French cuisine may seem sophisticated but is all about combining flavors, mastering basic techniques, and enjoying every bite.
French cuisine has long been known as basic for most kitchens in the western world. If you look at the history of other European food cultures there are always influences of French cuisine. The French cooking techniques have been developed to perfection and therefore many aspiring chefs find the French cuisine daunting. But when the cooking techniques have been mastered, a special elegance and feeling are always seen by the chefs.
The food cooked in France depends mainly on the region. French cuisine is dependent on and varies with local produce, such as apples, berries, haricot verses, leeks, and mushrooms. Bird, beef, lamb, and veal are readily available and venison is popular during hunting season. France is also rich in cheese and wine.
The history of French cuisine
French cuisine dates back to the Middle Ages. French cuisine was the same as Moorish cuisine at the time. Dishes mainly consisted of seasoned meat such as pork, poultry, beef, and fish. French dishes usually depended on the season and the ingredients that were in abundance. To preserve the meat, it was usually smoked and salted. Vegetables were also salted and preserved in jars to be preserved for the winter.
Food preservation was also important during this period. The visual presentation of the food represents the taste. This means that the richer and more attractive the food is presented, the better. Chefs often use products that can be consumed to improve the presentation of food, such as egg yolk, saffron, spinach, and more.
During the 15th and 16th centuries, French cuisine was influenced by Italian cuisine. This is mainly because of Catherine de Medici who married King Henry II. Catherine brought Italian chefs who in turn influenced traditional French cuisine.
At the beginning of the 20th century, French cuisine was challenged by many food critics for being unchanging and rigid. To meet this criticism, changes were made to traditional French cuisine to make the dishes more flexible.
French food and ingredients
French cuisine uses locally grown products. Examples of these products are potatoes, wheat, green beans, carrots, leeks, turnips, eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, and various fruits. Meat and fish include chicken, pigeon, duck, goose, beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, quail, frog, horse, snail, cod, sardine, tuna, salmon, trout, herring, oysters, shrimp and calamari.
Eggs are usually cooked and eaten in the form of omelets, scrambled eggs, or hard-boiled with mayonnaise.
Herbs and spices depend on the region and include tarragon, rosemary, marjoram, lavender, thyme, and sage.
These ingredients can be purchased from grocery stores or specialty retailers. Open street markets are a common sight on special days, and permanent roofs with many types of meat and vegetable traders are available in some cities.
Breakfast is a quick meal consisting of croissants, butter, and jam, eggs, or ham. This is combined with coffee or tea. Hot chocolate is popular with kids.
The lunch is usually a meal of one or two hours in the middle of the day. The Sunday lunch is usually longer than the daily lunch. Those who work and students usually take their lunch in a cafeteria and usually do not bring their own lunch.
Dinner usually consists of three dishes: starters that are often soup, main course, and an undressed or dessert, sometimes with a salad offered before the cheese or dessert. Yogurt is often preferred as a substitute for the cheese and a common dessert is fresh fruits. Meals usually come with bread, wine, and water. The most common meat dishes are often served with vegetables and rice or pasta.
France is known for its abundant wine consumption, and consumption of wine at meals is a practice in the country.