Recipes by Ethnicity: African Recipes
Costa Rican Recipes
Middle Eastern Recipes
United States Recipes
Beef And Onions
Despite a common pan-gallic chauvinism, French cooking is not a monolith: it ranges from the olives and seafood of Provence to the butter and roasts of Tours, from the simple food of the bistro to the fanciful confections of the Tour d'Argent. However, it all shares a seriousness about food. Throughout the country, French cooking involves a large number of techniques, some extremely complicated, that serve as basics.
Any cook will tell you that French food will not tolerate shortcuts in regard to these fundamentals. Because mastery of sauces or pastry doughs is the center of the culinary arts, recipes themselves remain classic and constant. In a way similar to Japanese cuisine, it is expected that even the simplest preparation be undertaken in the most careful manner, which means disregarding the amount of time involved. This is one reason why French cooking has always seemed so daunting on the other side of the Atlantic. Americans love nothing more than combining innovation with time-saving; it is the particular genius of the United States, and it couldn't be more at odds with the French aesthetic.
The French are predominantly Catholic and thus have no eating prohibitions, though many dishes have a Lenten variation. Moreover, the Gauls are not afraid to eat anything. Kidney, brain, sweetbreads, tripe, blood sauces and sausages, sheep's foot, tongue, and intestines are all common in French cooking and hold equal standing with the meat of lamb, beef, pork, poultry, and game. Quite the opposite of being exotic, these foods are at the heart of the bourgeois menu, with seafood inevitably being the soul, and vegetables, the flesh.