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Old 02-12-2012, 06:01 AM   #91
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Phone with Word Ref. or A Mini Dictionary French-Eng.

A huge lesson learnt. However, from my viewpoint, it does not excuse the negativity about the whole country. You had a difficult experience at one restaurant if I recall from the thread.

French is the official language in France, and those travelling there should:
It is wise that when travelling thru Europe or outside the USA, to bring along a cellular Android phone with Internet ( for word reference dictionary ) and / or a Mini Dicitionary, English and the other language and a gastro dictionary installed in your Android would work too.

I would not have had this issue, I speak French.

I would look at this as a lesson learnt, and not to be repeated when travelling outside of the USA. Preparation as if you are doing a presentation for your job or an interview --- research.

Best of luck on your next trip !
M.C.
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Old 02-12-2012, 07:35 AM   #92
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Originally Posted by Margi Cintrano View Post
A huge lesson learnt. However, from my viewpoint, it does not excuse the negativity about the whole country. You had a difficult experience at one restaurant if I recall from the thread.

French is the official language in France, and those travelling there should:
It is wise that when travelling thru Europe or outside the USA, to bring along a cellular Android phone with Internet ( for word reference dictionary ) and / or a Mini Dicitionary, English and the other language and a gastro dictionary installed in your Android would work too.

I would not have had this issue, I speak French.

I would look at this as a lesson learnt, and not to be repeated when travelling outside of the USA. Preparation as if you are doing a presentation for your job or an interview --- research.

Best of luck on your next trip !
M.C.
I know there are cultural differences between the US and other countries. Humor and slang might get lost in the mix. Just a little advice, folks realy don't like being lectured.

Craig
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Old 02-12-2012, 12:29 PM   #93
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ok before people start to flame me, I must say that I have very little experience with French cuisine. I have been to Paris, and had a lunch in downtown which was thyme grilled lamb chop with fried potato, alone with 6 escargots with basil sauce. It was good, but for some reason I can hardly see how it's "French".

So I did some research on list of French dishes....

What are the common french (savory) dishes we see in America?
Coq au vin
Beouf bourguignon
Bouillabaisse
French onion soup
Steak and fries
Duck confit

Is that it... come on, there got to be more, since French cuisine is always celebrated as the most refined food in the world, but really, what am I missing here?
IMO it's irrelevant what French dishes you see in America. I've never been to France but I presume what you see in America will probably have been Americanized. They may be good (or not) but I don't see them as any valid indication of French cuisine as served in France. (Perhaps I'm wrong. As I said I've never been there.)

French cuisine doesn't just stop at the borders. It's simply a regional cuisine, and has many regions inside, and shares many things with other European cuisines and influences them and is influenced by them.

I like the ideas that Julia Child presented in her classic cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking. More than a cookbook it presents a way of cooking. More than just recipes with ingredients and methods you learn how to make simple food taste delicious. When I think of French cooking that's what I think of, making the most of simple foods with sophisticated techniques. Those techniques may be as simple as making one of the mother sauces from pan scrapings.

I think before you dismiss French cuisine as boring or indistinct you should read at least part of Child's book and cook a few meals from it. I don't cook a lot of French cuisine but I find myself often using ideas I've learned from Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:49 AM   #94
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So for this year's valentine's day I went to do my homework. I went to a popular french restaurant in Dallas with my gf. I think the menu items they have are quite french and not so much americanized.

She had mussels with saffron sauce (after some tasting I believe it has lemon, saffron, scallion, tomatoes and creme in it), and for entree peppered beef tenderloin with fries.

I had a venison terrine for appetizer and for entree a cassoulet with beans, sausage, braised lamb and duck confit. (I have been gassing for more than 24 hours now)

When I finished eating my cassoulet I found it amusing how both dishes she got are rich, classy ones while the ones I got are both peasant dishes lol.
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:20 AM   #95
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if you plan on marrying her, hyp, get used to that.
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Old 02-13-2012, 07:12 AM   #96
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the class or the gas?
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Old 02-13-2012, 10:57 AM   #97
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@Craig: Not Lecturing, Just Some Wise Advice

@ Craig,

Certainly, not lecturing, just some wise advice. I know France quite well. Had some maternal family there as well. My daughters and I had also studied ( and lived there for 6 months ) for an Advanced Certificate in the language there.

Even if a French person does speaks English, and everybody with a Professional position in a Miulti National Corporation does speak English, and quite well; they do not like speaking English outside their work.

To top it off, the dude who started this thread went with his lady for French cuisine at a French restaurant in an American city !

Have a nice Valentine┤s Day.
M.C.
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Old 02-13-2012, 11:19 AM   #98
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To me, I think French cuisine is about attitude, approach and techniques. I find the classic recipes feature the ingredients and their natural flavor by lightly enhancing them. Not masking them in spice or any strong overpowering flavors. Just good quality food enjoyed in all of its natural glory. Even the sauces aren't heavily flavored outside of what the natural main ingredients are. Flavorful, yet delicate. My mother, who is French(both my parents are) was always considered an excellent cook by many, cooks very simple dishes. Lightly seasoned, so you actually taste the flavor of the ingredients. I notice that even more now that I have gone on to explore many types of cooking. I think us North American's overdo our food and add way too much spice and salt and I think our tastebuds, as a culture, have become desensitized due to over spicing, and salting food. Processed food and overuse of spice has caused this. I think people expect more from French cooking but aren't looking at its subtleties. It's like Jazz or Classical music. On the surface it may not seem like much to some, but when you actually get into it, you realize how much it has to offer.

It's not as foxy as Italian
Nor as dramatic as in Spain
But what they do is so hard to copy
It's something that they can do with something plain....Jonathan Richman

I'm not saying it is better than other cuisine, but like many kinds of art or culture, it deserves some in depth experience to appreciate the qualities...

Bon apetit!
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Old 02-13-2012, 12:13 PM   #99
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Originally Posted by Rocklobster View Post
To me, I think French cuisine is about attitude, approach and techniques. I find the classic recipes feature the ingredients and their natural flavor by lightly enhancing them. Not masking them in spice or any strong overpowering flavors. Just good quality food enjoyed in all of its natural glory. Even the sauces aren't heavily flavored outside of what the natural main ingredients are. Flavorful, yet delicate. My mother, who is French(both my parents are) was always considered an excellent cook by many, cooks very simple dishes. Lightly seasoned, so you actually taste the flavor of the ingredients.
I think that pretty much expresses the ideas in Julia Child's book on French cooking.
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:35 PM   #100
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@ Rock Lobster and Greg Gourmet

I agree with the Rock Lobster┤s post and Greg┤s post answering Rock Lobster.

The products. This is a quintessential in France. The cuisine of the French is steeped profoundly in history too. Many dishes hail from former invaders, numerous immigrants, former Royalty, foreign voyages east and west and their seas, mountains, forests and orchards. Their products are sustainable and simple. Perhaps you are right. The products are so fine, one does not need to over spice nor over sauce ---

Each region has such brilliant products.

Margi. Cintrano.
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