There are many aspiring cooks who prefer not to enter the realm of working with alcohols as it's not something that they would normally consume. However, it's important to note that with most alcohols, very little, if any alcohol content is left during the cooking process. I have included a very informative article as to how to cook with alcohol to capture the diverse and rich flavors that can be added to your favorite dishes. There are several pages to the article and you can find the page selection button at the bottom of the article. What I found interesting is that on page 2, a link is provided that will take you to a table prepared by the US Dept of Agriculture that charts the actual alcohol burnoff when using alcohol in your cooking. There you will find what techniques completely remove the alcohol content or what percentage is left, depending on the cooking techinque.
The objectives of good food are taste and nutrition resulting in a pleasant experience, hopefully memorable. One technique used in a variety of ways to ensure a fine taste to almost any dish is reduction. It's the life saver to spark up the flavor of any dish that might otherwise be drab. I have found a couple of articles that explain the technique and offer examples of it's application.
When your food culture reflects diversity and is based on food quality, I don't think you can go wrong. It took me several trips to France to really appreciate Terroir. I truelly believe that if Terroir were practiced in the U.S. as it is in France, we would see a signigicant turnaround in the quality of our food choices in the general food markets and the revival of our small independent farms, which are disappearing. Here is an artical that will introduce you to the relationship between Appelation d'Origine Controlee and the preservation of Terroir, the origination of food products.
We should all know that "globalism" is not a new concept. Due to trade routes and the exchange of ideas through world leadership, in one way or another, we all influence one another. I am a huge proponent of nationalism and the promotion of one's own national culture. However, there is no denying we've all taken ideas from one another and tweaked them to satisfy our own likes and dislikes. With that said, I would like to offer you some articles on French Culinary History that I think give a good overview of the progression of French Gastronomy and how it affects us today.
As I mentioned before, Roland's mother is an incredible cook. What's so strange is that you hardly see her cooking! Somehow, she is so adept at timing what needs to be done that you never see her slaving away in the kitchen. She prepares certain phases of a dish before she actually puts the meal together. It's like as if she cooks by magic!
One of the dishes that she prepared for us on a recent visit was guinea fowl. I'd never had a guinea bird but it was incrediby delicious. I've heard many times that they are the best defense against ticks but I had never heard that people ate them. Hers was delicious and it took my love of French Food to a new level.
Here's a great info page regarding guinea fowl:
I really don't know how to convey the understanding that bread is a vital and beloved element of the French Food Culture. Bread seems almost sacred to them. When Roland began to introduce me to the world of bread I was one of those that believed that "the cheaper, the better". I had absolutely no concept of what quality bread even looked like. I had heard of sourdough bread but I had no clue as to the difference between artificially manufactured sourdough and naturally made sourdogh. I was amazed the first time I saw him peeling apples that would become part of the fermentation process that would be the start of our incredible homemade sourdough bread. Roland loves to make bread and during the winter months it's an especially nice treat to have the warmth and smell of fresh baked bread floating around!
I have some pics of various French Breads from our culinary tour, A Taste of LeBerry, that we took in 2010. Unfortunately, I've not got them posted in our photo journal, as yet. As soon as I return to Missouri from Texas, I'll try to get those up. Who knows? Maybe you will be enticed to make your own bread. Roland is available for cooking classes in your home. What a fun experience for you and a group of your friends to learn to make your own bread. Contact us for our various cooking classes and pricing.
Here are some articles I found of some who truely appreciate the experience of French Bread:
Food plays a major role in our lives physically, psychologically, socially. For some people, food is simple and basic to sheer survival and it becomes a challenge just to have a daily meal. When you have the opportunity, remember your local food bank.
When we do have the means and opportunity to enjoy the incredible variety and to appreciate the wonderful artistic and historical aspects of food, it's a true delight. But, regardless of what we think about food within our own personal food culture, we should never lose sight of the fact that food is fuel and that, as a machine, nutrition and physiology are quietly at work regulating our physical well being. Because good nutrition and what many of us consider to be good food can, in fact, be too very polarized ideas, it's good to have a little basic understanding of what metabolism is and why it should be a key factor in our personal food culture.
Roland has tried to explain to me why creme fraiche is so special and that often, it's been a challenge to find the real deal. I didn't get it until after I had some and, it's marvelous!! It is so versatile and can be incorporated into many things from desserts to the main dish. Creme Fraiche is a mainstay in many French dishes.
I guess I thought of it more like a sour cream but, in actuality, it's something quite different. I have included some different articles that will give you a taste of what creme fraiche is all about and some sampling of the different ways it can be used.
In addition to Food Culture becoming a hot topic in today's media, there is a growing interest in gardening, raising your own food. For the one who is contemplating the possibilities of urban or "backyard" gardening, or any other type of food production, now is a great time to "plant a seed". Seriously, as fall approaches, it's a good idea as a novice gardener to pick up some good publications as to what gardening is all about. With the winter cycle just a few months away, reading up on how to prepare the soil for next spring and making a plan as to what types of food you would like to produce is a good idea. One of my favorite late winter activities is the excitement of when seed catalogs begin to arrive in the mail. All their bright colors and promise of Spring's bounty, give me a burst of excitement that gets me through the coldest part of the year.
Gardening to produce your own food not only has the rewards of your own fresh, delicious fruits, vegetables and herbs, you begin to appreciate the goodness of the earth in ways you might not have done so before. It's also a great time to make memories and teach your family what food is about and that they can have a part in providing for the table.
I've found a great article that is a sort of primer for the beginning garden that has plenty of tips to include even the youngest members of the family in a wonderful gardening experience.
I really feel I would be amiss if I didn't include a good article on food safety. If you are considering going into the culinary arts or if you're an avid backyard griller, the rules should be the same. Whenever handling food, always practice good hygiene habits and food safety practices. And, check the numbers on your carton of eggs as one of the largest, if not THE largest, egg recalls in American history is going on right now because of a salmonella outbreak.
When Roland and I met, I was one of those people who opened the box or can and warmed up the family meal. After our marriage in 2005, I truely began to appreciate what food is really about, not only that it can taste very good, and be nutritious, but that it can be a celebration of who you are and the people that you share it with.