October 6, 2014
ambroisie de pêche
Ambrosia is the nectar of the gods, or at least that’s how I remember it being described a long time ago in a class dealing with Greek myths. The memory is very faint. It was some time in elementary school. All those gods and their petty grievances made no sense at all to little me. Nor did I understand why an immortal being required food or wine.
Being that I didn’t find the Greeks all that interesting, I hadn’t thought about them or ambrosia until I was served as an amuse‑bouche
a slender, tall glass of “an ambrosia of melon” at La Folie
in San Francisco. My first reaction was, since I abhor the taste or smell of cantaloupe, the most common melon in our area, to just push the glass aside. I didn’t. At least not until I took the teeniest of sips. My dislike of sweet melons was confirmed, but similar to Anton Ego in the movie Ratatouille,
my mind was pulled to my childhood when on rare occasions my mother served a luscious pear or peach nectar instead of the normal, foul‑tasting Donald Duck‑brand frozen orange juice with my breakfast. Luckily, I was spared all the other, less idealistic memories of my childhood that night.
Although, because of the melons, I didn’t like that particular ambrosia that evening, I did like the idea. I went to my bookshelves the next morning looking for an ambrosia recipe. The only mention I found was in the 1938 Larousse Gastronomique, and that was just a definition similar to how this bit of twaddle began. I found no other mention of the term in any of my other Prosper Montagne books, or any of my other cookbooks of that period.
That same morning happened to be that of my weekly farmers market. While purchasing my vegetables for the week, I also picked up a couple of fuzzy, yellow peaches. Later, when I was peeling tomatoes with the aid of boiling water, I dipped the peaches for a 45‑second bath in the remaining water. That made peeling easy. The naked peaches, minus their stones were tossed into my Vitamix, and pureed thoroughly. The result was a bit too thick to drink. (It would have made a nice dessert soup.) I heavily diluted it with a large splash of sweet white wine at a ratio of about one part wine to five parts puree. Because I wasn’t planning to serve the nectar for a few hours, I mixed in a pinch of ascorbic acid as an antioxidant before I transferred the mixture from the Vitamix jar to a small pitcher for chilling and serving.
Partway through the evening, I served my dinner guests (gods) their ambrosia. It was an immortal evening.