Bonjour Mes Enfants ! 🙂
Alors , aujourd’hui on commence avec un tout petit chapitre sur la Cuisine Francaise ! Oooops….My mistake! Once I got My eyes on the French Culinary Art I’ve started speaking French…..
Well , Here is a Chapter so dear and close to My heart , only beacause When I first started working in a restaurant , it was in a French Restaurant , “La Maison du Lac” , small ( 22 seats only ) with gueridon service – kinda old style but nevertheless stylish ! It was the best time ever !
Enjoy and Bon Apetit !
Je vous invite de connaitre Les Deux Maitres des Nos Jours !
French Cuisine (French: cuisine française, IPA: [kɥi.zin fʁɑ.sɛz]) consists of cooking traditions and practices from France, famous for the rich tastes and subtle nuances with long and rich history. France, a country famous for its agriculture and independently minded peasants, was long a creative powerbase for delicious recipes, that are both healthy and refined.
Guillaume Tirel Taillevent, a court chef, wrote Le Viandier, one of the earliest recipe collections of medieval France. During that time, French cuisine was heavily influenced by Italian cuisine. In the 17th century, chefs François Pierre La Varenne and Marie-Antoine Carême spearheaded movements that shifted French cooking away from its foreign influences and developed France’s own indigenous style. Cheese and wine are a major part of the cuisine, playing different roles regionally and nationally, with many variations and appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) (regulated appellation) laws.
French cuisine was codified in the 20th century by Auguste Escoffier to become the modern haute cuisine; Escoffier, however, left out much of the regional culinary character to be found in the regions of France. Gastro-tourism and the Guide Michelin helped to acquaint people with the rich bourgeois and peasant cuisine of the French countryside starting in the 20th century. Gascon cuisine has also had great influence over the cuisine in the southwest of France. Many dishes that were once regional have proliferated in variations across the country.
Knowledge of French cooking has contributed significantly to Western cuisines and its criteria are used widely in Western cookery school boards and culinary education. In November 2010, French gastronomy was added by the UNESCO to its lists of the world’s “intangible cultural heritage”.
In French medieval cuisine, banquets were common among the aristocracy. Multiple courses would be prepared, but served in a style called service en confusion, or all at once. Food was generally eaten by hand, meats being sliced off in large pieces held between the thumb and two fingers. The sauces were highly seasoned and thick, and heavily flavored mustards were used. Pies were a common banquet item, with the crust serving primarily as a container, rather than as food itself, and it was not until the very end of the Late Middle Ages that the shortcrust pie was developed. Meals often ended with an issue de table, which later changed into the modern dessert, and typically consisted of dragées (in the Middle Ages, meaning spiced lumps of hardened sugar or honey), aged cheese and spiced wine, such as hypocras.
The ingredients of the time varied greatly according to the seasons and the church calendar, and many items were preserved with salt, spices, honey, and other preservatives. Late spring, summer, and autumn afforded abundance, while winter meals were more sparse. Livestock were slaughtered at the beginning of winter. Beef was often salted, while pork was salted and smoked. Bacon and sausages would be smoked in the chimney, while the tongue and hams were brined and dried. Cucumbers were brined as well, while greens would be packed in jars with salt. Fruits, nuts and root vegetables would be boiled in honey for preservation. Whale, dolphin and porpoise were considered fish, so during Lent, the salted meats of these sea mammals were eaten.
Artificial freshwater ponds (often called stews) held carp, pike, tench, bream, eel, and other fish. Poultry was kept in special yards, with pigeon and squab being reserved for the elite. Game was highly prized, but very rare, and included venison, wild boar, hare, rabbit, and birds. Kitchen gardens provided herbs, including some, such as tansy, rue, pennyroyal, and hyssop, which are rarely used today. Spices were treasured and very expensive at that time – they included pepper, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and mace. Some spices used then, but no longer today in French cuisine are cubebs, long pepper (both from vines similar to black pepper), grains of paradise, and galengale. Sweet-sour flavors were commonly added to dishes with vinegars and verjus combined with sugar (for the affluent) or honey. A common form of food preparation was to finely cook, pound and strain mixtures into fine pastes and mushes, something believed to be beneficial to make use of nutrients.
