Vivre comme le French et manger…. Lets eat.
It has long been said that the French are the best when it comes to food.
Now any budding chefs out there will be mocking this outlandish statement, but let me explain even I, maybe converted.
You see, it’s not just about the food! It’s about where it comes from. It’s about presentation & It’s about the simplicity of never over painting that preverbal canvas.
In todays world where we are fighting this constant battle with plastic foods, processed meats and tv dinners, a world where medical issues are more prevalent than ever before, I think its fair to say that removing ourselves from that institution of LAZY and firmly returning to an old fashioned French kitchen, could only benefit us all.
French Cuisine is about traditional methods and whilst there is some understanding that they rather liked, way back in the day, to include some of the Italians most simplest and old traditions, they mixed them together with their ideas and formed French “Gastronomy” which became included is so many countries and their Culinary education. To top it all off it was added to UNESCO, (“United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation” ) to which I can only ask you to google rather than explain here, but in very short terms, its about building of the peace and cultural diversity.
Rather clever when food has been for so many, the way to a man…or a womens’ beating heart.
We are told that medieval cuisine was the introduction of the banquet! The buffet to you and I.
This introduction was actually to bring every course together & to be served as one. I am so much happier with banquets. My eyes being bigger than my stomach, (on a good day anyway), for me to be able to peruse what’s on offer and reflectively choose what I am about to inhale, rather than be served several courses and find that I m too full to eat the one course that really makes me dribble, is much more suited to my character. I should have been born in the middle ages with the thick sauces, Pie crusts serving the purpose of an edible container to cured, smoked and spiced meats, and all rounded off with what is now known as our desert option, aged cheese, spiced wines and honey. The corset would have been a distinct disadvantage but we cant have it all.
Are you starting to see a pattern here!
Sweet and sour flavors were added to dishes with vinegar in them. The pestle and mortar became a addition to almost all kitchens. Families made velouté and béchamel in large quantities and as the French chefs valued more and more the use of locally sourced fruits and vegetables from huge areas of arable land, the love of food grew and thankfully was shared with all us mere mortals. The recipes we see today in some of the best hotels and restaurants are still based on French traditional cuisine, the cooking schools are still using the old techniques and slowly but surely we are realizing that not everything in the world can be made better with technology!
France has adapted to change, it has introduced flavors from other countries, it has adapted recipes and ideas from other cultures but it has kept the base of fresh is best.
Its Macaron 1830s (not mararoon) has evolved from the traditional sweet meringue based convection to an array of flavors, yet keeping the main structure and means of preparation the same.
The velouté has been the base of almost every sauce derived from other cooking juices and a mixing of various over seas flavors, and French classic deserts which have reigned for years are being translated into international flavors. Tarte Tatin has evolved, the profiterole has taken on different shapes and flavoured creams, even the traditional Croque Monsieur was one of the first ideas for the sandwich, and, so it goes on.
You must see it by now, most things all revert to French old fashioned good simple food.
Whilst casually perusing the supermarket isles today, reviewing the French ability to try and preserve the love of food, it was noticeable that not every fruit and vegetable is perfect. There are sections where unperfected produce is for sale, and you rarely see containers of unsold or out of date foods left in giant bins at the rear of the supermarket building. Your allowed to test those grapes and the odd cherry when its in season, and very little is already prepared for you in those forbidden plastic containers that we are all slowly beginning to understand are ruining our world.
Cooking is still taught in schools and at home. Food in schools is a proper prepared meal if you choose that option, with many schools submitting menus to parents for the month ahead.
Even I could not resist this Madeleine today….its old paper packaging. French are clever, they drawn in the eye. Food is fashion and Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Pierre Cardin, Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, Hermès, Lanvin, Chloé, Rochas, and Céline. Cant all be wrong.
France is Food.