Despite a common pan-garlic chauvinism,French cooking is not a monolith: it ranges from the olives and seafood ofProvence to the butter and roasts of Tours, from the simple food of the bistroto the fanciful confections of the Tour d’ Argent. However, it all shares the seriousnessabout food.
Throughout the country, French cookinginvolves a large number of techniques, some extremely complicated, that serveas basics. Any cook will tell you that French food will not tolerate shortcutsin regard to these fundamentals. Because mastery of sauces or pastry dough it’sthe center of the culinary arts, recipes themselves remain classic andconstant. In a way similar to Japanese cuisine, it is expected that even thesimplest preparation be undertaken in the most carful manner, which meansdisregarding the amount of time involved.
This is one reason why French cookinghas always seemed so daunting on the other side of the Atlantic. Americans lovenothing more than combining innovation with time-saving; it is the particulargenius of the United States, and it couldn’t be more at odds with the Frenchaesthetic.