French Cooking Tricks You Need In Your Life
To say French cuisine is well-established would be putting it mildly. A more accurate verdict would be that French cuisine is perhaps the most important in the world, this being validated by the cuisine’s enshrinement in UNESCO‘s Intangible Cultural Heritage list. As such a prominent world cuisine, we have the French to thank for many gastronomic inventions, including kitchen vernacular. But the biggest impact French cuisine has had is ultimately how people all across the world approach food and eating.
As explained by The Guardian, during the 19th and 20th centuries, French cooking completely altered how millions of people viewed food. The practice of cooking was transformed from a job to an art, and the legacy of French chefs who worked during this time, such as Auguste Escoffier, is still being felt today.
But despite this esteemed history, in the modern day, French cuisine has a mixed reputation. Many professionals and customers feel as if other, more daring world cuisines have surpassed this antiquated one as the world’s finest (via Forbes). For the amateur cook, however, French cuisine still offers countless, incredibly relevant, lessons and tricks that, when mastered, can elevate their gastronomic skills immeasurably. The French cooking tips included in this article are by no means an exhaustive list. However, mastering these will help you form a solid culinary foundation, setting you up to excel no matter what cuisine you are cooking.
Build your mise en place
When it comes to cooking, being prepared will only improve the quality of the end result, and ensuring you are ready for the cooking process is, as Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts highlights, the main reason behind building a mise en place. In a practical sense, a mise en place is composed of all the ingredients a cook needs, pre-prepared and in the correct measurements, meaning all they need to do is add them at the right moment. This allows cooks to concentrate on the task at hand, enabling them to avoid mistakes associated with ill-preparedness, such as inadvertently allowing a sauce to burn as they look for a relevant ingredient.
Even if an individual is competent enough to cook effectively without a mise en place it is still advised they build one. This is quite simply because it allows cooks to fully immerse themselves in the moment, as chef and culinary instructor Barbara Rich explains. "Cooking is a lot more enjoyable when you’re organized, and getting ready to cook is almost as important as cooking," she said. "You want to enjoy both parts of it, and then you want to enjoy the food in the end," (via Insider).
Be liberal with butter
As Vogue reports, butter had its reputation tainted by marketing campaigns from the early 20th century. These touted alternative forms of cooking fats as healthier, cleaner, and tastier. It is only now, some 100 years later, that opinions on butter are reverting from one of fear to one of reverence. While many Americans still prefer to flirt with alternatives to butter, French cuisine has always championed the dairy product, emphasizing its use at every turn. The result, as you would expect, is a cuisine that is huge on flavor, a fact reinforced by butter-rich French favorites such as croissants.
Thankfully, this is a tip that is extremely easy to adopt in any kitchen as adding extra butter will greatly improve the final taste and texture of most dishes. In an interview with Love Food, celebrity chef James Martin explained, "Anybody who is a chef will tell you that you can’t cook without butter […] It’s just one of those ingredients that it doesn’t matter what you do with it, it’ll improve your cooking. And it also hits home with everyone because everybody knows about it and has a story to go with it. Nearly every country in the world uses it – whether you’re cooking classically French or whether you’re doing something Italian or Indian, butter is involved."