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  French cooking is indeed an art, but an art that seems to come so naturally to the French.  French cuisine can be created by a novice, or someone trained by an expert chef, or the expert chefs themselves, to create the seemingly impossible.

Great gourmet food is an exacting art to a chef, and one that the French chefs are proud of, and rightly so.  Many
of the great chefs in France learned their basic skills from  their mothers and grandmothers. These special mother chefs [quite famous in their  own rights], were called 'Mères'. 

Anyone that loves good food, and loves to cook, can prepare the majority of the well-known French classic dishes and most are easy and of course...simply delicious

Cooking Techniques Relates theTypes of Cooking Methods 
In this section you'll find basic cooking techniques for meats, vegetables, desserts overall. The French phrase for the cooking method is noted, as well as comparable methods. Example:  Baking and Roasting are similar procedures.

    1.    Baking         [a] faire cuire au four
    2.    Braising    braiser
    3.    Broiling         [b] faire rôtir
    4.    French-frying   frire à la friteuse
    5.    Frying   not a French term
    6.    Grilling         [b] faire griller
    7.    Poaching   pocher
    8.    Roasting      [a] rôtir
    9.    Sautéing   faire sauter
  10.    Flambéing   flamber

Of the above approaches to cooking food, Baking and Roasting [a] are basically identical, as are Broiling and Grilling [b].  The first pair really refers to cooking through the use of dry heat; the second group entails cooking oiled food on a preheated grill or in a preheated broiler.  Essentially, there are only six differential, but analogous ways to cook food: Baking or Roasting; Braising; Broiling-Grilling; French-frying; Poaching and Sautéing.


As stated above, dry heat is used in preparing the food.  To make sure the heat is dry, the oven is preheated to about 450°, and the heat is gradually reduced as the food warms to a low of about 325°.  When the quantities are small, the food can be placed in a continuously 425° oven for a shorter time.  The idea behind adjusting temperature and baking time is to insure browning without drying out the food.

Roasts should never be covered; they should be basted from time-to-time with butter or oil and, when done, should be placed on a hot platter until their cooking stops.

You can test the doneness of meat by inserting a skewer into the thickest part of the meat, leaving it there for 1.5 to 2 minutes before removing it and putting it on a white plate.  If the juice that drips from the skewer is red, the meat is rare; if it is pink, the meat is medium.  When the juice is clear, or white colored, the meat is well done.


For the best results in braising food, you should cook it in a liquid that has been enriched with stock, wine or the liquid of vegetables.  A less tasty version is made just using water, but the water doesn’t make much of a sauce.

I like to braise with a combination of either white or red wine together with a stock made from such vegetables as celery, carrots, mushrooms, onions, parsley and shallots.  Other good combinations are wine, garlic and tomatoes.  The fact of the matter is that virtually any combination of wine and vegetables will work.


As previously mentioned, broiling-grilling is the result of placing oiled foods on to a hot grill or into a preheated oven.  There are two keys to this cooking approach:  The food must be pre-oiled and the oven or grill must be pre-heated.

A good rule of thumb is that the thicker [or bigger] the item to cook, the longer it should be cooked and at a further distance from the heat source; thin cuts of fish and meat should be broiled-grilled quickly and without turning.  But, no matter how long they have been cooked, they should be placed on a warm platter with their grilled-broiled sides facing up.


The final cooking stage after sautéing beef, chicken, pork, veal, fish, seafood or vegetables, by pouring a liqueur, wine, brandy or other spirit over your food, and igniting it to flambé. You must use extreme caution when doing this. Especially women with long hair and the use of hairspray, their hair can also be ignited.  This can happen with shortert hair too, so be very cautious.  You must light the liqueur and remove your hand instantly, so that you do not burn you hand and ignite your clothing.  This is very volatile, so again USE CAUTION.


Cooking food in a shallow skillet or pan with oils or butter or grease from meats is called frying.  This process can be applied to almost any type vegetable, meat or other food.  Food should not be fried in high saturated fat oils such as meat fats, lard, etc.  However, olive oil and other low saturated fat oils should be used, and used sparingly. Thus it becomes 'sautéing', see below.


Cooking food in deep, hot oil or fat is called French-frying.  But, to do it right, you should use a fat or oil that has a high flash point.  I personally like peanut oil with a few drops of olive oil.  But, tasteless vegetable oil will do fine.

Foods that are not coated or that contain considerable water are first fried at about 360° until there is a mere hint of oncoming brownness.  After cooling, they are fried a second time at about 390°, until golden brown, to give them an enjoyable crispness.  That’s the way the Belgians make their ‘frites’.

Foods that are coated should be fried only once at about 390°.  But, make sure the coating is thin; a thicker coating causes more grease to be absorbed.

When you drain your French-fried food, place it on absorbent paper towels.  To prevent sogginess, don’t stack the food and don’t cover it.  And, always serve this food on oven-hot plates.


Poaching is the simmering or cooking of food in liquid, at just below the boiling point, to prevent high protein foods from becoming tough.  Should these foods be boiled, they would definitely toughen.

When poaching thick foods, it is best to place them in cool liquid that you rapidly bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Small pieces of food should be placed in already simmering liquid.

The poaching liquid you use can be seasoned milk, water, wine, vermouth, beer, stock, mushroom broth, tomato juice, etc.  Put very little salt, if any, in the liquid, and reduce the liquid to half to make a sauce for the poached food.


Sautéing is the cooking of thin foods in just enough fat to keep the food from sticking to the frying pan.  The pan should be hot, and not be tightly covered, and the food being sautéed should be tender and quick cooking.  To insure that the sides of the food are browned, there should be space between all pieces of food in the pan.

I like to sauté using clarified butter; but that’s a personal choice.




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