France is a country with a long history and rich cultural traditions. French cuisine is known around the world for its outstanding taste and refinement. This paper will explore the history of France and its culinary traditions as well as offer insights into the current state of French cuisine.
France has a long and interesting history. First scattered farmers inhabited the land in 6,000 B.C. By 1,000 B.C., the territory of modern-day France was populated by Celts, including druids, craftsmen, and warriors, who lived side-by-side with farmers.
In 51 B.C., this territory, called Gallia at that time, was conquered by Julius Cesar, and a lot of Roman theaters and other buildings were erected there. However, most of these architectural objects were destroyed after the conquest of Gallia by a Germanic civilization known as the Franks. As a result, Gallia was divided into three parts, with the western part being known as Francia (Michele, n.d.).
After Vikings started ravaging Europe, France was forced to give Scandinavian Vikings a large territory to make peace with them.
During the Renaissance and Enlightenment, France developed its artistic, cultural, and intellectual traditions. Finally, modern French history saw the country grow and flourish. Despite World War I and World War II, the country managed to retain its territory and assume a leading role in European politics and economics.
There were a lot of political and cultural influences in the past. As it was mentioned in the previous section, France was heavily influenced by Roman culture, Germanic civilization, English politics, and the culture of Scandinavian Vikings.
During the Middle Ages, France had constant contestation with England over the control of certain territories. Thus, despite the military conflicts and political tensions, the two countries shared their cultures which eventually made them allies in many historical periods. The latest example of this collaboration was during World War I and World War II. French and British military leaders coordinated their efforts to protect their lands and resist the threat of German hegemony.
France takes proactive steps toward improving its enviroallownment and reducing pollution. Since the 1990s, France has been transitioning towards a service economy; as a result, production activities in the country have decreased, thus leading to lower greenhouse gases emission and a decrease in the consumption of natural resources. One of the major milestones in the country’s environmental protection strategy was the enacting of the Energy Transition for Green Growth Act in 2015. Nowadays, France is a low-carbon economy because it relies mostly on nuclear energy. The country has a high-quality water supply, transport, and sanitation infrastructure. The air quality has greatly improved within the last several decades (OECD, 2016).
Speaking about France’s geography, it is important to note that the country is bounded by the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, the Alps, and the Pyrenes. Its geography allowed the country to serve as a linguistic, cultural, and economic bridge between northern and southern Europe. France is the largest agricultural producer in Europe, and one of the strongest industrial states in the world. Most of the French territory is mountainous. The country’s Mediterranean coast is a popular tourist area.
Finally, it is important to discuss the climate of France. The country is located mid-way between the North Pole and the equator. As a result, France has a temperate climate. Most regions in the country do not get too hot or too cold. In mountains, the climate is colder, with considerable snow and rain. The Mediterranean coast, on the other hand, is characterized by hot and dry summers and mild winters.
Staple items in French cuisine include potatoes, corn, and wheat. Nevertheless, people prefer to eat seafood, such as tuna and salmon, and drink wine. French wine is known all around the world for its exceptional quality and refinement. The reason for this is that the country has the best grape to produce wine. The climate and geography of France allow it to grow high-quality grape and use it for wine production.
According to Ketcham (1996), classic French cuisine emerged in the mid-17th century. Before that time, French cuisine did not differ from other European countries because recipes were simple and used only to create a certain effect in courts. Some of the traditional French recipes include omelet, bouillon, pastries, soups, and sauces (Ketcham, 1996). Other interesting traditional recipes that were described by Ketcham (1996) include hippocras, portage de chair, and marzipan tarts. Since the emergence of classic French cuisine, two major cooking styles were developed: haute cuisine, common for larger kitchens, and cuisine bourgeoise, common for small kitchens of the prosperous classes.
France is now witnessing a revival of bistro culture (Young, 2006). It is also important to note that there is a revival of classic French recipes in restaurants in many Western countries, including the United States. However, classic recipes are often modernized and lightened up. French cuisine is known for its use of complex sauces, poultry dishes, and rich stews. For example, chefs in New York City French restaurants are currently adding some essential ingredients to their dishes such as monkfish, morels, asparagus, and frogs legs.
Classic French cuisine is reviving in popularity in many countries around the world. Despite the reputation of being time-consuming, complex, and expensive, French recipes are very diverse and provide options for both high-end restaurants and home cooking. There is a lot of writing about the perfection of French cuisine, but it is much better to have a taste of its perfectly refined and nutritious dishes.