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Old 11-14-2011, 07:42 PM   #21
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Also, remember that a lot of American cuisine has been influenced by French cuisine too. Biscuits and gravy? The gravy is simply bechamel with sausage. Most egg custards are derived from French cuisine, as well as many other desserts. That said there's also German, Spanish, and English influences, to name three of many. Although I am a francophile, it would be hard to say there is one cuisine better than the rest. Let's face it, if it wasn't for some hunchbacked caveman thousands of years ago discovering fire, we wouldn't be having this conversation in the first place. :D
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Old 11-14-2011, 10:07 PM   #22
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All I can say is that if you don't get French cuisine, it's your loss.
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Old 11-14-2011, 10:45 PM   #23
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I think you're trying to make it much more complicated than it has to be.

Around the world there are a limited number of ingredients. What makes it French or Italian or Chinese or Hyperion's is what you do with the chicken - how you prepare it, season it, cook it and what you serve it with.

So you can have Coq au Vin from France, Chicken Cacciatore from Italy, Butter Chicken from India. All dishes of sauced/stewed chicken from different cultures. If you taste each you would never confuse one for another.
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Old 11-15-2011, 12:06 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by cmontg34 View Post
P.S. If you really want to be French, eat a salad after your main course, have cheese for dessert,
i always thought my family was weird because we ate salad after the main plate, and then often had cheese with mustards and raw veggies (onions, radishes, carrots) a little bit later as an evening snack.

i never realized how french we were being. i'm going to have to ask my parents how we came upon those traditions.
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Old 11-15-2011, 11:20 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hyperion View Post
this is very vague. Every country near sea has seafood. wine and cheese is everywhere in the European continent, so are cream and herbs. French cuisine does use a lot of sauces, I guess that's typical french. citrus and semi tropical? Central and southern american cuisine totally take that on.

Seriously, what is really special about french cuisine that other cuisines don't have? If you look at, say, German cuisine. you see less spicy food, lots of sourness, lots of pork and varieties of sausages, etc. Look at Italian cuisine, you see lots of pasta (of course), very simple/cheap yet fresh ingredients done perfectly to produce tasty dishes, the use of hot oven to bake highly hydrated dough. I mean, they both seem very defined.
If you are truly interested in learning what is so special about French food, I suggest two books for you: Waverly Root's "The Food of France," and Richard Olney's "Simple French Food." Both are available in paperback.
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Old 11-15-2011, 11:26 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by cmontg34 View Post
Thinly slice potatoes, and layer them in a baking dish, alternating between potatoes and Gruyere cheese (yes I know Gruyere is not a traditionally French cheese, but it's delicious and we live in a time where you can get any cheese you darn well desire) Season each layer of potatoes with a small dash of salt and pepper. Once you have filled this dish, drizzle a bit of heavy cream over them, cover with foil and bake at 425 until the potatoes are tender. Remove the foil and allow the cheese to brown.
Actually, I have never seen a potato gratin in France made with that much cheese. It's much more milk and/or cream, with a bit of cheese browned on top at the end. One of the richest and most delicious potato dishes I have ever eaten, but not much Gruyere (and actually, more often Comte than Gruyere) in the mix.
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Old 11-15-2011, 11:28 AM   #27
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Hyperion: here's a really tasty chicken dish that does not use any fancy ingredients, and is very easy to make. Why don't you try it and tell us what you think?

Chicken in Red Wine Vinegar Sauce
I include this divine Lyonnaise dish in a class I have taught many times featuring four (and sometimes five!) chicken dishes from different parts of France. Many of my students are put off by the title of the recipe, but when the class is over, they almost unanimously declare this dish to be their favorite!
makes 6 servings
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
one whole chicken (about 4 pounds) cut into 10 pieces—you could use all breasts or all leg portions if you prefer, but the meat should be on the bone)
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 shallots, finely chopped
1 cup top quality red wine vinegar
1 cup crème fraîche (or heavy cream, preferably not ultrapasteurized)
finely chopped fresh (flat-leaf) parsley for garnish

1. Mix salt and pepper together in a small bowl.
2. Heat the oil and melt the butter in a deep-sided 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat. (If your pan isn’t large enough to hold all the chicken in a single layer, use 2 smaller pans, and put half the chicken, oil, and butter in each one.) Rub the chicken pieces with the salt and pepper mixture. When the oil is hot but not smoking, use tongs to add the chicken, skin side down. Brown on both sides until the skin becomes beautifully golden brown, and the chicken is thoroughly cooked, about 12 minutes on each side.

3. Remove the chicken to a serving platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm. Pour off about one-half the fat in the pan. Add the shallots to the remaining oil and brown over medium high heat. Slowly add the vinegar to the skillet and boil until reduced by half. (The fumes will definitely clear your sinuses—great for a cold!!) Add the crème fraîche and cook until the mixture is well blended and has turned a nutty brown color, about 5 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan to coat thoroughly and heat briefly in the sauce.

4. Return to the platter, garnish with parsley, and serve immediately. If there is extra sauce, pass it in a small bowl.


Teacher’s Tip: Be sure the vinegar has boiled down enough before you add the crème fraîche or you’ll end up with a beige, watery sauce.
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Old 11-15-2011, 11:32 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by CharlieD View Post
ah, french cuisine, french cuisine, big deal, I agree nothing special. If I had the best wine in the world, if i had the best butter in the world, if i had best chcolate in the world, if I had the best meat in the world (ok maybe not The Best, but pretty darn close) I would also make some fancy, awesome tasting dishes. Try to cook when all you have is maybe a carp, maybe some syroppy, vinegary wine, and maybe chicken fat at best instead of butter.
You've never been to Lyon (or the Franche-Comte) Charlie, or you'd know they can work wonders with carp, too!

Chicken fat is nothing to sneeze at. And in the southwest, they cook with duck and goose fat rather than butter or olive oil. (And they live to be 100 years old around there, too!)
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Old 11-15-2011, 11:44 AM   #29
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All I can say is that if you don't get French cuisine, it's your loss.

I am sorry but I disagree. Escargot, snails? Get it? Really? They are most disgusting things that come to mind as far as food goes, well, after McDonalds, how can anybody get it? I bet there are pretenders there who would eat it and say how wonderful those things are just to be on a par with everybody else who thinks that French cuisine is the best. But in their minds they think that frog legs are just repulsive.
I'm sorry one can say what you want about how much a person likes a cuisine, any cuisine, but you can't argue about taste of a person. Never. You like one thing another person likes something else.
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Old 11-15-2011, 12:11 PM   #30
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Escargot are often cooked in tons of butter and garlic. Pretty much anything would taste good cooked like that-maybe even cauliflower.
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