French cuisine has a deep and rich history. It is considered to be the quintessential form of culinary arts. In the 17th century, the food of France moved into what is considered the modern era. This involved moving away from the heavy use of spices and into more refined techniques and the use of more herbs.
Cheese and wine play major roles in this cuisine. This is also the origin of the “mother sauces”. Basic techniques are fundamental to the mastery of French cooking. Since most recipes are based on technique, the recipes stay classic and constant. There are no shortcuts in true French cooking. Care is always taken, no matter how long it takes, which makes undertaking French cooking daunting to some people in America.
French cuisine requires a deep understanding and respect for the ingredients. The chef should know where their ingredients come from and how fresh they are. If something is worth eating and cooking, it needs to be treated with respect and have time devoted to it.
French meals have a set order and tradition to them. Usually a hot hors d’ouevre opens, followed by the soup. The main course, salad, cheese course, and finally dessert follow. This is unlike American eating where salad comes before a meal. The French meal is always paired with the appropriate beverage. Every food and course has a specific drink that goes with it.
There are no religious eating rules, so French cuisine encompasses a wide variety of foods. Innards are commonly used and are actually considered couture cuisine in some places.
Cooking is considered an art form to the French. A meal should be a full sensory experience, to be enjoyed as a piece of art. A great chef is an artist and craftsman and are treated as such in France.