My mother-in-law prepares most of the meals she serves herself - this means I have eaten many a home-cooked Belgian classic!
She spends a lot of time in the kitchen, but not a lot of time looking for recipes. Most of the recipes she prepares are either memorized and stored away in her head, or, for dishes she makes less often, handwritten on little cards clipped into a mini two-ring binder.
She doesn't own many cookbooks, and rarely uses the one she has - but there is one special book that stands out in her small collection: La Bonne Cuisine Française.
Between the covers of this book can be found all sorts of traditional meals, and while it is a French cookbook, many dishes are favorites in Belgium as well. I used to spend hours flipping through the pages of her book, reading the quirky tips and tricks for each recipe, learning new techniques and even cooking a thing or two myself.
You can understand my joy when I found a copy while at a local flea market! I quickly bought it and took it home, marking interesting recipes and dreaming up new dishes to make.
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Which is exactly what I did when I got a hankering for baked endives.
I used to loathe this dish, as I found it rather bitter. Then I learned a trick - cut out the hard, bitter centers, keeping only the crisp leaves. This is now one of my comfort dishes, especially now that I have paleo-fied it!
I used dry-cured farm-style ham, but feel free to use your favorite.