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Monthly Archives: December 2017

French Cuisine

The French cuisine of the Middle Ages stand as a sharp contrast to the present time. The cooking style then involved generous usage of spices, herbs, rich sauces and mustards for strong flavors. Numerous dishes were prepared consisting of sliced off meats like beef, pork, fish & poultry, pies, roasted swans & peacock, preserved vegetables and desserts. The food type was greatly determined by the respective seasons. The visual appeal was of paramount importance hence special attention was given to usage of colors with saffron, spinach, egg yolks and sunflower. Beer took a more prominent place than wine. The feasting was an extravaganza, service en confusion was the serving style predominant back then wherein food was served in unison. Only centuries later this practice got revolutionized under the auspices of King Louis XIV and meals were served in succession at different courses individually at the table.

The Italian Influence

The much advanced culinary arts of Italy came along with Catherine De Medicis when she married King Henry II. Her Italian chefs introduced innovative styles that greatly influenced the French cuisine. Decorative tableware, ornamental crockery and stunning glassware became commonplace and introduction of new foods like green beans and tomatoes were appreciated.

Ancien Règime and French Revolution

Paris marked the seat of the best culinary craftsmen in the 16th and 18th century—the period of Ancien Règime that saw the advent of the guild system of food distribution. Chefs were restricted to an assigned style or area, thereby hampering their proficiency and expertise. The French revolution later ceased the guild, opening new doors for chefs who could now experiment new dishes fluxing their cookery talents.

The French cuisine owes its eminence to their royal chefs— Carème, Montagnè and Escoffier, the pride of their time who introduced contemporary dining etiquettes, food dressing, artistry and décor, modern cooking styles that focused more on delectable ingredients rather on abundance of meal; categorized food preparation by specialists and authorized marvelous cookbooks that pared down and refined French Cuisine.

The Haute Cuisine

Escoffier was the eminent figure behind the French haute cuisine—‘high cuisine’ that unfolded in the 17th century. Accolades to Francois Pierre La Varenne who is also credited for publishing his cookbook Cvisinier francois that ushered in modern techniques of preparing light dishes and desserts with modest arrangements in a more codified manner. Escoffier not only brought in the ‘brigade system’ (segregation of kitchens in 5 sections) to fuse more efficiency in the culinary art but also penned down several cookbooks that turned him a much revered legend of French cuisine.

Info about Spaghetti Casserole


1-large Egg

½-cup Milk

8-ounces Spaghetti, uncooked

1-teaspoon Salt

½-teaspoon Black Pepper

½-teaspoon Garlic powder

½-pound Ground beef

½-pound Ground sausage

1-medium Onion, finely chopped

½-cup Chopped green chilies

½-cup Black olives, pitted and sliced

24-ounces Spaghetti sauce

2-cups (8 ounces) Mozzarella cheese, shredded

1-cup (4 ounces) Parmesan cheese, fresh grated


Cook spaghetti according to instructions on package; drain; rinse; drain again and set aside. In a medium bowl beat egg, milk, salt, pepper and garlic powder; add cooked spaghetti; toss to coat. Place coated spaghetti in a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking dish.

In a large skillet, cook the ground sausage, ground beef, finely chopped onion, chopped green chilies and sliced and pitted black olives over medium heat until meat is no longer pink and drain. Add spaghetti sauce and mix well; spoon over the spaghetti mixture.

Bake uncovered at 350° for twenty minutes. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake 10 minutes longer or until the cheese is melted. Let stand for five to ten top with grated Parmesan cheese and serve warm with some nice toasty garlic bread.

Italians And Pasta

The Italians bravely claim that pasta is all theirs from the beginning since it has fed the poorest southern Italian regions for hundreds of years. The gentle texture of pasta is a great partner to all sorts of toppings, spices and sauces. It has also been attributed to a lot of unique names as the Italians cannot seem to resist giving the strings, ribbons and other shapes with different names.

A passionate Italian eater of long ago – whoever he was – blessed pasta with its first name – maccheroni which is a derivation from the words ma che charini meaning, “My, what little dears.”

Today, there are different kinds of pasta ranging from the humble snail (lumache), bridegrooms (ziti), little loves (amorini), to the one-of-a-kind kiss catchers (tira-baci). All these are flour and water mixtures reminiscent of Italian lifestyle and all can be paired with artful sauces.

You would be surprised that there are more than three hundred names for a hundred different shapes of pasta. This, again, reflects the expansive nature of Italians and how they love variety in all that they do. To them, it is not enough that there are farfelle or bow pasta. To give variety, there must also be little bows are what’s known as farfallette. The bigger bows were christened with the name farfalloni.

All these descriptive words for a single food is not surprising when it comes to the animated nature of the Italians. This is a nation that is known for its artistry and gusto for life. Just imagine how their government is changed at least once every year and you will have a good grasp of who they are as a people.

Only a few people outside of Italy would understand the dramatic variations in pasta from one region to another. History says a lot about this and so does the Italian temperament. In spite of the 1861 unification of 19 different regions, there remained individualism when it comes to cuisine and culture. The cliffside Sorrento restaurant is likely to offer spaghetti alle vongole because it is near the Mediterranean Sea. In Sicily, it is not uncommon to find raisins with your pasta since this region was dominated by the Saracens for about two hundred years.

Effects of GMO Foods

Several animal studies show Serious Health Risks associated with GMO foods including:

1. Infertility

2. Immune Problems

3. Accelerated Aging

4. Faulty Insulin Regulation

5. Major Changes in Organs

6. Major Changes in the gastrointestinal system

7. Causing major Allergies to GMO and non-GMO foods

You may be wondering why the FDA has allowed this harmful process to be part of our food supply. In 1992, The Food and Drug Administration claimed they had no information showing that GMO foods were substantially different from conventionally grown foods. Thus, being safe to eat. However, internal memos made public by a lawsuit reveal that their position was staged by political appointees who were under orders from the White House to promote GMO’s. Also, the person in charge of creating the policy was Michael Taylor, the former Attorney for Monsanto, the largest biotech company. He later became Monsanto’s Vice President. The FDA scientists had warned that GMO food can be unpredictable, have hard to detect side effects, causing allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. They used long-term studies but their suggestions and studies were ignored!

So, how can we protect ourselves and our families? First, educate ourselves on GMO foods. Second, read ALL FOOD LABELS and INGREDIENTS before purchasing food items. Please understand that labels such as “All Natural”, “Gluten Free”, and “Organic” mean absolutely NOTHING! It’s a Marketing tactic! We now must read every ingredient listed on the label. A key to remember is if the ingredient is more than 5 to 8 ingredients and contains words you can’t pronounce, leave it on the grocery shelf!