Visual display was prized. Brilliant colors were obtained by the addition of, for example, juices from spinach and the green part of leeks. Yellow came from saffron or egg yolk, while red came from sunflower, and purple came from Crozophora tinctoria or Heliotropium europaeum. Gold and silver leaf were placed on food surfaces and brushed with egg whites. Elaborate and showy dishes were the result, such as tourte parmerienne which was a pastry dish made to look like a castle with chicken-drumstick turrets coated with gold leaf. One of the grandest showpieces of the time was roast swan or peacock sewn back into its skin with feathers intact, the feet and beak being gilded. Since both birds are stringy, and taste unpleasant, the skin and feathers could be kept and filled with the cooked, minced and seasoned flesh of tastier birds, like goose or chicken.
The most well known French chef of the Middle Ages was Guillaume Tirel, also known as Taillevent. Taillevent worked in numerous royal kitchens during the 14th century. His first position was as a kitchen boy in 1326. He was chef to Philip VI, then the Dauphin who was son of John II. The Dauphin became King Charles V of France in 1364, with Taillevent as his chief cook. His career spanned sixty-six years, and upon his death he was buried in grand style between his two wives. His tombstone represents him in armor, holding a shield with three cooking pots, marmites, on it.
During the ancien régime, Paris was the central hub of culture and economic activity, and as such, the most highly skilled culinary craftsmen were to be found there. Markets in Paris such as Les Halles, la Mégisserie, those found along Rue Mouffetard, and similar smaller versions in other cities were very important to the distribution of food. Those that gave French produce its characteristic identity were regulated by the guild system, which developed in the Middle Ages. In Paris, the guilds were regulated by city government as well as by the French crown. A guild restricted those in a given branch of the culinary industry to operate only within that field.
There were two basic groups of guilds – first, those that supplied the raw materials; butchers, fishmongers, grain merchants, and gardeners. The second group were those that supplied prepared foods; bakers, pastry cooks, saucemakers, poulterers, and caterers. There were also guilds that offered both raw materials and prepared food, such as the charcutiers and rôtisseurs (purveyors of roasted meat dishes). They would supply cooked meat pies and dishes as well as raw meat and poultry. This caused issues with butchers and poulterers, who sold the same raw materials.The guilds served as a training ground for those within the industry. The degrees of assistant-cook, full-fledged cook and master chef were conferred. Those who reached the level of master chef were of considerable rank in their individual industry, and enjoyed a high level of income as well as economic and job security. At times, those in the royal kitchens did fall under the guild hierarchy, but it was necessary to find them a parallel appointment based on their skills after leaving the service of the royal kitchens. This was not uncommon as the Paris cooks’ guild regulations allowed for this movement.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, French cuisine assimilated many new food items from the New World. Although they were slow to be adopted, records of banquets show Catherine de’ Medici (1519–1589?) serving sixty-six turkeys at one dinner. The dish called cassoulet has its roots in the New World discovery of haricot beans, which are central to the dish’s creation, but had not existed outside of the New World until its exploration by Christopher Columbus.
Haute cuisine (pronounced: [ot kɥizin], “high cuisine”) has foundations during the 17th century with a chef named La Varenne. As author of works such as Le Cuisinier françois, he is credited with publishing the first true French cookbook. His book includes the earliest known reference to roux using pork fat. The book contained two sections, one for meat days, and one for fasting. His recipes marked a change from the style of cookery known in the Middle Ages, to new techniques aimed at creating somewhat lighter dishes, and more modest presentations of pies as individual pastries and turnovers. La Varenne also published a book on pastry in 1667 entitled Le Parfait confitvrier (republished as Le Confiturier françois) which similarly updated and codified the emerging haute cuisine standards for desserts and pastries.
Chef François Massialot wrote Le Cuisinier roïal et bourgeois in 1691, during the reign of Louis XIV. The book contains menus served to the royal courts in 1690. Massialot worked mostly as a freelance cook, and was not employed by any particular household. Massialot and many other royal cooks received special privileges by association with the French royalty. They were not subject to the regulation of the guilds; therefore, they could cater weddings and banquets without restriction. His book is the first to list recipes alphabetically, perhaps a forerunner of the first culinary dictionary. It is in this book that a marinade is first seen in print, with one type for poultry and feathered game, while a second is for fish and shellfish. No quantities are listed in the recipes, which suggests that Massialot was writing for trained cooks.
