What are the 5 mother sauces as defined by Auguste Escoffier in the twentieth century? Béchamel, Velouté, Espagnole, Hollandaise and Tomate.

Never miss a post
Name: 
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields
Correct invalid entries

What are the four mother sauces?

Published by Friday, November 13, 2015 Permalink 0

What are the four mother sauces as defined by French chef Carême in the nineteenth century? Tomate, Béchamel, Velouté and Espagnole.

Never miss a post
Name: 
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields
Correct invalid entries

Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.

Never miss a post
Name: 
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields
Correct invalid entries
— Wendell Berry

What to Eat in France: The History of Sauce

Published by Friday, November 13, 2015 Permalink 0

by Jonell Galloway

Sauces were once the domain of French haute cuisine, aristocratic food. This started changing after the Revolution, first in the bourgeoisie, who copied the ways of the former royalty, and eventually in restaurants.

In France, there have always been sauces. Even the Franks and the Gauls moistened their food with a “flavored liquid.”

French cuisine, influenced by Roman cuisine, saw the first sauce recipes using meat jus in the fifth and sixth centuries, and were then called saulce. To the jus was added vinegar, wine, acidic fruits and spices. The Romans had already used ginger and cloves, but in the eleventh century, the Crusaders brought back others from the Levant, including cinnamon, the most commonly used, galangal (or ginger), coriander seeds, cumin, nutmeg, cardamom, saffron, grains of paradise and pepper. The acidic quality was often given to sauces through the addition of verjus, made from green grapes, which are not yet sweet in flavor and remain acidic, or with other acidic fruit such as apple, lemon or plums. Verjus is still used in French sauces.

Guillaume Tirel, known as Taillevent (after whom a Paris palace of gastronomy is named), wrote the first known cookbook, Le Viandier, around 1375. Stews and other slow-cooked dishes didn’t yet exist; most meat was boiled or cooked over a spit, i.e. quite plain, so sauces were a way to liven them up. About thirty sauces have been recorded during the medieval period. They of course featured in the cuisine of the well-to-do; most common people were still eating gruel, as they always had.

During the Renaissance, spices dropped out of French cuisine. It was the halcyon days for sauces, which proliferated. Slow-cooked sauces were invented using fonds, mirepoix, butter and flour for thickening. Simple jus and coulis became common. Recipes for green sauces from Italy using new ingredients and herbs were also popular and easy to make since herbs were plentiful and grew wild in even the coldest parts of France.

It was La Varenne in the seveneenth century who started precisely defining sauces and how they’re made and documented roux, which then consisted of a paste of flour and lard for thickening:

Thickening of flowre
Melt some lard, take out the mammocks; put your flowre into your melted lard, seeth it well, but have a care it stick not to the pan, mix some onion with it proportionably. When it is enough, put all with good broth, mushrums and a drop of vinegar. Then after it hath boiled with its seasoning, pass all through the strainer and put it in a pot. When you will use it, you shall set it upon warm embers for to thicken or allay your sauces.—
The French Cook, Francois Pierre La Varenne

To the “low-fat” sauces of the Middle Ages were added bread, eggs and cream, making them much heavier, and herbs replaced spices from the Orient. Roux was the thickener of choice. Beurre blanc and hollandaise sauce accompanied pike, a popular dish.

In the eighteenth century, Carême perfected the art of sauce making and was the first to classify the mother sauces: béchamel, espagnole, velouté, and allemande. Auguste Escoffier later refined this list to the contemporary five mother sauces by dropping allemande as a daughter sauce of velouté, adding hollandaise and sauce tomate, in his classic Le Guide Culinaire, published in 1903.

Today, French people of all social and economic classes eat sauce. It is not restricted to the wealthy or the aristocrats. Just about anyone can whip up mayonnaise without a recipe.

—————————-

Jonell Galloway grew up on Wendell Berry and food straight from a backyard Kentucky garden. She is a freelance writer. She attended Le Cordon Bleu and La Varenne cooking schools in Paris and the Académie du Vin, worked for the GaultMillau restaurant guide and CityGuides in France and Paris and for Gannett Company in the U.S., and collaborated on Le tour du monde en 80 pains / Around the World with 80 Breads with Jean-Philippe de Tonnac in France; André Raboud, Sculptures 2002-2009 in Switzerland; Ma Cuisine Méditerranéenne with Christophe Certain in France, At the Table: Food and Family around the World with Ken Albala, and a biography of French chef Pierre Gagnaire. She ran a cooking school in France, and owned a farm-to-table restaurant, The Three Sisters’ Café, with her two sisters in the U.S. She organizes the Taste Unlocked bespoke food and wine tasting awareness workshops with James Flewellen, is an active member of Slow Food, and runs the food writing website The Rambling Epicure. Her work has been published in numerous international publications and she has been interviewed on international public radio in France, Switzerland, and the U.S. She has just signed on at In Search of Taste, a British print publication, and is now working on two books, The French and What They Eat and What to Eat in Venice.

Never miss a post
Name: 
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields
Correct invalid entries

Is French Cuisine Dead?

