It’s our favorite day of the year: Chuck Williams’ birthday! Our founder and inspiration is joining us for cake and company at our corporate headquarters to celebrate his 98th year. We’ll also be baking birthday cakes in our stores to honor Chuck and offering 20% off on all cookbooks through Sunday, 10/6. Stop by for a slice (and a good read)!
By introducing classic French cookware to the U.S., Chuck changed the way Americans cook at home. From novices to experienced cooks alike, he’s taught us valuable techniques, introduced new methods to our repertoires, and equipped our kitchens for any occasion. Read on for some of our favorite facts about Chuck, plus one of his classic recipes.
number of natty ties owned by Chuck
maximum number of people that Chuck thinks belong at a dinner party
At least 6
number of times Chuck says you should practice cooking a recipe before serving it to your unsuspecting guests
Chuck’s least favorite cooking method (“Too much trouble!”)
year in which the ten millionth Williams-Sonoma cookbook was printed
average amount of time it takes Chuck to find an error on a cookbook page
Chuck’s least favorite form of poultry (“Too many bones!”)
number of Williams-Sonoma cookbooks sold every minute
number of people who want to make pasta by hand (“Give them a break!”)
“Give them a break”
Chuck’s favorite way of expressing concern for readers’ sanity
how much Chuck hates the words “elegant,” “mouthwatering,” “dainty” and “lovely”
how hot Chuck runs, in Celsius
Shredding, not grating
what you do to Cheddar cheese. How many times does he have to tell you?
Chuck’s favorite legumes
not the same thing as a baking dish. How many times does he have to tell you?
drumettes? What part of a chicken is that, pray tell?
number of people who want to make homemade stock (“Give them a break!”)
number of cashmere sweaters in varying shades of green owned by Chuck
number of Arnold Palmers that Chuck has consumed in his lifetime
number of cloves of garlic that are too many for Chuck’s taste
number of different types of pie vessels Chuck thinks any self-respecting pie baker should own (let’s see: deep-dish, ceramic, glass and metal)
number of different colors of bell pepper they had when Chuck was a kid. Only the green ones!
number of ways to roast a chicken and have it come out “just fine”
the jaunty angle at which Chuck wears his hats
how long it takes Chuck to blush when complimented by an adoring fan
number of Chuck’s adoring fans
number of Williams-Sonoma customers
number of pots and pans in Chuck’s kitchen
years that Chuck has blessed us with his presence on this earth
Carrot Soup with Coriander
To honor the birthday of our founder, Chuck Williams, we are preparing one of Chuck’s classic recipes in our stores today: Carrot Soup with Coriander. The ground coriander and chopped cilantro give this soup its wonderfully bright, fresh taste.
1/3 cup (3 oz) unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 lb carrots (12-14), peeled and cut crosswise into ½ inch thick
1 baking potato, 8-9 oz, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 teaspoon ground coriander
4 cups (32 fl oz) chicken stock
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups (16 fl oz) milk, or as needed
freshly ground pepper
2-3 tablespoons dry sherry
½ cup (4 fl oz) sour cream
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. When hot, add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring, until beginning to change color, 20 – 30 seconds. Add the carrots, potato and ground coriander and sauté, stirring a couple of times, for 2-3 minutes. Add the stock, sugar and salt and raise the heat to medium-low, cover partially and continue simmering until the vegetables are soft when pierced with the tip of a knife, 20 – 25 minutes. Remove from the heat.
In a food processor fitted with the metal blade or in a blender, process the vegetables in small batches with their stock until smooth (the soup may be made ahead to this point, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days).
Return the puree to the saucepan and add 2 cups (16 fl oz) milk and pepper to taste. Place over medium heat and heat almost to a boil. Taste and adjust the seasonings. If the soup is too thick, add milk as needed to thin. Just before serving, stir in the sherry to taste.
To serve, ladle into warmed soup bowls. Top each bowl with a spoonful of sour cream and sprinkling of cilantro. Serve at once
Source: Merchant of Sonoma
Join us in wishing Chuck a happy birthday! Leave a comment on this post to sign our virtual birthday card — we’ll pass along the well wishes.