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French Cooking History – 4 Golden Phases
Enlisting unforgettable and unmatched chefs of all times like Carême, Bocuse, Escoffier, La Varenne, Fernand Point, and Taillevent, French cuisine is considered as the basis for all basic forms of Western cooking.
French cooking is as old as the times when dining had just begun to become a fun time for the families. From being just another meal, in the 15th century French cooking created a new wave in the Renaissance Europe.
It was now when common foods started being decorated. Flavor was emphasized with new improved storage techniques. With regular new discoveries happening in food preparation, food preparation was now becoming an art form. Even the less or rarely used vegetables were served in a presentable manner with artistic carvings; for instance, garlic, truffles, mushrooms, etc.
In a lesser known fact is that French cooking was quite much effected with the Italians. For several reasons, French cuisine shares a lot with the Italians.
Here are the varied auras of French cooking.
1. The Medici Era of French Cooking
It dates back to 1540’s. In this era, Catherine de Medici (pronounced as MED-a-chee), daughter of Duke of Urbino married the-would-be-king of France, King Henri II. As she cane to France, with her came a host of skilled cooks. Experts in the way of Florence, the new queen became a great instrument of change. She regularly organized plush feasts and made it a point that all the influential women of the town attended these feasts dressed up in their best outfits. These feasts had become almost a fashion saga.
Just a few years hence, another Medici happened to marry some other French King. Food ideas kept pouring in and the culture kept growing. Dining progressively became an important activity in France.
By this time, just like the Italians, the French started decorating their tables with fine china, glassware, and trendy serving ware. All in all, dining became an indispensable part of the French culture.
2. Era of Le Cuisine François of French Cooking
As the dining culture had already been seeded deep in France, La Varenne, a known French chef, wrote history’s very first cookbook in 1652. This book was later considered as the Bible of French Cooking. This book featured detailed instructions regarding the preparation methods along with recipes arranged in an alphabetical order.
3. Era of Louis XIV in French Cooking
French cooking underwent another milestone in this era when ‘fork’ became essential & customary part of having food. Also Louis XIV came up with a new idea of serving food. Unlike earlier when all the dishes were laid down together on the table and landed up getting cold, Louis XIV introduced sequential serving of the dishes. It was now when the cooks started to experiment with varied odd sized utensils and containers to add that flavor of appearance & improved preparation of meal.
4. Era of Nouvelle Cuisine in French Cooking
As the newly introduced changes started to seep down in the households nationwide, the two cultures blended together in quite a Western manner. The blend of the old and new came to be known as the New Cookery or Nouvelle Cuisine. The methods of Classic French dining were quite expensive, time consuming and tedious. Here people settled down for some simple, modest, and practical methods of food.
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