The movie Julie & Julia is about to take the country by storm. One frustrated young secretary took on the crazy task of cooking her way through the formidable Mastering the Art of French Cooking in the course of a year. Julie Powell didn't pick an easy book, or a short book, or a hot-chef-of-the-moment book—she picked Julia Child's masterpiece. And the recipe that launched the project was the very first recipe in Julia's opus, Potage Parmentier, which is leek or onion and potato soup. Here's how she describes her initial endeavor in the book Julie & Julia:
“First you peel a couple of potatoes and slice them up. Slice some leeks, rinse them a couple of times to get rid of the grit—leeks are muddy little suckers. Throw these two ingredients in a pot with some water and some salt. Simmer it for 45 minutes or so, then either 'mash the vegetables in the soup with a fork' or pass them through a food mill. I didn't have a food mill. And I wasn't about to mash up vegetables with a fork. What I had was a potato ricer.”
“Something as simple as the right tool turned a bowl of simple potato soup into something amazing, and something as simple as an amazing bowl of soup turned a young woman into a cook.”
Julia warns that a food processor will turn the soup into “something un-French and monotonous.” The ricer saves the day brilliantly—the soup ends up with “wonderful little bits” of leek and potato, and gorgeous texture instead of being utterly smooth. “And it was good—inexplicably good."
Something as simple as the right tool turned a bowl of simple potato soup into something amazing, and something as simple as an amazing bowl of soup turned a young woman into a cook. Having the right tools can mean the difference between felling confident enough to attempt new feats in the kitchen, and just making do.
OXO was founded in 1990 with the mission of creating tools that make everyday living easier. It has since introduced over 850 household tools, each based on the philosophy of Universal Design, which takes as many needs as possible into consideration in the design process. The result is a product that is easy—and even fun—to use by the widest spectrum of people—young and old, male and female, lefties and righties, and aspiring gourmands like Julie Powell.
For OXO, the principles of Universal Design mean tools with pressure absorbing, non-slip handles that ease the monotony of everyday tasks; a salad spinner that can be used with one hand, inspired by a spinning top; and a potato ricer with a non-slip knob to hold it steady on any pot or bowl that has the power to turn a simple dinner into a culinary masterpiece.
So, we hope you'll get into the kitchen with the right tools at hand. Start with the one that started it all!
Potage Parmentier (Leek or Onion and Potato Soup) by Julia Child
Julia says: “Leek and potato soup smells good, tastes good, and is simplicity itself to make. It is also versatile as a soup base; add watercress and you have watercress soup, or stir in cream and chill it for a vichyssoise. To change the formula a bit, add carrots, string beans, cauliflower, broccoli, or anything else you think would go with it, and vary the proportions as you wish.”
Try it with the OXO Good Grips Potato Ricer
For the full assortment of OXO tools, click here.