When it comes to gourmet cuisine the French pretty much rule, they have a rich culinary history that goes back centuries. Unlike other methods of cooking, where short cuts and being creative is encouraged, French cooking is different, in that it has remained fundamentally the same for hundreds of years. You can take the principals of French cooking and apply them to other styles making them timeless. Almost every cooking school in the world has the techniques of the French as part of the core curriculum and they are the basis for developing culinary skills. Foodies and aspiring chefs alike need to learn all about French cooking, it’s worth the effort.
The term “haute cuisine” comes from the French language and literally translates into high quality food. There are many ways to describe French food and that would include, chic, rustic, elegant, indulgent, simple, or exclusive and it is all of those things and so much more. Despite this the principals of French cooking are relatively simple. Common ingredients found in French cuisine include herbs, mushrooms and lamb is often featured, but one of the most important ingredients is patience.
When you start to learn French cooking means going back to the basics, select the finest ingredients and preparing them with carefully. Here is an example of the common ingredients in French sauces is clarified butter, and substitutions don’t work, nor can you cut corners like you can with other styles of food. In other cuisines salt and pepper are used pretty liberally but in French cooking it is used sparingly, they prefer to draw flavors from vegetables or from herbs. Seasoning is added carefully.
Local French cuisine covers a wide variety of dishes. Using locally grown ingredients has always been a big part of French cuisine, giving you some exquisitely made regional dishes. Here is an example in Northern France the predominant ingredients are sausage, pork and beer, whereas in the Southern region has more of a Mediterranean influence they use herbs, olives, and tomatoes. One thing they all have in common is cheese and wine, that is used in all regions of France.
There are tons of books and resources to help you learn more about French cuisine, you can start on the path of French cooking with something simple like soups or roast chicken. Don’t start off with something that uses multiple techniques or ingredients. Start reading the books of Julia Child, if you’re unfamiliar with Julia Child she was an American chef who did a lot to bring French cuisine to America. “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” is a must have book for anyone learning to cook French cuisine. Learn to appreciate first rate ingredients and high quality food that has been well prepared.