Thursday, October 18, 2012

Les Cornichons

The Littlest loves pickles, les cornichons to be exact. The small, curved baby pickles dotted with rough alligator skin bobbing along happily in a glass jar, usually with onions. Here in France every jar comes with a handy filter/serving tray inside to push down all the brine and spices leaving only translucent onions and gnarled pickles at the top. Some even feature a jagged edge along the handle for you to rest on the side of the jar when you've reached perfect pickle removal level. This comes in handy as the jar is emptied. Which ours usually are in a flash.

Being that cornichons are a favorite Littlest snack and must be sliced and added to any and every sandwich made in this house, I was thrilled to see a handy little trick on Real Simple the other day. They are always full of such good ideas. They suggested chopping the cornichons up finely and then mixing them into soft, salted butter to spread on baguette. It works on any sandwich bread as I have come to learn, with delicious results.
{Levi Brown, Real Simple}

Theirs was a crusty slab of baguette open-faced with salami folded over and layered on top. I started chopping, mixing and spreading straight away and had my own salami, buttery pickle spread baguette by lunch time.
The Littlest, of course, loved it. This is the only way to make sandwiches for him these days. He will eat the buttery pickles off of the bread, licking them really, and leaving hollowed and soggy baguette behind.

Today he is home sick. A sad and coughing Littlest, with purple smudges under his big, blue eyes, insulted by the added injury prescribed by the doctor in the form of suppositories. I'm sorry darling, it's just the French way. We have to take the good with the bad and boy do you love those pickles!

I made him tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich, cornichons sliced thin and tucked inside, stuck and melted into the square of yellow cheese. This was my mother's go-to home sick lunch and it makes me feel good to watch him eat it.

I sat there nursing my tea, looking on as he swam the triangle of sandwich like a 'shawk' in his sea of tomato soup, chomping down the bites. I didn't mind wiping the orangey red soup from his fat hands as he devoured three of the four shark tails. When a couple of les cornichons fell out into the bowl, he fished them out with his spoon. 'I got it!' Hooray!

Full and warmed up, he's sleeping now, already on the mend, I can tell.

Ma Fille sang a popular French song for her school spectacle last year, Les Cornichons. I thought you might like to see this version. Try the pickles and butter. And don't mind if your fingers get a bit messy if you have to dip them into some tomato soup every once in awhile.


  1. So truly beautifully written, Aidan. Such joy in the simplest moments--they are the best! Merci, this made my morning.

  2. Aww poor little mite. I hope he gets better soon. Did he really have to take his medicine in supo form? That just adds insult to injury. I think I requested alternative medication after the boys left babyhood. They didn't like them at all (and frankly I didn't like administering them...).

  3. Sorry to hear your littlest is not feeling well; hope he is better soon. I love cornichons too. Have a great day.

  4. Bonjour Aidan-- Love me some cornichons with la Raclette on a cold winter day! :-) Your kids have excellent taste. I wonder if cornichons would make a tasty after school snack once spread on a slice of baguette covered with Nutella?! Hmmm... Maybe your Littlest would like to give it a try once he feels better? Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  5. Wishing the Littlest a speedy recovery!

  6. Oh! Poor littlest. My littlest has been so sick all week, she won't eat a thing. I wonder if I can tempt her with tomato soup and cornichons? Hope your little guy gets well soon!

  7. My mommy heart breaks when the little ones get sick...awww.
    I love pickles and eat them straight from the jar. They are good with butter, or mayo, or ketchup, or mustard...just about anything!

  8. Hope you're feeling better today, Littlest. Hope those cornichons did their job (and all the other delights Mommy made for you). x xx

  9. I hope he is feeling better today. I'm amazed that after 8 years here none of us have ever been prescribed suppositories - he he he!

  10. Poor little kitten. What is it with the French and medicine up the bum? Very strange really. I prefer the English, "Down the Hatch" method!

  11. I remember going to Paris with my parents when I was 9 and having a delicoius 'sanduìch jambon cornichons' in a little bistrot: it was love at first sight!


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