July 14 marks Bastille Day, or French Independence Day. Joyeux Quatorze Juillet!!
We appreciate French food culture so much, that we decided to list a few contributions the French have made to world gastronomy over the past 500 years.
1. The recipe in its current form (ingredients with quantity), step by step instructions – was a French novelty in the 17th century.
2. The modern restaurant org chart was devised in France – Chef, sous chef, line cooks, waiters, sommelier…
3. Haute cuisine (literally high food) – also know as grand cuisine, this is the food prepared at high end establishment, were presentation counts just as much as the food itself. Expensive meals are accompanied by expensive wine. Portions are sized inversely to plate diameter. Seven course meals can last 5 hours. Heaven to some, hell to others…
4. Baguettes – nothing like a fresh baked baguette to start your day off. Just not every morning
5. Cheese – there are over 50 varieties of French cheese protected by French and European law. Usually they bear the name of the region where they are produced.. Among the famous “brands” – Beaufort, Brie, Camembert, Emmental, Gruyere, Munster, Roquefort. The US is not part of the agreement, so when you buy these brands in the US, you are probably not getting the original.
6. Ratatouille – long before the movie, ratatouille was a poor man’s stew originating from the Nice area of France. It can be served as a standalone dish or side. Ratatouille’s base is tomatoes, with the addition of onions, peppers, zucchini, eggplant, garlic, herbs and spices.
7. Cooking with cream and butter – Julia Child, who brought French cooking to America once said “you can never have too much butter…”
8. Wine culture – Whether the reds of Burgundy or Bordeaux, the bubbly of Champagne, or the late November festivities of the Beaujolais, French wine is the standard by which all others have been measured over the years.
9. Croissants – another morning delicacy to save for special dates.
10. French Fries – NOT!
What else would you add to the list?