My father was a passionate cook, always clipping recipes out of The New York Times. At Christmas he'd buy little wooden boxes of salt cod from Wulf's Fish Market in Brookline, near Boston, and soak the cod for two days, changing the water twice a day. He'd poach it in milk with a bay leaf and onion, then blend it with potato and garlic to make the brandade. He'd buy two or three jars of the best caviar he could afford. And then he'd steam Red Bliss potatoes, leaving them al dente so when he sliced them, each piece became a sort of crouton that he'd top with the brandade, some sweet butter, and the caviar. It really is perfect food.