Did you know?

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by n00bchef, Apr 14, 2006.

  1. n00bchef

    n00bchef

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    Did you know that the Italians originally taught the French how to cook? That was a Loooonnnnnggg time ago, and since then the French have become the defacto standard for all things fine in dining.

    Just thought that was an interesting bit of information...
     
  2. chef_oz

    chef_oz

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    This is kind of out of left field ...
    Got anything to prove this?
    people have been cooking since there was fire
    :monocle:
     
  3. castironchef

    castironchef

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    Maybe not "taught how to cook," but certainly French haute cuisine got its start from emulating Italian cuisine. From there, however, they went off in their own direction.

    Much like the Japanese starting off with Chinese influences and then creating their own cuisine.
     
  4. logghib

    logghib

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    I think this is sort of a weird statement - assuming that like, one day Italy's Civ4 player decided to open up a trading session with France, all like "I'll trade you our cooking secrets for 15 gold!"

    These are cultures with a lot of bleed, especially during the Roman empire when a lot of these countries had been affected greatly with borders. It's way more likely culture just evolved and grew and shared with itself, developing based on close proximity and similar natural resources.

    This seems like one of those strange bits of misinformation that is just trying distill history into a timeline fit for a video game.
     
  5. n00bchef

    n00bchef

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    Actually I am hoping a culinary student could step in here and back this up :) My uncle filled me in on this... He has taught at the CIA in Napa and spent a couple years in France at a cooking school there. (Was also a CIA student)... (his name is Chris Mazzanti if anyone has heard of him)

    Basically he said that he learned alot of wierd bits like that from culinary history classes.

    (So yes, I will admit its heresay, but I will see if I can dig up some text on this).
     
  6. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    I am sure he is refering to when one of the Medici's (Katherine I think) married the King of France and brought with her all of her cooks, chefs, and favorite foods. Yes, this was a significant milestone in the development of French Haute cuisine, but just one of many. Other major milestones of this development included the discovery of the New World (just think about how many foods were unknown to Europeans before its discovery, ie. tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, chiles, etc.) and the Roman occupation which introduced many things, including grape vines and wine making. This is only 3 major milestones, the list could go on and on. To blame, or honor, just 1 group of people for a nation's cuisine is to simplify it way too much. There are so many other factors and groups of people who contribute.
     
  7. mikeb

    mikeb

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    French cuisine is a fusion of MANY different influences. Italian, Russian, Bavarian, foods imported from the new world (the Americas), and more recently, Asian and Middle-East/North African influences (all sorts of spices have been showing up lately in French cuisine, Ras-al-hanout for example...).

    Did the Italians really teach the French how to cook? Who knows, certainly there was quite a bit of influence, but the French have taken it all and turned it into their own unique cuisine.
     
  8. diane

    diane

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    It is certainly true that the Italian cooks travelled with Catherine the de M bride. And certainly they had their own cuisine. I think the claim to fame might have been the introduction of iced foods. More particularly sweet iced foods. The [Italian] pasta is said to come from China. Maybe Marco Polo, maybe not. I think he is a bit sus. m'solf. The Silk road was well travelled by then, and the Spice Islands were being battled over with the Dutch.

    But don't you think in large part, they were confined by the methods of cooking? A fire is a fire, no matter on which or size of hearth it is set. And curfews were not used as a means of cooking. (Curfews were a snug metal cover for the fire. They had to be put in place when the curfew bell rang, in Dark Ages and Medieval times. In some countries even later than that. It was a safety precaution). I suppose I am saying that Gino may have spiced/herbed his wild boar differently than Gustave, Or Harry or Hans. But they all cooked them the same. No stoves of course then. Drip trays were used of course. The concept of enclosed space was slow in coming. I think it may have been the 3 sided 'box' backed to the fire that was first out the gates. That was so in England anyway. What do you all think?
     
  9. diane

    diane

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    It is certainly true that the Italian cooks travelled with Catherine the de M bride. And certainly they had their own cuisine. I think the claim to fame might have been the introduction of iced foods. More particularly sweet iced foods. The [Italian] pasta is said to come from China. Maybe Marco Polo, maybe not. I think he is a bit sus. m'solf. The Silk road was well travelled by then, and the Spice Islands were being battled over with the Dutch.

    But don't you think in large part, they were confined by the methods of cooking? A fire is a fire, no matter on which or size of hearth it is set. And curfews were not used as a means of cooking. (Curfews were a snug metal cover for the fire. They had to be put in place when the curfew bell rang, in Dark Ages and Medieval times. In some countries even later than that. It was a safety precaution). I suppose I am saying that Gino may have spiced/herbed his wild boar differently than Gustave, Or Harry or Hans. But they all cooked them the same. No stoves of course then. Drip trays were used of course. What do you all think?
     
  10. diane

    diane

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    Dreadfully sorry, double clicked and don't know how to fix it. :blush:
     
  11. chef mike

    chef mike

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    Yeah, Pete; what you said!

    Didn't Catherine de Medici marry a French royal?
    I believe that the Italians gave the idea of using forks to the French as well.

    Anyway, what difference does it possibly make, when one wishes to apply the traditions of either to one's own kitchen?

    For years, I believed that the French was "da bomb", the epitomy, the jewel.
    Then, as fine Italian grew to be more prevalent, Mediterranean "diet" recognized as healthy, etc., it displaced French as the ideal or most prevalent haute cuisine here in the U.S. I submit that the "nouvelle cuisine" with it's weirdness and vagaries, not to mention the ubiquitous Gallic arrogance, contributed to this unseating of the French.

    I can never forget a highly touted French chef from Chicago stating in an article, around 1974 or so- "I never use any flour in my sauces; butter and cream- that's light."

    When America was composed of colonies, European and English observers wrote of our cuisine (disparagingly), " ...all their sauces are made of butter."

    An observer of today might state ('specially after a heavy dose of B. Flay or other current celebrities) that all of our sauces are vinaigrettes and salsas.

    I will agree, it can get tedious cracking and roasting bones, deglazing and simmering, straining, skimming and reducing for hours and hours, just to arrive at what is still only a basis for sauces.

    Let's see, where did I leave the Italian/French topic?

    Then, too, I agree with both of Diane's posts, that technology, metallurgy, fuels, transportation, etc. all play a huge factor, as does migration, legal or not.

    What's real is real, and what's good in this world is really good. A lot of our trendy, current stuff is about as real and lasting as bellbottom jeans.
     
  12. diane

    diane

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    Great post Mike. I enjoyed that. It does make me wonder what the 'honey cakes' of thousands of years ago were like. My son and I ate some bread at Glastonbury, supposed to be the 'original' recipe from so long ago. King Arthur and all that. We liked it. Chewy, coarse, it had substantial wheat flavour. I can see how successful a 'trencher' would be, but I would have wanted to eat that too. All those soaked in meat juices. Yum. Chambers Dictionary of Etymology tells us that fork (forken 1200) was mainly referring to gallows. And also some sort of torture thing. About 1325 they say it is mainly referring to a pitchfork. They say 'several senses of the English word were influenced by the Old North French forque (fork), from the Latin furca, including the meaning of an instrument for eating, which is first recorded in 1463. It would appear that, although travel was fairly limited, those old bones got around.

    Carrying forks, among other things, but I don't think the curved tine came in until much later. I don't know when. But I shall find out.