Arnaud’s tight-knit group of friends sprang from the mothers who watched their high-school-age daughters play volleyball. They’ve gotten together just about every Wednesday for the past six years to spend the happy hour at various Bethesda hangouts.
Do the mother and daughter remind their friends of the women Guiliano wrote about?
“Of course!” says Christine Henck, a Bethesda massage therapist. “But you know, it’s okay. I think a lot of it’s good genes. Otherwise, it would be very unfair.”
More unfairness: Arnaud doesn’t read cookbooks or consult recipes. She’s a natural, inspired by seasonal ingredients and the pots of rosemary, tarragon, chives, oregano and sage on the backyard deck. But she does have some tried-and-true methods she’s glad to share. She preps bouquets garnis, large and small, and pops them in a freezer bag to use year-round. She chops by hand; it’s a workout, she says. She buys only olives that are cracked, because she says the pits add flavor. She keeps a jar of snowy white duck fat on hand and orders duck legs through the meat department at Giant.
Whatever she does is wonderful, Henck says. “But it can be dangerous. We’ll be standing in the kitchen, and then a fabulous Caesar salad will come out, and incredible cheeses. The wine is flowing . . . and the next thing you know, it’s 2 o’clock in the morning. On a weeknight!”
Dining late into the night. Having bread with every meal, and cheese at the end of every meal. Hmm.
When asked about the reasons she and her daughter can cook that way and eat that way and not get fat, Arnaud shrugs.
“We don’t eat between meals,” she says. “We’re very active. We don’t watch TV very much. We don’t eat processed food. We don’t fry. We eat very little sugar.”
It’s all in the book.
Fondant de CanardWith Potatoes au Gratin (Duck LegsWith Gratineed Potatoes)
Olive Chicken Provencal