UNESCO has chosen the “gastronomic meal of the French” to feature on its list of the world’s intangible cultural treasures. But what exactly is French cuisine?
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How we eat and presentation are all part of the culture.
I love a relaxed "French style" meal.
A formal meal in Wyoming means we don't use plastic forks.
Why can you only call it 'champagne' if it comes from that region and so on and so on - what if the whole world demanded the same - curry would only be called curry if it came from Goa where it was invented! Crazy - the Brits invented champagne! France is a multi-cultural society so it would be interesting to do a DNA on the people who were the 'creators' of certain foods, drinks etc. to define the true origins. Could be interesting!
As explained in the article, it's not just the food and the cooking by itself that made the list but the art of the table and the savoir faire as part of an ensemble - along with the food.
It'd be interesting to know what makes a UNESCO expert in the first place and to know how they debated whether or not to include French gastronomie as part of the list. Also, would Thailand, Italy or India make the list if they had a comparable art of the table as spread out around the world as the French do?
Frenchie and the Yankee
Vol-au-vent,cassoulet,rillettes, sauterne,chardonnay and hundreds of other exquisite french milestones are still guiding us on the path of le bon goût. However a genuine gourmet has to appreciate chinese cooking, morrocan one and others.
"The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a UN Specialized Agency which contributes to peace and security by promoting collaboration among nations through education, culture, sciences, and communication." Invite the Taleban for some foie gras, cuisses de grenouilles followed by cassoulet toulousain instead of fighting!
I agree French cuisine is great (superbe), but I think any traditional cuisine is something wonderful and worth preserving. Culinary traditions from some parts of the world are not as well advertised and they are greatly underestimated. Should we put them all on UNESCO list then?
Cooking is both an art and a science, and France is king when it comes to blending the two together and leading the way. What Cammas said is not accurate. A meal consists, typically speaking, of at least an entree, main course, and a dessert. If a Frenchman eats a sandwich at midday, that's not French gastronomie, that's modern convenience, which may be a part of the way France eats now, but it isn't the model. What we value are the long standing traditions and technique that the French taught the rest of the world to do properly. That's the point. That's why it must go on the list!
Apart from the order and range of dishes served, UNESCO's accepted description of the 'gastronomic meal of France' can apply to ALL cuisines in the world:
"...a customary social practice for celebrating important moments in the lives of individuals and groups, such as births, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, achievements and reunions. It is a festive meal bringing people together for an occasion to enjoy the art of good eating and drinking. The gastronomic meal emphasizes togetherness, the pleasure of taste, and the balance between human beings and the products of nature. Important elements include the careful selection of dishes from a constantly growing repertoire of recipes; the purchase of good, preferably local products whose flavours go well together; the pairing of food with wine; the setting of a beautiful table; and specific actions during consumption, such as smelling and tasting items at the table. The gastronomic meal should respect a fixed structure, commencing with an apéritif (drinks before the meal) and ending with liqueurs, containing in between at least four successive courses, namely a starter, fish and/or meat with vegetables, cheese and dessert. Individuals called gastronomes who possess deep knowledge of the tradition and preserve its memory watch over the living practice of the rites, thus contributing to their oral and/or written transmission, in particular to younger generations. The gastronomic meal draws circles of family and friends closer together and, more generally, strengthens social ties."
In the 3rd century B.C. Gauls already had a reputation as copious eaters.(Polybius)Over the years, as aristocracy developed, the quality and style which characterize French Cuisine evolved.But at its base, was (is) the French family table.When you consider that 80% or so of France's finest chefs perished in Russia under Napoleon, it becomes remarkable that France's cuisine is still as wonderfully good as it is.France will remain the greatest country in the world, and so will its cuisine remain the greatest in the world.
I applaud the French nation's ability to win over UNESCO, but wonder why the French think they deserve particular recognition. Italy? Morocco? There are many countries with divine cooking and great traditions featuring the kitchen and table. The French are masters at self promotion. As a food writer and author of cookbooks, I doff my hat, and I share my perplexity. The truth is, more than ever, it is easy to eat badly in France--at restaurants and at home. David Downie
Cooking is not a science? I guess I took cooking chemistry for nothing. Classic French cuisine, how it is presented, the atmosphere, and the etiquette are whats treasured. The French represent the pinnacle of Western civilization. Perhaps this recognition will be a wake up call to young French people to protect and preserve their great heritage. With wine consumption down 50% in France I am alarmed that French youth are not being taught by their parents or schools the importance of French rituals. If children do not participate and pass on those rituals to their children that culture will die in a few generations.
your food looks good
I was not initially certain of what my opinion may be on this given topic. Well at least until I read this following statement. ”It was ridiculous”, says Alexandre Cammas. “Cooking is not a science”. Perhaps cooking is not a pure science but science is absolutely a part cooking as anyone knows who has ever destroyed a sauce, baked a fallen cake or served lumpy gravy will attest. When a culture produces a method of cooking or standard of cooking that is preeminent throughout the world such that others adopt the principles of that discipline as fundamental and elemental to other cooking methods, I would certainly say it is noteworthy at some level.
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