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Pepins make fast food easy

By Dave Buchanan
ASPEN - Early morning on Day Two of the Food and Wine Magazine Classic finds the father/daughter team of Jacques and Claudine Pepin teasing and sparring over techniques and cookery as they prepare for their demonstration titled "Fast Food Our Way." As you might expect, this isn't fast food you "Biggie size" but food that's seemingly complicated at first but surprisingly quick, tasty and good for you. In 42 minutes, three fewer than the time slot allotted, the Pepins teams to make chocolate mousse, sauteed quail with raita (a Greek yogurt and cucumber-based dip or spread) and shrimp-and-scallop pillows (using won ton wrappers) on a Boston lettuce salad. Their continuous offerings of cooking tips (separating egg yolks by hand gives more of the white) and repartee ("My father, the human mandolin," quipped Claudine after Jacques sliced a cucumber with eye-blurring speed) produced the expected outbursts of applause and "wows" from the adoring audience. Paula Norton of Atlanta, who was watching the Pepins while her husband George took in Laura Werlin's course in "American Raw Milk Cheeses," said the Pepins were one reason the Nortons were attending their second Food & Wine Classic. "The first time was, when, '94?" thought Paula. "It was the same time they were chasing OJ down the highway." For the record, OJ Simpson's long and slow evasion of the Los Angeles police force happened June 17, 1994. Showing off the plates of their creative skills, and to everyone's agreement, Jacques reminded us, "Eating well is easy, you just make the decision to do so."

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