The successive updates of Le Cuisinier roïal et bourgeois include important refinements such as adding a glass of wine to fish stock. Definitions were also added to the 1703 edition. The 1712 edition, retitled Le Nouveau cuisinier royal et bourgeois, was increased to two volumes, and was written in a more elaborate style with extensive explanations of technique. Additional smaller preparations are included in this edition as well, leading to lighter preparations, and adding a third course to the meal. Ragout, a stew still central to French cookery, makes its first appearance as a single dish in this edition as well; prior to that, it was listed as a garnish.
Late 18th. Century – early 19th. Century
The French Revolution was integral to the expansion of French cuisine, because it effectively abolished guilds. This meant any one chef could now produce and sell any culinary item he wished. Marie-Antoine Carême was born in 1784, five years before the onset of the Revolution. He spent his younger years working at a pâtisserie until being discovered by Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, who would later cook for the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Prior to his employment with Talleyrand, Carême had become known for his pièces montèes, which were extravagant constructions of pastry and sugar architecture.
More important to Carême’s career was his contribution to the refinement of French cuisine. The basis for his style of cooking came from his sauces, which he named mother sauces. Often referred to as fonds, meaning “foundations”, these base sauces, espagnole, velouté, and béchamel, are still known today. Each of these sauces would be made in large quantities in his kitchen, as they were then capable of forming the basis of multiple derivatives. Carême had over one hundred sauces in his repertoire. In his writings, soufflés appear for the first time. Although many of his preparations today seem extravagant, he simplified and codified an even more complex cuisine that had existed beforehand. Central to his codification of the cuisine were Le Maître d’hôtel français (1822), Le Cuisinier parisien (1828) and L’Art de la cuisine française au dix-neuvième siècle .
Late 19th. Century – early 20th. Century
Georges Auguste Escoffier is commonly acknowledged as the central figure to the modernization of haute cuisine and organizing what would become the national cuisine of France. His influence began with the rise of some of the great hotels in Europe and America during the 1880s – 1890s. The Savoy Hotel managed by César Ritz was an early hotel in which Escoffier worked, but much of his influence came during his management of the kitchens in the Carlton from 1898 until 1921. He created a system of “parties” called the brigade system, which separated the professional kitchen into five separate stations.
These five stations included the “garde manger” that prepared cold dishes; the “entremettier” prepared starches and vegetables, the “rôtisseur” prepared roasts, grilled and fried dishes; the “saucier” prepared sauces and soups; and the “pâtissier” prepared all pastry and desserts items. This system meant that instead of one person preparing a dish on one’s own, now multiple cooks would prepare the different components for the dish. An example used is “oeufs au plat Meyerbeer”, the prior system would take up to fifteen minutes to prepare the dish, while in the new system, the eggs would be prepared by the entremettier, kidney grilled by the rôtisseur, truffle sauce made by the saucier and thus the dish could be prepared in a shorter time and served quickly in the popular restaurants.
Escoffier also simplified and organized the modern menu and structure of the meal. He published a series of articles in professional journals which outlined the sequence, and then he finally published his Livre des menus in 1912. This type of service embraced the service à la russe (serving meals in separate courses on individual plates), which Félix Urbain Dubois had made popular in the 1860s. Escoffier’s largest contribution was the publication of Le Guide Culinaire in 1903, which established the fundamentals of French cookery. The book was a collaboration with Philéas Gilbert, E. Fetu, A. Suzanne, B. Reboul, Ch. Dietrich, A. Caillat and others. The significance of this is to illustrate the universal acceptance by multiple high-profile chefs to this new style of cooking.
Le Guide Culinaire deemphasized the use of heavy sauces and leaned toward lighter fumets, which are the essence of flavor taken from fish, meat and vegetables. This style of cooking looked to create garnishes and sauces whose function is to add to the flavor of the dish, rather than mask flavors like the heavy sauces and ornate garnishes of the past. Escoffier took inspiration for his work from personal recipes in addition to recipes from Carême, Dubois and ideas from Taillevent’s Viander, which had a modern version published in 1897. A second source for recipes came from existing peasant dishes that were translated into the refined techniques of haute cuisine.
