Sunday, December 27, 2015

French Tradition - Je me souviens



I must admit the recent lull in gang shootings over Christmas has been refreshing. Perhaps there is hope for this crazy world after all. I would like to take advantage of the break in violence to say a word about French tradition. Originally I was a chef by trade. When I was young I worked at a French / German / Swiss restaurant. I was raised with schnitzels and goulash and spaetzle and hollandaise sauce. Wherever you go, all the cooking terms are in French. That's because the French wrote the book on the culinary arts - twice. First it was Escoffier and cuisine classique as described in Ma Cuisine. Then they rewrote it and came out with Nouvelle Cuisine. Personally I like to remember the old and remix it with the new so the old ways aren't lost forever.

Back in the day they used to have something called chaud froid and aspec. At a buffet ,they would cover a ham or turkey with a white gelatin and cover it with intricate garnish. It was quite the art form. Then someone thought you shouldn't cover up the natural beauty of food and in the name of simplicity, the old ways were lost forever. I totally support Nouvelle Cuisine. I just think that many use it and the term rustic to become lazy and lose the old traditions. That's why I like to remember the old ways and remix them with the new.

England, Scotland and Ireland aren't know for their culinary expertise. England has roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, Ireland has Guinness and Scotland has haggis. More of a test of manhood than a culinary delight. The French refined the art completely. Yet it goes beyond food. French is a very romantic language. In Quebec they have a dozens ways to say girlfriend: mon amie, mon amour, ma vie, ma blond, ma chum - the list goes on forever. Another thing the French were passionate about was freedom. The motto for the French revolution was liberty, equality and fraternity. It was the French who gave the Americans the statue of liberty.

The French were known for their chivalry. They would have duels over honour. Netflicks is running a series called the Musketeers remaking the famous old story of the fight for right like Arthur and the knights of the round table. It leads us once again to the struggle between good and evil.

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