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Classic French Cooking

from: French Cooking - by Giles Tournet

Food prepared must not only be pleasing to the palate but pleasant to the eyes as well. Presentation of food on the plate is very vital in classic French cooking.

Traditional or classic French cooking in France emphasized on food preparation using its rich agricultural and dairying resources. This has been reflected through the lavish and elegant banquets made during official occasions under the French monarchy. Over the years, classic French cooking has been influenced by the introduction and use of new spices, herbs and products such as cocoa brought back from newly-discovered lands by early explorers, and particularly by Italian cooking.

Classic French cooking typically includes a light breakfast of a hot drink of milk, coffee or chocolate and buttered pieces of the customary baguette or French stick. It is a long and thin piece of crusty white bread). Sometimes croissants are served with jam and spreads. Bread, croissants and brioches are commonly eaten fresh and bought the same morning from the bread and pastry shops known as boulangeries. In classic French cooking, a regular three-course lunch usually begins with an entree of mixed salad or small goods, a main course of meat or fish with vegetables followed by cheese served with a green salad, and a dessert or fruit. For dinner or supper, a simple soup and a light main course is basically served. Wine is an important part of French dining. It is typically served with main meals.

Classic French cooking also includes a very large selection of desserts and pastries, among them the familiar and popular éclairs and profiteroles which are made of puff pastry filled with coffee or chocolate-flavoured custard.

Every Classic French cooking menu includes at least one kind of cheese and the traditional way to serve cheese is on a cheese board with a selection of six or more cheeses. The variety includes fresh cheeses, hard cheeses and rich, creamy cheeses. They are eaten with salad between the main course and dessert.

Classic French cooking may vary according to the season. During summertime, the classic French cooking may involve salads and fruit dishes because they're cool and the products are sold cheap, since most fruits and vegetables are being sold at any price. Mushrooms are abundant in all places of France at the end of summer. From September through February is the hunting season, meat of all kinds is served and eaten, often in very sophisticated dishes that commemorate the success of the hunt. Shellfish and oysters are at their peak as winter turns to spring, and they tend to load up outside restaurants.


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