When I was but a callow youth growing up in Providence, I got interested in cooking by watching two shows on TV; The French Chef with Julia Child (of course) and The Galloping Gourmet with Graham Kerr. I have vague memories of watching Graham Kerr and thinking what an urbane, entertaining chap he was, telling witty stories and taking us on tours of exotic restaurants in equally exotic locales. I even made my Mom take me to an outlet store in Rhode Island that sold Galloping Gourmet cookware and utensils so I could have a “spurtle” or two in my kitchen and with them be one degree of separation less from The Gourmet himself.
Recently I have noticed that we have a new channel in our cable TV lineup. It is The Cooking Channel and sure enough they are running episodes of the 1960’s vintage Galloping Gourmet. OMG I did laugh when I saw just how tacky his “sophisticated” (not gay at all) gentleman’s “pad” was with it’s crossed swords and shield wall decor, the red lampshades, the faux brick walls, the flocked wallpaper and the “contemporary” furniture right out of The Jetsons. He also sat at the bar in this set, drank a glass of wine and smoked a cigarette while telling his amusing anecdote for the studio audience! Nuts! The dishes he makes on the show are right out of the time machine as well; all esoteric, peculiar foods or the venerable classics served in those old oak-paneled dining rooms frequented by the likes of Larry Tate and Darrin Stevens. In one episode he made something called “Le Diplomate” which I vaguely remembered from some reading I did in cooking school, but that I had to look up in my Larousse Gastronomique. It is a variant on the Charlotte Russe formed in a Charlotte Mold with lady fingers, Creme Bavaroise, and fruit served with a Creme Anglaise. The difference being that Le Diplomate would be like the Charlotte below (without the whipped cream and berries) encased in a flavored gelatin coating and decorated with candied angelica and cherries. I haven’t seen one of those since cooking school! Although I used to own a Charlotte mold I don’t have one now. It may be time to buy another one and give making a Charlotte or even a Diplomate a try.
In the meantime enjoy the photos. I am sorry they are of such poor quality as I took them from the TV with my iPhone. Also here is a photo of a classic Charlotte Russe. Looks like I can make one of those!