Food Culture and Tradition

Food, People and Culture Resources

French Foods Commonly Used


It does not matter which food you name: if it is prepared by a French cook it will look and taste “French”. Therefore, we must conclude that the foods themselves are not French, but surely the preparation technique, the seasonings that enhance their flavors, and the way they are served make all the difference. “Vive la difference!” Mainly the French enjoy foods that take time and care and are as lovingly prepared today as they were a few hundred years ago: sauces, soups and stews. It is understandable too that bread in many forms, but especially the ubiquitous baguette, must be a staple French food, although regional “crusty breads” are gaining in popularity. How else to mop up those sauces, savor the soups, and accompany those stews!

Vegetables are treated with the respect they deserve and are always fresh, freshly cooked, and served as a separate course, while salads are stark in their simplicity, quivering with crispness, aglow with the shimmer of a simple vinaigrette.

Fruits may be served in many forms but none so eloquent as the choicest served on a plate with nothing but a drop of dew to assure its freshness and a wedge of cheese to accompany its juiciness. Water is for bathing, cleaning, and occasionally an ingredient of necessity, but to the French it is not something one drinks. The beverage of France is wine, which graces the table, whets the appetite, and enlivens food flavors. What could be more basic than wine? And also the seasonings! Fragrant fresh herbs, a whiff of scallions or shallots, chives or leeks and, with a gentle hand, a little garlic.

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