A Taste Of France

Continental CookeryCC 1bContinuing with the Audrey Ellis article concerning Continental cookery, to provide a reminder of the ‘new fad’ of cooking foreign food at home as a reminder of holidays past, we come to France.

Long regarded as the home of classical cookery, France has dominated other European countries for food and the purveyors thereof, for centuries.

Now, without being cynical about this, I fail to see that someone who, by mere accident of birth happens to be French, has any more claim on how to produce the perfect omelette than my dog. (Best paw forward there Alice!)

French DishesBut be that as it may. These recipes date from the fifties and are fairly representative of what was perceived as proper French cooking though without the cuisses de grenouille (frogs legs)

GateauTo begin, a Mocha Gateau and a beef Ragout aux Ceriseragout with red wine and cherries, both very French in their look and feel.

All of these dishes were intended not as true french recipes but as ‘anglicised’ additions for the home cooks repertoire.

Also around this time continental wine was beginning to become more available in either specialist or larger stores but nowhere near in the quantities available nowadays.

Stuffed AubergineNew and unusual vegetables were also appearing and proper recipes for their use were needed.

TournedosEscargotsTo this end, articles such as this were becoming a feature of popular magazines.

Some things though, like snails in shallot butter, never really took off. Although snails were an unwelcome pest in the garden few people would go to the extreme of actually eating them to alleviate the problem.

They were of course available in the larger City hotels where the restaurant was beginning to making use of all kinds of new ingredients.

To finish here is a perennial favourite from the restaurant dessert menu :

Savarin au Rhum

And finally, a true classic,

Brioches

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