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Month of France Editorial

 

French cuisine has evolved extensively over centuries. The national cuisine started forming in the Middle Ages due to the influence of the work of skilled chefs and various social and political movements. Over the years the styles of French cuisine have been given different names, and have been modified by various master-chefs. During their lifetimes, these chefs have been held in high regard for contributions to the culture of the country. The national cuisine developed primarily in the city of Paris with the chefs to French royalty, but eventually it spread throughout the country and was even exported overseas

French cuisine was codified in the 20th century by Escoffier to become the modern version of 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.

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.

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 Escoffier worked at, 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.[5]:157–159

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 Culinary in 1903, which established the fundamentals of French cookery.

There are four approaches to French food:

Classical French cuisine which is rich and filling, with many dishes using cream-based sauces.

Haute cuisine is classical French cuisine taken to its most sophisticated and extreme. Food is elegant and elaborate with a strong emphasis on presentation. Only the finest ingredients are used and the meal is correspondingly expensive.

Nouvelle Cuisine was developed in the 1970s, as a reaction against the classical school of cooking. The food is simpler and lighter. Portions are smaller and less rich; the heavy cream sauces of the classical approach are particularly avoided. Cooking is less elaborate and quicker, with more emphasis on seasonal ingredients.

Cuisine du terroir focuses on regional specialities and is somewhat more rustic in nature. Local produce and food traditions are the main focus.

Greatly influenced by the French geography, the French cuisine also includes a wide range of regional cuisines:

LORRAINE has Quiche Lorraine

BRITTANY specialties include crêpes and galettes

BURGUNDY has boeuf bourguignon

RHÔNE-ALPES has gratin dauphinois

PROVENCE specialties include Bouillabaisse, Ratatouille, Salade Niçoise and Pisaladiere.

How to Cook Tender Braised Beef Short Ribs

in Red Wine with Mash Potato Recipe

(for 4 people)

 

Ingredients:

Beef Short ribs (ask your butcher to cut them individual) 4 pieces

Red wine for cooking 1ltr (for marination)

Onions cut in quarters 4 pieces (2 pieces of onions for the marination)

Garlic cut in half 3 cloves (for the marination)

Garlic fine sliced 3 cloves.

Bay leaves 4 leaves (for the marination)

Carrots peeled and cut in quarters 3 pieces (half for the marination)

Celery cut in chunks, 4 sticks (half for the marination)

Black whole pepper 10 pieces. (For the marination)

Beef stock (in 2 ltr hot water melt 2 cubes beef stock)

Tomato paste 2 soup spoons

Rock salt 3 soup spoons

Ground black pepper as need it

How to Cook Herb Crusted Fish Fillet Recipe

( 4 people)

 

Parsley, Chopped

Chives, Chopped

Breadcrumbs, Toasted

Butter, Clarified

Eggs + Water (Egg Wash)

Tomato-Rice Timbale

Rice, Long Grain

Onions, Minced

Garlic, Minced

Chicken Stock

Thyme, Chopped

Marinara Sauce

Vegetables

Yellow Squash, Sliced [1/4 Inch]

Zucchini, Sliced [1/4 Inch]

Olive Oil

Garlic, Chopped

Herbs, Chopped 

How to Cook Nicoise Salad Recipe

( for 4 people)

 

Ingredients:

Tuna Fillet 120gr per portion

Tomato cut in slices 4 pieces

Green Beans 400gr (100gr per portion boil them for 4 min in boiling salty water)

Mix Green & Red Lettuce leaves

Greek Black Olives 20 pieces (5 pieces per portion)

Cucumber 1 big piece cut in half moon

Onions red slice thin 2 pieces

Salad Dressing “Lemon Oil Vinaigrette”

Olive oil 4 soup spoons (for the dressing)

Fresh lemon juice 14 soup spoons (for the dressing)

Mustard Dijon 2 tea spoons (for dressing)

Black Pepper grated as need it (for dressing)

Salt as need it (for dressing)

 

Procedure:

Cook the tuna medium rear in a small fry pan with a little olive oil.

Set all the vegetables as per picture.

Mix all the “Dressing” ingredients together, make them smooth.

Serve as per picture.

How to Cook French Onion Soup Recipe

( for 4 to 6 people)

 

Ingredients:

Olive oil 100ml

Garlic finely chopped 3 cloves

Onions cut in thin slices 12 pieces 

White wine 220ml (one full cup)

Brandy 220 ml (one full cup of any local brandy)

Bay leaves 3pieces

Thyme chopped 1 big soup spoon

Beef stock (you can use any commercial brand of beef flavour just in 2 ltr hot water adds 2 cubes)

Chicken stock (you can use any commercial brand of chicken flavour just in 2 ltr hot water adds 2 cubes)

Brown sugar 1 soup spoon

White Sliced Bread 6 pieces

Gruyere cheese 6 slices

Grated Parmesan Cheese 60 gr

Salt & White Pepper as need it.

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