Watercress was considered by the ancients to have medicinal and even magical properties. The Romans thought it could cure baldness, the Greeks that it could cure madness and moderate the effects of overindulgence in wine. Dioscorides, a Greek doctor who lived in the first century AD, considered watercress an aphrodisiac. Well, I won’t claim those powers for this soup — although it will, if not heat your body, warm your soul.
Velouté de cresson / Watercress soup
Speaking of aphrodisiacs, if you haven’t yet read Table for One, the story I published this week on Leite’s Culinaria, please take a look. You might find it, ah, stimulating. Also on the literary front, I’d like to mention two recent books worth checking out. The first is The Tin Horse, a novel that veers toward noir by Janice Steinberg (my cousin, who amusingly named some characters after women of our family). Here’s a collection of reviews. The second is The Idiot and the Odyssey II by Joel Stratte-McClure, who as publisher of the 1970s newspaper Paris Metro gave me my first job in journalism. Joel was kind of off-beat then, and now he has taken upon himself to walk clear around the Mediterranean. Here’s a link to an interview he gave about the book. Finally, for all local foodies, the Paris Cookbook Fair is taking place next week at the Caroussel du Louvre. I plan to stop by, and hope to see you there. In the meantime, happy cooking!