After our week of French cookbooks, I decided to end with this book on the subject of why French home cooking is still considered the best in the world. Some believe that there is still nowhere in the world where food and cooking are so passionately woven into the minds, hearts, and lives than in France. It is a country where masterpieces of home cooking are a nightly event for some, whether for the family or a dinner party. This book will teach you how to master French cuisine, from the top twenty classic French recipes to the latest trends and influences. There are many other cuisines in the world that may rival the culinary grandeur of French restaurants, but when it comes to the home level, France reigns supreme. Home entertaining is natural and generous, and remains at the core of family and social life. Food, eating, and cooking seem to be deeply infused in the French psyche.
I think what author Trish Deseine is trying to get across in this book is that even though classic French home cooking will always be the base of recipes, one can still add personal touches to the classics and not take away the essence of the dish. Her thought is to try to make her readers want to cook rather than telling them how to cook. As our lifestyles and ways of communication via the internet have changed dramatically, with food blogs and recipes available at the click of a button, French cooks may add their own flair, but they still have the classic cooking in their bones. Even though a French cook may now pass a McDonald’s, pizza joint, and take-out Chinese on the streets of French towns, she will also pass countless butchers, charcuteries, bread bakeries, chocolatiers, cheese stores, fish markets, traiteurs, produce stands, and rotisseries. The majority of French shoppers will bypass the mega supermarket for the specialty stores, where purchasing is linked to a human face and not impersonal supermarket aisles. Food and cooking will always be a lively topic of conversation while food shopping and at the French table, discussing the solid base of popular dishes, but being adventurous enough to tweak and update with the passion of the French home cook.
If this setting is typical in France, then I can see why French home cooking is so appealing. I can’t imagine anything more comforting than eating at a table surrounded by fresh flowers and books. Doesn’t it look completely cozy? I bet there is a fireplace off to the left for a final touch – or at least I would hope so!
A French classic light meal is the Croque Monsieur, but with the egg on top, it becomes Croque Madame. Evening meals are cooked quickly and tend to be lighter than the noon meal. This would be a perfect choice along with a green salad and some tomatoes.
The ever popular French Onion Soup. I love that bowl!