A friend tipped me off to a story about cassoulet, the great southwestern French dish, in Slate, by Katherine Lanpher. The piece is pretty well informed, except when it says that a cassoulet should be topped with a bread-crumb crust: This is a no-no for all authentic cassoulets except possibly the version from Carcassonne (one of three cassoulet cities, together with Castelnaudary and Toulouse.)
I know about these things because I am the only American chevalier (knight) in the Great Brotherhood of the Cassoulet of Castelnaudary. The story of how I joined the brotherhood is told in an article in Saveur magazine that Lanpher links to right at the end of her piece, which I wrote several years ago, entitled "Searching for the Secrets of Cassoulet." I did not realize that it was available online until I read Lanpher's article, but it is well worth checking out if for no other reason than that it provides the authentic, Brotherhood-approved recipe for the cassoulet of Castelnaudary (the second of the two recipes provided, which is also at this link.)
With thanks to JML for alerting me to the Slate article.
Photo: Jean-Luc Barde for Saveur.