The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

May 10, 2014

COOKING WITH SIMON: Mothers shape a lifetime of eating

Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE — Mother's Day is almost here and it’s time to give the ladies in your life a day off from the kitchen duties.

Today’s recipe is a simple and easy to make chicken dish, and just might get the men into kitchen. They can lead the way as the kids pitch in to help, as well!

The fond memories I have of my mum cooking are probably similar to everyone else's, even though we lived way down in another part of the world.

Back in the day, she gave me a gift that set me on a path to become a chef. She didn’t know it at the time, but this gift was a life changer.

It was the Edmonds Cookery Book. The best selling cookbook in New Zealand put out by the Edmonds Company that produces baking powder, flour and other baking products.

The recipes were simple and easy to follow and every New Zealander had one in their kitchen and the kids learned to cook from this book, too.

If you read this column often, you know I have mentioned the book a time or two. I still use it often when I want to look up classic recipes and basic techniques.

But back to mum, I have wonderful memories of my parents cooking dinner together. Dad was peeling potatoes and cutting vegetables while mum gave orders. Dad was also in charge of the bar and made sure they had a glass of sherry while cooking and wine with dinner.

It was a great time together as a family. I think it’s one of the reasons I love creating enjoyable dining experiences as a chef.

But it’s more important for moms to cook and for families to eat together. Childhood meals shape a lifetime of eating. And Mothers Day is a great way to honor the way mom used to cook for you.

Chicken Veronique


1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces (or 4 large chicken breasts)

Salt and pepper to season chicken

2 tablespoons butter

2 cloves garlic crushed

2 teaspoons dried tarragon

1/4 cup chopped white onions

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 cup red or white seedless grapes, halved


Pan fry chicken pieces in butter on medium heat. Brown on all sides then place in oven at 325 till cooked through, about 15 minutes. Add onions and garlic to pan and sauté for two minutes. Add white wine and reduce by half. Add cream and grapes and bring to a bring to a boil. Add tarragon and serve.