Huge salt fields gained from the sea could be found in ancient roman times, today it is an industry where salt evaporation ponds produce one of the best salts in the world. Shallow artificial ponds designed to extract salts from sea water or other brines. The seawater or brine is fed into large ponds and water is drawn out through natural evaporation which allows the salt to be subsequently harvested. It takes quite some time, but it is a beautiful process and the end product is purely natural…you can really taste it!
To support our goods we sell at Copper and Wheat of course we must inform you about the French Paradox, a phrase used in explaining observations been done in the late 1980s regarding the apparent disconnect between French patterns of high saturated fat consumption and their low rates of heart attacks. Alcohol and fatty foods are commonly considered to be quite health threatening, things that belong to every expanded french meal. You know the deal: Baguette, finest cheese, saucisson and a lot of red wine! Apparently there is a contradiction between scientific theory and real world facts, the paradox is that if the thesis linking saturated fats to coronary heart disease (CHD) is valid, the French people ought to have a higher rate of CHD than comparable countries where the per capita consumption of such fats is lower. Data shows that rates of death from heart disease among males aged 35-74 years were 115 per 100,000 people in the U.S., but only 83 pr 100,000 in France. Surely it does not mean we can dive into fast food and enjoy drinks in a sprawling way, but guess we can agree to the fact that the mediterranean cuisine, which is high in omega-3 oils, well-rounded in fruits, vegetables, herbs and great red wine cannot feel wrong to the human body.
LeDjam Radio If you come closer to our food atelier you will recognize that we are constantly infused by music coming from our boombox inside the kitchen. „LeDjam Radio“ provides us our daily portion of Soul, Funk, Jazz, but also Brazilian rhythm and Reggea. The french web radio was founded in 2005 by Thomas and Julien, two musicians that met at Lycée (Gymnasium) long time ago and simply wanted to create a platform to share playlists with friends. These guys have always been playing in bands and ever since shared the same passion for music with soul, strongly influenced by black legends such as Steve Wonder, James Brown or Bob Marley. Inspired by old videos games the web site provides a playful feature: After one creates an account, you will collect points while listening. The more points the stronger the profile status becomes. Consequently the greater your status the stronger your influence on the daily top 5 songs that are voted over the day and chosen to play after 16:00. This success story spread only by mouth-to-mouth propaganda and is today the biggest web radio in France according to the number of listeners. You should seriously take a listen…www.ledjamradio.com/
As you can read in our name we swear by our kitchen utilities such as the copper pots and pans we use! To give you a little introduction on the means for the taste of our dishes, we really have to consider the copper in our food atelier at stake in this. Brightly burnished copper makes some of the most beautiful and heavy cookware out there. Superior heat conductivity to cook very precisely allowing you to braise and brown foods to perfection. However copper is reactive with acidic foods for instance tomatoes, which can result in copper toxicity. Hence you will find pots and pans lined with either a thin inner layer of tin or stainless steel. Tin wears out easily, and needs to be replaced every few years, whereas stainless steel is more expansive, but durable. If you grant yourself a favor believe us you won’t regret it, just be aware those beauties really require some work to keep them in condition! Frequently polishing is not just pimping up your kitchen, but prevents them from corroding