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You have to love an appetizer that people ask for time and again. My Cheese Puffs (or Gougères) are always a hit. When my daughter asked: “When are you going to write a blog about your Gougères?” I figured the time has come.

Gougères are a great starter for any supper club meal. Warm right out of the oven they are pretty much irresistible. They are not the healthiest alternative so I usually serve a crudité along with the Gougères. Without fail the Gougères will be gone and the crudité goes untouched.

The recipe for the Cheese Puffs with Bacon and Shallot

My Cheese Puffs are a little different than the traditional Gougères because I add bacon and shallot. These additions follow the old culinary rule that: You can add bacon and shallot to just about anything and people will like it. It can get you in trouble if someone in your supper club keeps a kosher home.

Check out the blog on “Kosher can be fun”

This brings me to my father’s story about our family’s Jewish ancestry. It is a special story because I had an uncle who was a catholic priest on the Jewish side of my family.

Dad was a great storyteller. Before he died I sat down with him and documented several of his stories. One story he told is that we are part Jewish. His father emigrated from Ireland under the sponsorship of his aunt, Selma Diamond who was Jewish and lived in Brooklyn New York.

The story gets special with the twist that my father’s brother Pat was a catholic priest that was trained in a seminary in pre-war Germany. My father claimed that Father Pat (“Rev” for short) had to come home from Germany because of his Jewish ancestry.

Fast forward a few years, after my father had died I went to visit my uncle. Father Pat was then 90 and living in the Augustinian monastery at Villanova University. He was still as sharp as a tack and when I read him my father’s story about him having to come back from Germany he asked indignantly: “Who told you that? I didn’t come home because I was Jewish I was a catholic priest. I came home because it was time to come home”.

There are two morals to this story:

  1. Don’t let a few facts get in the way of a good story
  2. You can add bacon to anything and people will like it

If you enjoy this blog and similar other stories/supper club lessons subscribe to get future blogs at and be on the look out for my book Impromptu Friday Nights a Guide to Supper Clubs due out from Morgan James Publishing on January 30, 2018.

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