In terms of gourmet cuisine, the Art of French cooking is often mentioned first, as it has stayed true to its fundamental principles over decades. Unlike other cooking styles in which short cuts and innovative methods are encouraged, even valued, the basic techniques in French cooking have not changed over time. However, the principles of french cooking can be applied to other cuisines and are therefore by no means outdated. As a matter of fact, the techniques of the french cuisine still are still part of the core curriculum of most 法國果醬 cooking schools and often seen as the most important step in developing true culinary skills. Similarly, whether you are a food aficionado, or an aspiring chef, learning about the art of French cooking is certainly worth the effort.
It is not without reason that the term for highest quality food, ‘haute cuisine’ is derived from the french language. French cookery has been described in many ways, for example, elegant, rustic, chic and indulgent, exclusive, or even intimidating, yet the concepts behind French cooking are deceptively simple. In addition to typical ingredients like herbs, cheese, lamb, mushrooms and more, the aspiring has to learn about one of the most important things: patience. The process of learning to cook french makes it necessary to go back to the basics, carefully select ingredients of the highest quality and finally preparing them with greatest care. For example, to cook French sauces, clarified butter is often a key ingredient and no short cuts common to other cooking styles are acceptable. Also, salt and pepper are used with a lot of care as the flavors are preferably extracted from vegetables, meats and herbs before the taste is rounded up with a little seasoning.
When you learn about french cuisine, you are often exposed to an impressive range of dishes, as the diversity of french local cuisines is large. In the attempt to use only the best and freshest products chef often find the highest quality locally and therefore produce locally distinct dishes. Commonly used ingredients in French food include poultry, red meat, game meat, fruit such as berries and apples, squash and leek. In Northern France local dishes often include ingredients like sausage pork and beer while more Mediterranean ingredients like tomatoes, herbs and olives influence the cuisine of Southern France. Cheese and wine however are used in all parts of the country.
A vast variety of books, blogs and user groups will help you if you are inspired to learn more about french cuisine. A good idea would be to start with a simple soup or a familiar dish cooked in the French style, for example, roast chicken, rather than attempt complicated dishes with multiple ingredients and techniques. Even with basic cooking skills the basic techniques like chopping, sauteing, sauce and stock making can be easily acquired. You will most likely not cook yourself through each and every dish like in the movie “Julie and Julia” but learning about french cuisine will still improve your cooking style, feeling for ingredients and appreciation of high quality food as a gourmand.