"Discover Cooking, Discuss Life."

Go Back   Discuss Cooking - Cooking Forums > Recipes & Ingredients > International Cuisines and Ethnic Cookery
Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 11-13-2011, 11:27 PM   #1
Senior Cook
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 340
French cuisine = uninteresting? 0.o

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. Apart from pastry (I don't like desserts/pastry) and the fancy study like horse meat, foie gras, escargots, and all those expensive delicacies that's not eaten everyday, I found the "normal", day to day french dishes quite uninteresting... OK I used to cook coq au vin and many times, but still can't get over the poultry+red wine combination which I dislike. Other dishes like boeuf bourguignon, which is very similar to coq au vin and still has the cooked red wine taste that I don't like, fish stew (bouillabaise) is fine, mushy-looking pate and terrine really can't bring up my appetite, not to mention those stewed vegetables and common sausages and pork....

Maybe I'm being ignorant here, but from what I read, there's really nothing exciting about French cuisine. In comparison, every country in Europe other than France have some really well-defined style and signature dishes that are amazing just from the way it sounds like (as in, by reading the description).

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?

__________________

__________________
Hyperion is offline  
Old 11-13-2011, 11:44 PM   #2
Chef Extraordinaire
 
buckytom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: My mountain
Posts: 18,716
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hyperion View Post
ok before people start to flame me, I must say that I have very little experience with French cuisine...






but really, what am I missing here?

you answered your own question in reverse.


france has a huge range of regional cooking much like italy. it reaches from the north atlantic to the mediterranean. that should be interesting enough, but read this: French cuisine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
__________________

__________________
in nomine patri, et fili, et spiritus sancti.


Meh nom eh noh...doot dooooo do do do.
buckytom is offline  
Old 11-13-2011, 11:49 PM   #3
Senior Cook
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 340
Quote:
Originally Posted by buckytom View Post
you answered your own question in reverse.


france has a huge range of regional cooking much like italy. it reaches from the north atlantic to the mediterranean. that should be interesting enough, but read this: French cuisine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
already read that, very boring. first of all it doesn't give me a list of dishes (I did see the wikipedia page about french dishes, which is very uninteresting), secondly, after reading it, I still don't have a clue about what French cuisine is about. It seems almost like, French food is more a way of cooking than a collection of defined dishes. I just don't get it.
__________________
Hyperion is offline  
Old 11-13-2011, 11:59 PM   #4
Chef Extraordinaire
 
buckytom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: My mountain
Posts: 18,716
boring? the article tried to show all of the different regions and local foods, and that a unifying attitude toward "fresh and local" makes each of them great.

a range of cuisine reaching from the simple seafood of brittany, to wine and cheese, to cream and fresh herbs, to a sauce for everything, to roasts, to the citrus and semi-tropical cuisine of the southern coast boring?

if you want actual recipes, take a look at julia childs' books.
__________________
in nomine patri, et fili, et spiritus sancti.


Meh nom eh noh...doot dooooo do do do.
buckytom is offline  
Old 11-14-2011, 12:12 AM   #5
Senior Cook
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 340
Quote:
Originally Posted by buckytom View Post
a range of cuisine reaching from the simple seafood of brittany, to wine and cheese, to cream and fresh herbs, to a sauce for everything, to roasts, to the citrus and semi-tropical cuisine of the southern coast boring?
.
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.
__________________
Hyperion is offline  
Old 11-14-2011, 12:27 AM   #6
Chef Extraordinaire
 
buckytom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: My mountain
Posts: 18,716
so, you didn't actually read the wiki article. you got bored and skipped through it, lol, didn't you.

it's ok to admit it...
__________________
in nomine patri, et fili, et spiritus sancti.


Meh nom eh noh...doot dooooo do do do.
buckytom is offline  
Old 11-14-2011, 12:47 AM   #7
Wine Guy
 
Steve Kroll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 5,408
It sounds to me like you are trying to encapsulate an entire culture's cuisine into a single soundbite (pun intended). When you think Italy, you think pasta. When you think German, you think sour foods and pork. I think those are more the Americanized ideals of those cuisines. German food is much more complex than just sour and pork, and I've tasted some amazing dishes in Italy that have nothing to do with pasta and red sauce.

