buche Chez Paul Christmas bûche Chez Paul

A bûche bonanza

Flattery or foolery?

Following publication of my story of Christmas Chez Paul, two of my friends were inspired to culinary artistry of their own.

First up was friend Bob, who reported that he and Carolyn had been moved by my example to make a bûche de noël for a family dinner. "The taste was spectacular," said Bob proudly, and one has to assume that encomia were forthcoming from all in attendance. It was a splendid bûche, indeed, as you can see for yourself.

Bob's buche
Bob's bûche

They say "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," and I therefore feel supremely flattered.

Update: It seems that I was guilty of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Carolyn writes: "I must point out that Bob actually did not copy the Yule Log notion from you. He actually had a recipe that he cut out of a Sunset mag in 1996, and finally brought to light." 1996? I'm sure I have that issue somewhere....

They also say "monkey see, monkey do," and the truth of that saying is no better illustrated than by Jim's follow-up. "Not to be outdone in the dessert category," wrote Jim, "we had to give it a go too," making "a few slight modifications" to recipes found on the web. You can plainly see that Jim's bûche was also a splendid one, although he did say "the taste was not what we expected."

Jim's buche
Jim's bûche

Perhaps Jim's illustrated description of the steps he followed may yield clues to the unexpected taste.

Update: Jim writes, "to give credit where it is due, while I did the pictures and web site, Angela was both the creative and driving force." I should have known.

If anyone else is interested in pursuing this friendly competition, Julia Child (The French Chef Cookbook, show 73, still in print and available from Amazon.com in hardcover, paperback, and DVD) gives detailed instructions for the bûche and suitable woodsy trimmings, including dew-bespecked cobwebs. Be forewarned, however, that in addition to the usual tools and techniques, you will also need "an oiled broom handle," "two chairs," and "plenty of newspapers on the floor."

making mushrooms Julia demonstrates technique required to assemble mushrooms
sifting snow Julia adds a dusting of snow to her bûche