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Steurder Potatoes

From: Kaiss 
Sent: Sunday, July 30, 2017 10:05 PM
Subject: Steurder Potatoes with Cream and Mace

Uncle Phaedrus, 

I have been reading “My Life in France” by Julia Child, and on page 214 of the book Julia talks about 
Steurder Potatoes with cream and mace.

Julia had just recently moved to Norway with her husband and was learning to cook with the local produce. 
This recipe sounds really exciting and I would dearly love to know how to make it!  I looked for Steurder 
potatoes and found nothing and then Norwegian recipes for potatoes with cream and mace and still found 
nothing.  Can you help?

Very truly yours, 


Hello Kaiss,

The text to which you refer is here:

"My Life In France" by Julia Child -
Aside from my French-cooking research for the book, I began to experiment with local produce. I picked red currants and made batches of jelly, tried gravlax for the first time (delicious served with a dill-cream sauce, and Steurder potatoes with cream and mace), and cooked a ptarmigan and a large European grouse called a capercailzie.
As I hardly knew a soul in Oslo, I got a great deal of work done on The Book that summer.

I approached this three ways:
1) As a potato dish called “Steurder potatoes” which included cream and mace as ingredients. I could not find any potato dish called “Steurder potatoes” or “Steurder _____” – anything. I could not find a potato recipe, Norwegian or otherwise, that had potatoes, cream and mace as primary ingredients. The closest thing that I found is an Irish recipe called “colcannon”, but that is made with half potatoes and half cabbage, cream or milk, mace, and leeks. Not all colcannon recipes call for the mace.
2) As a variety of potato called “Steurder potatoes” which Julia then cooked with cream and mace. I could not find any variety of potato called “Steurder” that is grown in Norway or anywhere else.
3) As a misprint/misspelling in the book. I tried “streuder”, “sturder”, “struder”, and other variations. No success.

Perhaps the dish was one she had eaten in a restaurant called “Steurder's” or a dish that an acquaintance of hers had created and “Steurder” was their name. The wording of the quote above seems to indicate the when she tried gravlax for the first time, it was served with a dill-cream sauce and Steurder potatoes with cream and mace. The whole statement about the sauce and the potatoes is within the parentheses and it may all refer to how she was served gravlax and not to something she cooked herself. It’s not clear whether it was the first time she tasted gravlax or if it was the first time she tried to make a gravlax dish herself. I admit that the comma inside the parentheses after “dill-cream sauce” is bothersome and seems unnecessary, but “Steurder potatoes with cream and mace” being inside the parentheses indicates to me that the potatoes were served with the gravlax.

It seems odd to me that a food writer would mention such a dish in their book and not explain more about what it was, but it’s even odder that there is no record on the Internet of anyone ever having asked her about it or of her explaining it later. Julia Child was a wildly celebrated chef, and “My Life in France” must have been read by millions of people. No one was curious until us?

I will post this for reader input.


Subject: Re: Julia Child's Potatoes, 2017
From: Gretl 
To: Phaedrus 
Date: 6/18/2018 9:08 AM

On 6/18/2018 3:31 AM, Gretl wrote:

My first guess was that "Steurder potatoes with cream and mace" is a
misspelling in the "eu" vs "ue" typographic convention of the letter ü
– but then google-search suggested the spelling "Stuvede kartofler"–
which, when put into google-images turns out a bunch of lovely stewed
potato dishes with creamy sauces. Nutmeg is really common in French
cream sauces, so mace as a variation would not surprise me.


Hi Gretl,

Thank you for writing.

I think that you are on the right track, and this site agrees with what you say: That site states that "Scandinavians love potatoes stewed in cream." and calls them "stuvede kartofler."

Still, I am puzzled about the name Julia Child used - "steurder potatoes," and the mace as an ingredient.

"Stuvede" is Danish for "stewed." Julia was in Oslo, Norway at the time of writing, where her husband was working as a U.S. government employee. Norwegian for "stewed" is "stuet" or "stuede." Norwegian for "stewed potatoes" is "stuede poteter." I could not find any language in which "stewed" is rendered as "steurder," and I checked several, including Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Dutch, French and German. Is there a local dialect in Oslo in which "steurder" is used instead of "stuede?"

I can't imagine someone like Julia Child being so loose with language as to render "stuede" as "stuerder."  "My Life in France" was her last book, and  it was actually completed after her death by her husband's grandnephew, the journalist Alex Prud'homme.  Hard to imagine him being so loose with the language as well. Perhaps he was unfamiliar with the dish and misread her handwriting or misunderstood her dictation?

I suppose it might be a printer's error, but I don't understand why it wasn't caught by someone and corrected if that was the case.

The above referenced article gives a recipe for "stuvede kartofler" that calls for "finely chopped fresh herbs, such as dill, parsley, or chives, or 2 Tablespoons dried herbs," so I guess mace isn't out of the question. although the choice of herb for this dish is Scandinavia is traditionally dill - the Norwegian dish is called "dillstuede poteter."

All that being said, I do believe you are correct and that Julia was referring to potatoes stewed with cream and mace, but my main puzzlement is why the name that Julia used - "steurder potatoes" or "steurder poteter" - does not appear anywhere on the Internet and has apparently never been explained or even questioned. It may seem trivial, but if you search the Internet using keywords as I do, then such a simple thing as a questionable spelling can bring a particular path of research to a standstill.


Sweet Green Mung Bean Soup

From: Liz  
Sent: Thursday, August 03, 2017 2:08 AM
To: Phaedrus 
Subject: recipe request re crockpot sweet soup

Hi There:  I don't know if you still are doing help for recipe searches or not; however, if so I have a request.  
The other day I had a Chinese sweet soup made with some kind of green bean likely dried originally, sugar water 
and made into a sort of hot dessert soup.  Is there a crockpot version for such a soup which may eliminate all 
the pre-soaking of beans and so much boiling of them as there are crockpot recipes for other beans and bean soups?  
Thanks in advance.
regards, Liz 

Hello Liz,

Yes, I’m still doing the recipe searches.

You didn’t give me much to go on with this request, but I think you are talking about Sweet Mung Bean Soup or "Lu Dou Tang". It’s basically just green mung beans, sugar, and water, but there are a lot of variations with additional ingredients.

See these recipes:

Food Mayhem

Coaster Kitchen

Ginger and Cilantro

Eating China

Recipe Bridge

Chinese Sichuan Food

How to cook mung beans in a slow cooker: WikiHow


Ole Tacos' Burritos

From: Bob
Sent: Sunday, July 30, 2017 6:10 PM
Subject: recipe request

in the 70s there was a Grand Rapids, MI fast food chain called Ole Taco. They made 3 types of burritos: 
taco meat. red meat and green meat. they were all delicious and since it closed i've tried to replicate 
the recipes with no success. PLEASE search and find the recipes for these burritos!
Thanks, Bob

Hi Bob,

Sorry, I had no success finding any recipes from Ole Taco. I’ll post this in case a former employee of Ole Taco happens along.

These sites might interest you:

Ole Tacos Restaurant on Facebook

Wet Burritos

Taco Boys


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