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Bon Appetit

Posted by admin on December 16th, 2009 filed in French Cooking
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Bon AppetitIn France, cuisine is actually the word for kitchen. So, the term “French cuisine” actually means the kitchen, and not the food. But to the rest of the world, “French cuisine” denotes the sumptuous food and drink that is native only to France.

The cuisine is one of the things that the French love most about their culture. This love of food and eating has stemmed from the custom of having family gatherings, wherein the whole clan gathers at the dining table to consume a feast that took many hours and much effort to create. This is usually done on Sundays, and includes a considerable number of dishes. The food is traditionally enjoyed with wine and good conversation.

French food is usually loaded with saturated fats. Butter and heavy cream are common ingredients to many French dishes. However, when compared to the inhabitants of other Western countries, there are fewer cases of cardiac ailments and other related diseases in France. Though the reason for this has yet to be proven, a popular medical theory is that considerable amount of red wine that the French consume offsets their high cholesterol intake.

The French are very serious about their cooking. Even the most basic dishes involve numerous steps and complicated techniques. There is great skill involved in employing the procedures. French chefs take no shortcuts. They take utmost care in executing every step, even if it takes them a very long time. Aside from this, they also have a very deep knowledge about the ingredients they use. They know not only the region, but the specific town, from where it is best to get every vegetable, fruit, or ingredient that they are going to use.

According to the French, every dish and every situation has a corresponding beverage. Before every meal, they drink an aperitif, which is lightly alcoholic. Sometimes, something a bit stronger is drank after the meal. This, in turn, is called a digestif. Wines are rarely enjoyed apart from food.

French cuisine has undergone a lot of changes over the years. These changes were influenced by the lifestyles of the French people, the ingredients that were available, and the foreign influences that were assimilated.

As in all other countries, French dishes have regional variations. Each specific place changes the dish to adapt to many factors concerning the location and the people. However, there are dishes that remain staples at every table all across the country. Examples of these are blanquette de veau, or blanket of veal and tartes aux fruits, or fruit tarts. Some gourmet dishes are also sold canned or frozen. Choucroute garnie is one of them.


Going Greek

Posted by admin on December 16th, 2009 filed in Greek Cooking
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Going GreekGreeks have a special philosophy when it comes to eating. They believe that mealtimes are very special, because it is not only a time for eating, but a social activity. This is why cooks are highly respected within their circle. They are held at such high esteem because they are able to make good food for their friends and family. Greek cooks put much effort into the food they serve, sometimes even taking days of preparation.

Some Greek dishes enjoyed today have their roots in ancient Greece and remain in use until the present. Throughout history, many foreign influences have been absorbed, and, conversely, it has also influenced the cuisines from other countries all throughout the world. Greek and Turkish cuisine have plenty of common elements.

The Greek olive oil is a very important ingredient in Greek cuisine. It is part of almost every dish, and usually in very large quantities. It greatly enhances the flavor of any dish it is added to, because Greek olive oil is made with high quality. Not only that, it is very good for the health as well.

Like Greek olive oil, plant crops grown in Greece are also exemplary in quality. Fruits and vegetables flourish in the mild Greek weather. They are not cultivated in greenhouses but planted outdoors. As a result, they have excellent flavor and an amazing aroma. Herbs are also a significant part of Greek cooking. Most herbs are collected from the countryside and up in the mountains. Adding herbs will certainly spice up any dish and add to its wonderful aroma. Compared to other Mediterranean cuisines, Greeks use herbs and spices much more often and in greater quantity.

Because of the topography of Greece, there are considerably fewer cattle ranches in the area. It is more conducive to raising smaller animals like goats and sheep. These animals are made to wander and graze freely over pastures that do not only contain grass, but special Greek herbs as well. As a result, the meat from these animals have a distinct and wonderful flavor. Beef is not common in Greek cuisine, but lamb is usually used. Also, among all the cheeses made in Greece, feta is among the most popular. Feta is made using sheep’s milk, and goat’s milk may be added as well.

Aside from meat, seafood is also used as a main ingredient in Greek dishes. Fish taken from the Aegean, Ionian, and Mediterranean Seas are flavorful and fresh. Charbroiling is one of the most common methods of preparation.


The NEWS of Chinese Cooking

Posted by admin on December 16th, 2009 filed in Chinese Cooking
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The NEWS of Chinese CookingChina is a country with a long and colorful history. The same goes for their cooking methods, practices, and traditions. Chinese cooking has been around for a very long time, and it is now known all over the world. Chinese dishes have a distinct color, smell, shape, and taste that appeal to Chinese locals and to foreigners alike.

Chinese cuisine can be divided into four major groups, which are concurrent with the four regions in China: north, south, east, and west.

The most famous of these is the South. It features Cantonese cooking, which is characterized by lots of seafood and fruits all throughout the year. South China is a coastal area. It also has a climate that is wet and warm throughout the year. This is perfect for growing crops, fruits, and vegetables. The cooking practices as well as the ingredients used vary throughout the area, but all of them focus on the good quality of the ingredients. They don’t use too much loud sauces to refrain from masking the food’s fresh flavor. Stir-fry, which is a common practice in Chinese cooking, is also not usually done here.

Like the North, the East is also situated along the coast, but the East also has low-lying areas where rice can be cultivated.

The West is abundant in rice as well. Aside from this, it also yields a considerable amount of bamboo, citrus fruits, and mushrooms. Many of the dishes made here are spicy. This is because there are plenty of chilies grown here as well. Some people believe that the food is made spicy to hide the flavors of certain ingredients that quickly spoil in the hot climate of the area.

The North, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. The climate is incredibly harsh, and not suited to rice cultivation. The inhabitants use barley, wheat, soybeans, and millet as alternatives. Many people in this area are Muslim, so they are not allowed to eat pork. However, because of Mongolian influences, lamb and mutton are prevalent. Fruits and vegetables are also grown here.

In China, people eat with chopsticks. They also use a wide spoon for the soup. Traditionally, the mainstays of every meal are a meat dish, a vegetable dish, soup, and a dish with starch as a main ingredient. The soup also serves as the beverage. The starch dish can be one of the following: bread, noodles, pancakes, or rice.

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