How does the way one approaches food reflect our culture?
In 2010, the United Nations Center for Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added French Gastronomy to their list of “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”
The gastronomic meal is a French social tradition for celebrating important events. It is characterized by all the aspects surrounding food starting from the ingredients. They will go to farmer’s markets and specialty shops to buy high-quality, locally sourced foods, and might even have a discussion with the seller. The food will be home cooked, and everybody is involved with the preparation; from sharing recipes, cooking techniques, to discussing wine-food pairings, It is important for families to pass this tradition down to the next generation. They take great care to select wines that pair with the food, and to set the table beautifully. There is great emphasis on the joy of sharing foods and eating together.
The order of the courses goes aperitif, starter, fish or meat with vegetables, cheese, dessert, and digestif. Aperitifs are usually alcoholic drinks such as dry wines, that are designed to stimulate the appetite. Starters are the first dishes served and will be a cold dish first followed by a hot one. The main course will have fish or meat with vegetables, and then the cheeses platter will always be served in the order of mildest to strongest. Lastly, digestifs are alcoholic beverages served after the meal to aid digestion. Examples include brandy, fortified wines, or liquors.
I will admit, I became very accustomed to the French way of life: small breakfasts, long, large lunches, and late dinners. I can say with confidence that I never went to bed hungry.
Here are some of the most notable dishes that I had or tried while I was in France:
⁃Escargots aka snails and snail rolls – considered a starter, cooked in a delicious parsley garlic butter sauce or rolled taquito style and fried
⁃Oeufs en Meurette – also considered a starter, poached eggs with hard bread, onions, and bacon with a red wine sauce
⁃Beuf Bourginoun- Beef braised in a Burgundy red wine sauce and potatoes in a creamy garlic sauce
⁃Chinese Food From the Cluny Open-Air Market – From the left, there was paella royale, various fried seafood rolls, fried calamari, and samosas. From the right, you can see noodles with vegetables and fried rice. From here I tried the curry samosas, the calamari, and the noodles with vegetable.
⁃Poulet de Vin Jaune- chicken and mushrooms cooked in a creamy wine sauce made with Vin Jaune – a special and unique yellow wine that is only made in the Jura mountains, served with a side of rice.