Watch 26 Free Episodes of Jacques Pépin’s TV Show, More Fast Food My Way

You need nev­er endeav­or to make any of the recipes world renowned chef Jacques Pépin pro­duced on cam­era in his 2008 series More Fast Food My Way.

The help­ful hints he toss­es off dur­ing each half hour episode more than jus­ti­fy a view­ing.

The menu for the episode titled “The Egg First!,” above, includes Red Pep­per DipAspara­gus Fans with Mus­tard Sauce, Scal­lops Grenobloise, Pota­to Gratin with Cream, and Jam Tartines with Fruit Sher­bet so sim­ple, a child could make it (pro­vid­ed they’re set up with good qual­i­ty pound­cake in advance.)

Deli­cious… espe­cial­ly when pre­pared by a culi­nary mas­ter Julia Child laud­ed as “the best chef in Amer­i­ca.”

And he’s def­i­nite­ly not stingy with mat­ter-of-fact advice on how to peel aspara­gus, pota­toes and hard boiled egg, grate fresh nut­meg with a knife, and dress up store bought mayo any num­ber of ways.

His recipes (some avail­able online here) are well suit­ed to the cur­rent moment. The ingre­di­ents aren’t too dif­fi­cult to pro­cure, and each episode begins with a fast, easy dish that can be explained in a minute, such as Mini Cro­ques-Mon­sieurAsian Chick­en Liv­ers, or Basil Cheese Dip.

Many of the dish­es harken to his child­hood in World War II-era Lyon:

When we were kids, before going to school, my two broth­ers and I would go to the mar­ket with my moth­er in the morn­ing. She had a lit­tle restau­rant… There was no car, so we walked to the market—about half a mile away—and she bought, on the way back, a case of mush­rooms which was get­ting dark so she knew the guy had to sell it, so she’d try to get it for half price… She did­n’t have a refrig­er­a­tor. She had an ice box: that’s a block of ice in a cab­i­net. In there she’d have a cou­ple of chick­ens or meat for the day. It had to be fin­ished at the end of the day because she could­n’t keep it. And the day after we’d go to the mar­ket again. So every­thing was local, every­thing was fresh, every­thing was organ­ic. I always say my moth­er was an organ­ic gar­den­er, but of course, the word ‘organ­ic’ did not exist. But chem­i­cal fer­til­iz­er did not exist either.

If you have been spend­ing a lot of time by your­self, some of the episode themes may leave a lump in your throat—Din­ner Par­ty Spe­cialGame Day Pres­sure, and Pop Over Any­time, which shows how to draw on pantry sta­ples and con­ve­nience foods to “take the stress out of vis­i­tors pop­ping in.”

The soon to be 85-year-old Pépin (Hap­py Birth­day Decem­ber 18, Chef!) spoke to Zagat ear­li­er about the pandemic’s effect on the restau­rant indus­try, how we can sup­port one anoth­er, and the beau­ty of home cooked meals:

People—good chefs—are won­der­ing how they will pay their rent. It is such a ter­ri­ble feel­ing to have to let your employ­ees go. In a kitchen, or a restau­rant, we are like a fam­i­ly, so it is painful to sep­a­rate or say good­bye. That said, it is impor­tant to be opti­mistic. This is not going to last for­ev­er.

Depend­ing on where you are, per­haps this is a chance to recon­nect with the land, with farm­ers, with the sources of food and cook­ing. This is a good time to plant a gar­den. And gar­den­ing can be very med­i­ta­tive. Grow­ing food is not just for the food, but this process helps us to recon­nect with who we are, why we love food, and why we love cook­ing. With this time, cook at home. Cook for your neigh­bor and drop the food off. Please your fam­i­ly and your friends and your own palate with food, for your­self. This is not always easy for a chef with the pres­sure of run­ning a restau­rant. Cook­ing is ther­a­peu­tic…

Many peo­ple now are begin­ning to suf­fer eco­nom­i­cal­ly. But if you can afford it, order take-out, and buy extra for your neigh­bors. If you can afford it, leave a very large tip. Think about the servers and dish­wash­ers and cooks that may not be able to pay their rent this month. If you can be more gen­er­ous than usu­al, that would be a good idea. We need to do every­thing we can to keep these restau­rants in our com­mu­ni­ties alive.

…this moment is a reassess­ment and re-adjust­ment of our lives. Some good things may come of it. We may have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to get clos­er to one anoth­er, to sit as a fam­i­ly togeth­er at the table, not one or two nights a week, but sev­en! We may not see our friends, but we may talk on the phone more than before. Cer­tain­ly, with our wives and chil­dren we will be cre­at­ing new bonds. We will all be cook­ing more, even me. This may be the oppor­tu­ni­ty to extend your palate, and to get your kids excit­ed about cook­ing and cook­ing with you.

Watch a playlist of Jacques Pépin: More Fast Food My Way (they’re all embed­ded below) cour­tesy of KQED Pub­lic Tele­vi­sion, which has also shared a num­ber of free down­load­able recipes from the pro­gram here.

Atten­tion last minute hol­i­day shop­pers: the com­pan­ion cook­book would make a love­ly gift for the chef in your life (pos­si­bly your­self.)

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Julia Child Marathon: 201 Episodes of “The French Chef” Stream­ing Free (for a Lim­it­ed Time)

53 New York Times Videos Teach Essen­tial Cook­ing Tech­niques: From Poach­ing Eggs to Shuck­ing Oys­ters

His­toric Mex­i­can Recipes Are Now Avail­able as Free Dig­i­tal Cook­books: Get Start­ed With Dessert

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine. She most recent­ly appeared as a French Cana­di­an bear who trav­els to New York City in search of food and mean­ing in Greg Kotis’ short film, L’Ourse.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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