Archive for October 13th, 2006


Well, J’accuse me!

October 13, 2006

Well, we got through The Life of Emile Zola last night. It was pretty good. It probably should have been called When Emile Almost Met Albert, as it was mostly about Emile Zola trying to get Albert Dreyfus out of jail — Devil’s Island at that! Although, they tragically never met. Great use of foreshadowing on the death scene, too. And Paul Muni’s a great actor. Probably the best performance we’ve seen so far.

I was puzzled that they skipped over the anti-semitism that was really at the center of the Dreyfus Affair. But the focus on the corruption of power–the evil Army officers who stop at nothing to punish opposition and manipulate the public through the use of propaganda was strong. And how they turned the public on a once popular author, one of France’s best, because he dared to oppose the government, fierce. And timely: Didn’t George Clooney just direct this movie last year? Bon Soir et Bonne Chance anyone?

Again I’m trying to think of why this certain movie won best picture. Maybe the subject matter Was. Just. So. Important. However, clearly one of the best of the bests, A Star Is Born, ( the second of 4, the Janet Gaynor/Fredric March one) was nominated that year. Didn’t Hollywood love its own? And it would have been nice to see a color movie for a change. And a chick flick would be a refreshing change of pace. I’m getting a tiny bit sick of all this manly posturing, all this important history crap stuff and all this war, war, war. Sigh, two weeks to Gone With the Wind.

For dinner we went, but of course, French. And of all the recipes I’ve posted and for all the recipes I’ll post in the future, this recipe for Chicken Basque is/will be the best. Because it’s my mom’s.

Chicken Basque

  • 2-3 lbs cut up chicken
  • ½ c flour
  • 1/3 c butter
  • 1 chopped up onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ lb mushrooms sliced
  • 1 28 oz can plum tomatoes w juice
  • 1 cup dry vermouth
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ t basil
  • ½ t thyme


Melt butter in large frying pan. Coat chicken with flour. Brown until golden and crispy. Remove. Brown onions, garlic, mushrooms in drippings until soft and slightly caramelized. Add tomatoes, vermouth,  salt, pepper & herbs. Add chicken back to the pan. Bring to a fast simmer, lower heat and cover one hour or so until tender and oofy. Thicken sauce if desired, but not necessary.

Serve with mashed potatoes.

We also had steamed haricot verts (french green beans). A chocolate gateau from Trader Joe’s. Ooh la la. And a nice red Bordeaux. But not the kids, they had a nice white milk.