Expensive ingredients would replace the common ingredients, making the dishes much less humble. The third source of recipes was Escoffier himself, who invented many new dishes, such as Pêche Melba and Crêpes Suzette.Escoffier updated Le Guide Culinaire four times during his lifetime, noting in the foreword to the book’s first edition that even with its 5,000 recipes, the book should not be considered an “exhaustive” text, and that even if it were at the point when he wrote the book, “it would no longer be so tomorrow, because progress marches on each day.
Mid 20th. Century – late 20th. Century
The 1960s brought about innovative thought to the French cuisine, especially because of the contribution of Portuguese immigrants that had come to the country fleeing the forced drafting to the Colonial Wars Portugal was fighting in Africa. Many new dishes were introduced, as well as techniques. This period is also marked by the appearance of the “Nouvelle Cuisine”.
The term nouvelle cuisine has been used many times in the history of French cuisine. In the 1740s, Menon first used the term, but the cooking of Vincent La Chapelle and François Marin was also considered modern. In the 1960s, Henri Gault and Christian Millau revived it to describe the cooking of Paul Bocuse, Jean and Pierre Troisgros, Michel Guérard, Roger Vergé and Raymond Oliver.These chefs were working toward rebelling against the “orthodoxy” of Escoffier‘s cuisine. Some of the chefs were students of Fernand Point at the Pyramide in Vienne, and had left to open their own restaurants. Gault and Millau “discovered the formula” contained in ten characteristics of this new style of cooking.
The first characteristic was a rejection of excessive complication in cooking. Second, the cooking times for most fish, seafood, game birds, veal, green vegetables and pâtés was greatly reduced in an attempt to preserve the natural flavors. Steaming was an important trend from this characteristic. The third characteristic was that the cuisine was made with the freshest possible ingredients. Fourth, large menus were abandoned in favor of shorter menus. Fifth, strong marinades for meat and game ceased to be used. Sixth, they stopped using heavy sauces such as espagnole and béchamel thickened with flour based “roux”, in favor of seasoning their dishes with fresh herbs, quality butter, lemon juice, and vinegar. Seventh, they used regional dishes for inspiration instead of haute cuisine dishes. Eighth, new techniques were embraced and modern equipment was often used; Bocuse even used microwave ovens. Ninth, the chefs paid close attention to the dietary needs of their guests through their dishes. Tenth and finally, the chefs were extremely inventive and created new combinations and pairings.
Some have speculated that a contributor to nouvelle cuisine was World War II when animal protein was in short supply during the German occupation.By the mid-1980s food writers stated that the style of cuisine had reached exhaustion and many chefs began returning to the haute cuisine style of cooking, although much of the lighter presentations and new techniques remained.
There are many dishes that are considered part of French national cuisine today.
A meal often consists of three courses, hors d’œuvre or entrée (introductory course, sometimes soup), plat principal (main course), fromage (cheese course) and/or dessert, sometimes with a salad offered before the cheese or dessert.
Common breads of France
Common desserts and pastries
- Bûche de Noël
- Choux pastry
- Crème brûlée
- Far Breton
- Pain perdu
- Gateau au yaourt
- Galette des rois
- Mousse au chocolat
- Pain au chocolat
- Saint Honoré
- Tarte Tatin
- Tarte tropezienne
- Quiche Lorraine
- Potée Lorraine
- Fuseau lorrain
- Bouchée à la reine
- Pâté lorrain
- Tête de veau
- Baba au rhum
- Tarte à a mirabelle
- Tarte à la brimbelle (Myrtille)
- Macarons de Nancy
- Glace Plombières
- Choucroute garnie (sauerkraut with sausages, salt pork and potatoes)
- Coq au Riesling (The local Alsace variant of Coq au vin)
- Rossbiff à l’alsacienne (Horsemeat)
- Tarte flambée / Flammekueche
- Tarte à l’oignon
- Knack /saucisse de Strasbourg
- Carpe frites
- Tripes à la mode de Caen (tripe cooked in cider and calvados)
- Matelote (fish stewed in cider)
- Moules à la crème Normande (mussels cooked with white wine, Normandy cider, garlic and cream)
- Tarte Normande (apple tart)
- Teurgoule (a baked rice dessert)
Brittany / Bretagne
- Far Breton(flan with prunes)
- Kig ha farz (boiled pork dinner with buckwheat dumplings)
- Kouign amann (galette made flaky with high proportion of butter)
- Poulet à la bretonne (Brittany cider Chicken), simmered with navy beans, beets, and bacon, in apple cider.
