8 Classic French Foods

For as long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by anything from France. The country just sounds so beautiful and stylish with its lovely people, romantic language, grand historic buildings, and high fashion. And of course, let us not forget about the food! Some aficionados say that there’s just something about French cuisine that’s so delectable that it gets you hooked. In fact, many people from around the world have come to love French foods, whether they be main courses or desserts. Now, here are eight classic French foods that have grown quite popular today.

1. Baguette

This is one of the most popular breads to go with just about anything. It is a long thin bread that is made with some basic dough. You can slice it, put a dab of butter, sprinkle some garlic on it, stick it in the oven for a few minutes, and you get garlic bread. Or you can put ham, tomatoes, and lettuce in between and you get a sub sandwich. Or you can just slice it and eat it as it is.

2. Foie gras

This food is made from the fattened liver of a duck or goose. This can be served on its own or as an accompaniment to a main dish, such as a steak. Now, this is one of the most controversial eatables in the world today. This is mainly because of the force-feeding of ducks and geese in foie gras farms. Apparently, you cannot have foie gras unless it comes from an overly fattened duck or goose. As a result, animal rights activists have condemned France’s continued consumption of this food, and in some countries, it is illegal to sell or buy it. But the tradition of foie gras consumption in France still continues today. In fact, foie gras consumption is considered a protected tradition in French law. Curious, isn’t it?

3. Steak frites

This dish is actually just a large steak with a hefty serving of fries. The steak is cooked with butter, and seasoned with salt and pepper. Some serve it with mustard or mayonnaise. A few years ago, a friend tried this at one of our local restaurants and he was surprised that he got fries with his steak. He thought it was a bit odd. But I love fries and so I was glad to take the fries from his plate.

4. Escargot

It is a dish of cooked snails and is often served as an appetizer. Yes, you read that right. They use snails. Usually, it is prepared by taking the meat out of their shells, and cooking them with butter, garlic, and some other herbs. This is one of those dishes I wish I did not know. But a lot of people actually love this dish. On top of that, escargot is considered quite nutritious because it is high in protein but low in fat.

5. Ratatouille

This particular dish has grown very popular partly because of that Pixar film about a mouse in Paris who loves to cook. And no, this does not include any rodents in its ingredients. That’s a disgusting thought! If you’ve seen the movie, you would know that this dish is actually composed of various vegetables, which are stewed in a pot and added with herbs and spices, usually oregano. I have read somewhere though that the traditional version just has three main ingredients in it; tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant.

6. Crêpe

This food basically looks and smells like pancake, only thinner. And it is also like the baguette. You can pair this with almost anything. This is usually prepared by putting something in the middle of a rolled up sheet, sort of a filling. You can use meat, vegetables, or fruits as filling. I usually eat them with mangoes and ice cream. It’s unimaginably delicious!

 

Gascon Diet and Health

Do you know that, in the Gascony region of France, in the land of Three Musketeers, the people snack on fried duck skin and eat twice as much foie gras as other Frenchmen, and fifty times as much as Americans? They are also slathering goose or duck fat on bread instead of butter and eat lots of raw milk cheeses, high in saturated fat and cholesterol…When Dr. Serge Renauld conducted a 10-year long epidemiological survey of dietary habits, he concluded that the Gascons eat a diet very high in saturated fat – actually, higher than any other group of people in the industrialized world. In addition, that region produces a considerable amount of foie gras, fattened livers of ducks or geese, the world-known French delicacy. If to compare the typical Gascon diet with the “healthy” one recommended by the American Association of Registered Dieticians, then we might suspect that every Gascon should be suffering from obesity, cardio-vascular disease, cancer, and have a pathetically short life…

Surprise! In accordance with the results of his research, Dr. Serge Renauld had to admit that “The foie gras eaters of the Gers and Lot Departments in South-West France have the lowest rate of death from cardio-vascular disease in the country”.

However, the typical, strong, healthy and skinny Gascon in his blue beret wouldn’t be surprised about such findings. One of the local farmers commented on the “unusual” results of the study in the following way: “There if nothing strange about it. The people in my family live to be ninety years old. We cook everything in duck fat. We have foie gras on Sunday. Everybody knows this is the long-life diet”.

Maybe, the average Americans would be much slimmer and healthier, too, if they listened more to the traditional dietary wisdom of their European ancestors?