An aromatic cream is one that has been steeped with herbs, peppercorns, and bay leaf for about 20 minutes.
As for weighing to the portion, each person is allocated 3 ounces of potatoes. If you have a banquet of 10 people, you need 30 ounces, or just under 2 pounds of potatoes. If you have a banquet of 100 people, you need 300 ounces, or just under 19 pounds of potatoes. So instead of just throwing some potatoes in a pot, and hoping you have enough, or making too much to insure that everyone has some, it is calculated.
Potatoes all have a different starch content. There is no way to tell exactly while in the grocery store, no thumping them to see. Instead, you need to choose a particular variety that you know to have the starch content you want, like yukon gold, or a yellow waxy potato. Cuisinier has suggested a few other heirloom varieties that make for a beautiful potato.
The starchier the potato, the creamier it feels in the mouth. But I still enjoy a good old earthy tasting russet from time to time.]]>
I am enjoying the addition of your voice and thoughts to the site, and agree that the counterpoint of a behind-the-scenes perspective along with Hillel’s eater’s perspective lends the overal narrative a new balance.
I think I’d benefit as a reader, and perhaps other readers would benefit, if you could explain more of the culinary terms you use, or the practices they describe. I don’t think you have to riddle the text with definitions, or even hyperlinks, but if you elucidated one or two new terms per column I know I’d appreciate it. For example, your brief summary of aromatic cream was exactly the level of detail I’d want, but I don’t know what “weighed to the portion” means. Also, I certainly understand the concept of choosing potatoes by the starch content, but can you give us a clue as to how it’s done?