Loire Valley/Central France
- Rillettes (spreadable paste made from braised pork and rendered fat, similar to pâté)
- Andouillettes (sausage made with chitterlings)
Burgundy / Bourgogne
- Bœuf bourguignon (beef stewed in red wine)
- Coq au vin (chicken braised in red wine, lardons and mushrooms)
- Escargots de Bourgogne (snails baked in their shells with parsley butter)
- Gougère (cheese in choux pastry)
- Pôchouse (pauchouse) (fish stewed in red wine)
- Oeufs en meurette (poached eggs in a red wine and pepper reduction sauce)
- Raclette (the cheese is melted and served with potatoes, ham and often dried beef)
- Fondue savoyarde (fondue made with cheese and white wine into which cubes of bread are dipped)
- Gratin dauphinois
- Tartiflette (a Savoyard gratin with potatoes, Reblochon cheese, cream and pork)
- Andouillette (a kind of Sausage with Tripe)
- Quenelle (flour; butter; eggs; milk; and fish, traditionally pike, mixed and poached)
- Soupe à l’oignon (onion soup based on meat stock, often served gratinéed with cheese on top)
- gargonschnov Tripoux (tripe ‘parcels’ in a savoury sauce)
- Truffade (potatoes sautéed with garlic and young Tomme cheese)
- Aligot (mashed potatoes blended with young Tomme cheese)
- Pansette de Gerzat (lamb tripe stewed in wine, shallots and blue cheese)
- Salade Aveyronaise (lettuce, tomato, roquefort cheese, walnuts)
- Brandade de morue (puréed salt cod)
- Clapassade (lamb ragout with olives, honey and licorice)
- Cargolade (Catalan style of escargot)
- Trinxat (Catalan cabbage and potatoes)
- Bourride (white fish stewed with vegetables and wine, garnished with aïoli)
- Rouille de seiche (Similar preparation of squid)
- Encornets farcis (Cuttlefish stuffed with sausagemeat, herbs)
- Bouillabaisse (a stew of mixed Mediterranean fish, tomatoes, and herbs)
- Ratatouille (a vegetable stew with olive oil, aubergine, courgette, bell pepper, tomato, onion and garlic)
- Pieds paquets (Lambs feet and tripe ‘parcels’ in a savoury sauce)
- Soupe au pistou (bean soup served with a pistou (cognate with Italian pesto) of fine-chopped basil, garlic and Parmesan)
- Salade Niçoise (varied ingredients, but always black olives, tuna)
- Quince cheese
- Pissaladière (an antecedent of the much more popular pizza)
- Daube provençale
- Calisson (famous candy from Aix-en-Provence)
- Tarte tropézienne (famous tarte from Saint-Tropez)
- Navette (from Marseille)
- Aïoli (sauce made of garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and egg yolks)
- Tapenade (puree or finely chopped olives, capers, anchovies and olive oil)
- Pan-bagnat (sandwich with whole wheat bread, salade, hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, tuna or anchovies and olive oil)
- Chichi[disambiguation needed] (french churro)
- Pompe à l’huile also called Fouace in Occitan (galette made with olive oil. It is part of the thirteen desserts of a Provençal Christmas)
- Gibassier (galette made with olive oil and spiced with anise, candied orange peel, and orange flower water, and dusted with baker’s sugar)
- Oreilette (beignet eat during canival or Christmas)
- Gateau des rois ( tortell, provencal variant of the king cake with glazed fruit)
Bon Apetit et a tres bientot ~