While in New Hampshire, I wandered into a consignment shop in Amherst, NH and purchased Dione Lucas's The Cordon Bleu Cook Book (the front page says 1951, but it is copyright 1947, reprinted 1954. Who knows?). Complete with Phoebe Nicol's drawings, the book opens with the following words: "To most of us, the Blue Ribbon connotes outstanding achievement in many fields. We associate it, perhaps, with a beautiful painting in an exhibition, a prize-winning novel, or as reward to an individual for unusual merit in his sphere of work. The Blue Ribbon, or Cordon Bleu, is of special significance to those who know and enjoy good food. This diploma, highest award in Europe for cooking, is desired and cherished by all who work to earn it" (p. vii). The focus of the book, of course, is on classic French food; what was once a term focused on French noblemen is, now, of course, a term of approbation for food, chefs, cooking. (For a definition of cordon bleu, click here.) Dione Lucas is, in part, responsible for my knowing this --as an early-ish proponent of French food in the U.S. -- and of a cooking school which spread that word. Indeed, she came before Julia Child, who I always thought invented cooking shows on television --not to mention the idea of Americans creating French food in their own kitchens as classic French food. I have not cooked from this new addition to my old cookbooks shelf yet -- and may never, but I admit to being attracted by a "Squash and Chestnut Soup" which reminds me of a delightful chestnut soup I had in Paris. And somehow, the idea of a recipe which translates as "Chicken with Cat's Teeth" just cheers me up -- and no, there are absolutely no parts of a cat's anatomy in the recipe. No cat gut (isn't that for stringed instruments?). No teeth at all. My suspicion: the almonds are the teeth!