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Anatomy of a cassoulet

PORK + BEANS Oct 06
  • Anatomy of a cassoulet

Fresh crock of cassoulet, Castelnaudary. Photo by Kelly S. Kurt

Cassoulet, to the cook, becomes an emblem of desire, for one must truly need a cassoulet in order to make it from scratch. It’s too fussy, though being fussy and demanding of the cook—and the eater—is part of its charm. On the restaurant menus of our Languedoc days, no food played me more perfectly than cassoulet. I feasted as much on the prospect of it was the serving itself. It is more perfect, to me, in its whole, uneaten state than when the crock is empty and I am full and incapable of desiring anything remotely sensory for a good while.