Sunday, October 5, 2008

French Cooking

For many people, French cooking is the pinnacle of all regional cuisines all over the world. When people hear French food, they immediately associate it with ultimate lusciousness with impeccable elegance. But what makes this type of cooking so special? Is it all a hype, or is French cooking really revered by most food connoisseurs everywhere?

French cooking is special because of the way French people value their food so much. Eating is sacred for the French, if you have heard of their 5-hour dinners and thought of it as an exaggeration, you are wrong. French people really value their meals so much that they devote a lot of time for eating, making it an activity that is central to their daily lives. And for many of those who have tried authentic French cooking, the long sittings are really worth it.

Because the French value their cooking so much, they put nothing but the best in their cuisine. Only the best ingredients are allowed to touch the French kitchen whether it be vegetables, fruits, meats, poultry, condiments or anything else. The French also believe in the seasonality of food so ingredients are only obtained during their best times and thus they are able give their best flavors.

The best ingredients of course deserve the best treatment. And this is why French cooking seems so elaborate. French cooks and chefs take all the efforts in celebrating the wonders of food. They don’t want quality ingredients fresh from their sources to go to waste and so much care and skill are devoted to the French way of cooking.

The French are also keen to exhibit the great efforts they’ve devoted to their cooking by presenting their food in such lavish displays that by themselves are works of art. Some think that the French presentation of food is unnecessary especially garish. But this isn’t true for the French. For them, eating involves all the senses, not only taste, but sound, smell, touch, and sight.

This is why when you are about to take part in French cooking, you are sure to satisfy not only your stomach or taste buds, but your spirit as well. French cooking comes from the very heart of the French culture. It’s not all buzz, but everything you hear about French food is true. Try it out for yourself, and enjoy the delectable offerings of French cooking.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Get to Know the Rich and Varied Style of Chinese Cooking

Chinese cooking is arguably the most popular of all the Asian cuisines, thanks to its richness and diversity. The Chinese style of cooking we know today is the result of the combination of different regions in China, whose flavors and ingredients reflect their sub-culture, geography and history. From Asia to America to Europe, Chinese cooking is a force to reckon with, popular for its flavorful approach to cooking and food presentation.

What Chinese cooking offers

Chinese cooking may be divided into four major cooking styles, depending on the region. Canton style cooking, for example, is considered as the most popular. Because the region enjoys good weather, almost anything may be included as part of a dish. From seafood to fresh fruits and vegetables, this style of Chinese cooking has some of the most varied and sophisticated flavors to offer, characterized by meals cooked by deep frying and highlighted by rich sauces.

Another Chinese cooking style is that made famous in the provinces of Hunan and Szechwan. Rice-based foods are abundant, partnered with some really spicy dishes. The eastern and western sides have dishes that are dominated by fish and seafood.

Further up north, where the Arctic winds rule, lamb and mutton are common without pork, because most of the population are Muslims. Simplicity is the key word to describe the type of Chinese cooking here, as evidenced by the way rice, noodles and bread are served with cut vegetables and fruits.

In contrast, the cuisine in Beijing is more high-brow, featuring some of the most exotic and intricately prepared dishes in Chinese cuisine, thanks to imperial influence. Today, the best features of this style of cooking are evident in many of China's most famous chefs.

Highlights of Chinese cooking

Many of the dishes in Chinese cuisine are prepared in small, bite-sized cuts which make them easy to pick up with chopsticks and placed directly in the mouth. Some dishes, such as fish, are served whole and diners who wish to partake only have to use chopsticks to break up pieces and eat them directly.

Some of the most popular and well-loved foods courtesy of Chinese cooking include: noodles (plain and fried), stir-fried vegetables, hot pot, dumplings (fried, steamed or as part of a soup dish), soy milk, Peking duck, glutinous rice with either sweet or meat-based filling, steamed buns, filled or coated rice balls, pickled vegetables, hard boiled eggs, seasoned tofu, rice porridge and tea.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Home Cooking Tips and Tactics

Home cooking has its various advantages and disadvantages. Still, it deserves to be tried by every budding chef. For one thing, home cooking is highly economical. Also, you might find this to be one of the most rewarding endeavors you can try. Here are some things you can try as you venture into home cooking.

1. Have room for variety. If you are able to make your menu as varied and diverse as possible, you will be able to make more discoveries, try all possible techniques, and even develop your own cooking style.

2. Don't be afraid of experimentation. Always try to get your creative juices flowing. Never allow yourself to get stuck in traditional techniques.

3. Employ other family members' preferences and be open to feedback. Nothing beats the improvement you can get from honest evaluations of your cooking skills.

4. Always find time to cook. You use it or you’ll lose it. Regular practice will help you perfect your own style.

5. Be the master of your kitchen. Familiarize yourself with your environment, ingredients and the positioning of your refrigerator, utensil box and dish washing area. Make it as efficient as possible so that you’ll save on time and energy.

6. Unleash your creativity. Don’t be afraid of changing the way you do things or adding new ingredients to a traditionally prepared meals.

7. Involve other people in your home cooking. Link up with people of the same interest. Also, foster the desire to cook within your family.

8. Plan your meals.

9. Clean as you work within your kitchen. This way you will be able to save on time.

10. Organize your cookbooks in a manner most accessible to you.

11. Have a list of items you need to buy. Keep a note pad or notebook handy in case you need something to add to the list.

12. Work according to the season. Take the opportunity to make use of ingredients that are in season.

13. Have a system of cooking.

14. Learn to deal with leftovers. Know how to recycle them.

15. Read the manuals of the appliances you use in the kitchen.

16. Check the ingredients for expiration dates and take note of them.

Home cooking can be very profitable and rewarding in both monetary and non-monetary ways. If you are able to master home cooking, you’ll be ready for almost anything.

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