The World's Greatest Dish

In the 1970s Craig Claiborne was the New York Times food writer and he reigned supreme. It meant that when he published a recipe and called it the world's greatest dish, that was the gospel, especially in the suburbs surrounding New York City.

My mom was a cook and an entertainer. She also needed to keep up to five kids occupied on a Saturday. We had the independence earned of children of the 1970s and could certainly find things to do, but food was an important enough part of our lives that we signed on to help with preparations. We also knew that it would result in a fabulous dinner. We also subscribed to the religion of Claiborne.

The recipe for coulibiac de salmon is now available in digital form, as well as his description of it. The primary ingredients are salmon, mushrooms and rice crepes wrapped inside brioche dough. There's no timeline on the recipe, but I remember it taking my mom all day to prepare and assemble. I'm not sure what parts we helped with, but maybe it was just to provide moral support and stay out of the way.

When the dish was finally served, it was good, but not all-day-prep-required good. Claiborne was an early food influncer and I wonder how many other households were baking salmon encased in brioche that Saturday.

Jeffrey L Cohen

Jeffrey L Cohen