Published by Friday, November 13, 2015 Permalink 0

We sponsored a Twitter chat “Is French Cuisine Dead?” a couple of months ago. You can view the discussions here or by searching the hashtag #FutureFrenchCuisine.

Haute cuisine may well be unaffordable for ordinary people — it always has been — but regional cuisine is what the people eat and remains affordable. It is eaten in local bistros, which are reasonably priced and nowhere near disappearing; it is eaten in homes. French regional cuisine is a reflection of the soil, people and language, a reflection of the seasons and family; it is what memories are made of. It is the product of a place and of a people and the French people are very much alive.

 

Never miss a post
Name: 
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields
Correct invalid entries

Is French Cuisine Dead?

Published by Friday, November 13, 2015 Permalink 0

We sponsored a Twitter chat “Is French Cuisine Dead?” a couple of months ago. You can view the discussions here or by searching the hashtag #FutureFrenchCuisine.

Haute cuisine may well be unaffordable for ordinary people — it always has been — but regional cuisine is what the people eat and remains affordable. It is eaten in local bistros, which are reasonably priced and nowhere near disappearing; it is eaten in homes. French regional cuisine is a reflection of the soil, people and language, a reflection of the seasons and family; it is what memories are made of. It is the product of a place and of a people and the French people are very much alive.

 

Never miss a post
Name: 
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields
Correct invalid entries

14 Food Books You Must Read

Published by Tuesday, November 10, 2015 Permalink 0

“From blogs to many popular books, food writing is now among America’s favorite forms of leisure reading. Gaining usage as a term in the early 1990s, food writing is now composed of a range of genres—non-fiction, literature, recipes, journalism, memoir, and travelogues among them—that explore the fundamental relationship between people, culture and food. In the past decade alone, the number of books that touch on food in some form have rapidly proliferated, not only in quantity and but also in quality, as many of our nation’s most skilled writers are now taking food as their topic of choice.” Read more here.

Never miss a post
Name: 
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields
Correct invalid entries

Quintessential France: Café La Parisienne

Published by Tuesday, October 27, 2015 Permalink 0

Café La Parisienne, by Israeli artist Isaac Maimon.

Never miss a post
Name: 
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields
Correct invalid entries

NOTE TO RAMBLING EPICURE RECIPE TESTERS

Published by Tuesday, October 20, 2015 Permalink 0

I would like to thank all my American recipe testers before we even start. My recipes were developed in France and Switzerland, using French ingredients in a French kitchen, with an English-speaking French audience in mind. The difference between a typical French kitchen and a typical American one is enormous.

For example, in a French kitchen, we don’t have measuring cups and measuring spoons. We measure everything by weight and volume. I’ve converted my weight and volume measurements, but I haven’t been able to test them using American methods of measuring.

Continue Reading…

Never miss a post
Name: 
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields
Correct invalid entries

What to Eat in France: Soupe de Légumes

Published by Thursday, September 24, 2015 Permalink 0

What to Eat in France: Soupe de Légumes, or French Vegetable Soup

French children hate soup because most of the soup they get looks like the one below. You’ll not find any tiny pasta alphabets swimming around in French soup. It looks like mush or worse, children say. And it does. It’s anything but the bright, primary colors that would attract a child.

soupe de légumes lyonnaise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adults see it differently. In fall and winter, soup often replaces salad as a starter. It has a high vegetable content, therefore providing all the vegetables one needs for a day, and it always uses seasonal, mainly root, vegetables. Every region has their own version, as does every cook, and any day’s version depends on what is available at the market and in the larder.

Most French soup uses a classic potato and leek purée as a base, the same one used to make vichyssoise, no matter what the region.

In the country, there is a longstanding tradition of pouring a little red wine into the last few spoonfuls of soup, and drinking it straight from the bowl. This is referred to as “faire chabrot” (or “faire chabrol” or “fà chabroù” in other regions). All these variations come from the Latin capreolus. It means literally “to drink like a goat.” The tradition exists mainly south of the Loire. Today, it is mainly older people in the country who still practice it.

faire chabrot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This recipe is from the Lyon region, where they add a bit of cabbage to the otherwise classic base.

Recipe

Ingredients

1 leek
1 carrot
1 turnip
1 stick of celery
2 onions
2 potatoes
Chunk of cabbage
4 1/2 cups veal or chicken broth, hot
1 T. butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Slices of country bread
Parsley, chopped
Glass of red wine for each diner

Directions

  1. Chop vegetables into small cubes and place in saucepan or soup pot. (I leave on the skin for added fibre.)
  2. Cover with hot broth.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cook over medium-low heat for about 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Toast bread.
  5. Purée in a food processor or with a potato masher.
  6. Add butter and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Lay slices of toast in soup bowls.
  8. Pour soup over toast.
  9. Sprinkle with parsley.
  10. Serve immediately.
  11. When there are just a few spoonfuls of soup left in the bowl, add a little red wine and drink the rest of your soup straight from the bowl (if you dare).

 

Never miss a post
Name: 
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields
Correct invalid entries