If you want French cuisine encapsulated, then I would have to say that, at its most basic level, it's simple peasant food that's been elevated.

Think about it. The French take all of these leftover bits that other cultures typically toss aside and make something delectable. Who would've ever considered taking garden snails or frog's legs and turning them into haute cuisine? Or how about Aspic, which is made from collagen? Even Coq au Vin (which you obviously don't care for) is traditionally made from a tough old rooster.

The dishes you are calling "expensive delicacies" really aren't expensive items at all, but are really the heart of French cooking.
__________________
Steve Kroll is offline  
Old 11-14-2011, 12:49 AM   #8
Senior Cook
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 340
Quote:
Originally Posted by buckytom View Post
so, you didn't actually read the wiki article. you got bored and skipped through it, lol, didn't you.

it's ok to admit it...
lol I did... it didn't happen with Italian cuisine though! I read every word of it
__________________
Hyperion is offline  
Old 11-14-2011, 12:55 AM   #9
Senior Cook
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 340
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Kroll View Post
It sounds to me like you are trying to encapsulate an entire culture's cuisine into a single soundbite (pun intended). When you think Italy, you think pasta. When you think German, you think sour foods and pork. I think those are more the Americanized ideals of those cuisines. German food is much more complex than just sour and pork, and I've tasted some amazing dishes in Italy that have nothing to do with pasta and red sauce.

If you want French cuisine encapsulated, then I would have to say that, at its most basic level, it's simple peasant food that's been elevated.

Think about it. The French take all of these leftover bits that other cultures typically toss aside and make something delectable. Who would've ever considered taking garden snails or frog's legs and turning them into haute cuisine? Or how about Aspic, which is made from collagen? Even Coq au Vin (which you obviously don't care for) is traditionally made from a tough old rooster.

The dishes you are calling "expensive delicacies" really aren't expensive items at all, but are really the heart of French cooking.
I agree with you. I love rustic food and in my understanding, many Italian dishes are the same way, elevated from dishes of the poor.

However, the culprit here is, many of those "toss-away" ingredients back then are now highly priced items and thus have lost their true "color". frog legs, large duck livers, snails, old roosters (where can you find that lol) are no longer readily available today so they are no longer "rustic". I just don't know what we can make today that's still French and yet not expensive, besides those few ones listed above lol.

I guess one may try to follow the "spirit" of French cooking like you said which is turning cheap, readily available ingredients to something good. But guess what's cheap and readily available today? processed, manufactured, preservative-ridden junk food lol.
__________________
Hyperion is offline  
Old 11-14-2011, 01:10 AM   #10
Cook
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 95
Blasphemer! Julia Child would turn in her grave if she read this! :) Okay, I understand your confusion, because, let's face it, French cuisine is put on a rather high and mysterious pedestal. You, Bucky, and Steve are all somewhat correct in what you say. However, you do not need all of those "expensive, toss-away" ingredients in order to make a French meal. First off, the spices and herbs the French use are not very powerful like Mexican and Indian cuisines use. French herbs and spices are meant to add subtle layers of flavor. Also, it really does matter what region you are in. If you go to Marseilles, then you will encounter LOTS of seafood, whereas if you go North, you will encounter more game. I really suggest getting Mastering the Art of French Cooking, if not only to see a reliable source of examples of French cuisine, then also to have bragging rights that you have it in the first place. Here's a quick French meal that you could make:

Season chicken breasts with a bit of thyme, pepper, and salt and saute them on the stove.

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.

Saute some fresh spinach and garlic with butter, season with salt and pepper.

Voila, you have a French meal. What makes it French? Je ne sais pas, mais c'est la vie :)

P.S. If you really want to be French, eat a salad after your main course, have cheese for dessert, and drink prodigious amounts of wine. Bon appetit!
__________________

__________________
Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts! ~James Beard
cmontg34 is offline  
Closed Thread

Tags
None

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



» Discuss Cooking on Facebook

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:31 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.