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bleudauvergne

Parisian/Parisien Cooking Defined

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In a discussion of a mystery gateau which we strongly suspected to be Breton, but the origin of which has been happily muddled even further, ptipois brings up an interesting point.

A recipe for Gateau Breton appears in a cookbook entitled 'Parisian Home Cooking'. Does it belong there? It's hard to say...

Calling all Parisians, native or otherwise! What is Parisian cooking?

Next question, what can we call Parisian Home Cooking, and how does it differ from the home cooking in other regions of France?

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My husband's grandmother was raised in Brittany, and having moved to follow Parisian husband when she was married 65 years ago, lives in Paris.  I can certainly imagine that the dishes she prepared as she raised her 11 children in Paris could fall into the category of Parisian home cooking

It's only a matter of knowing what a gâteau breton is or is not. A gâteau breton remains a gâteau breton wherever it is made, Paris or Hong Kong. Including it in a book as "Parisian home cooking" seems a bit weird.

I make a pretty good pho soup at home and I've been making it for years, but I wouldn't describe it as "Parisian home cooking" if I were to write down the recipe for a book.

Why not? Aren't there Parisians of Vietnamese decent making pho at home? Isn't Paris the most culturally cosmolitan city in France (possibly in all of Europe, although London is probably more commercially cosmopolitan)?

Would you include couscous in a book on "Parisian home cooking"?

Just curious. :smile:

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Culturally cosmopolitan? Commercially cosmopolitan?? could you explain please. :hmmm:

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Culturally cosmopolitan? Commercially cosmopolitan?? could you explain please. :hmmm:

In London I saw a store or restaurant for almost every kind of ethnic group imaginable. Not alot of multi-cultural mingling in the cultural sense though. It might seem that way to the English, but my point of view is as a Los Angeleno which is quite possibly the mixed-raced, multi-cultural family capital of the world. New Yorkers might say that it's New York with which I would disagree, but agree to disagree.

Anyway, at the risk of getting off topic but with the desire to explain my statement at bit. The French colonial project (I bring this up because the reality is that a large number of the country's ethnic population are from former colonies) included absorbing the 'natives' into French culture or having the 'natives' absorb French culture. Whereas the English colonial project was more segregated. I'm speaking very broadly here.

Back on topic to a cookbook on Parisian home cooking. It seems to me that a good one would include shopping for groceries. I would think that it would include shopping at North African and Vietnamese markets. And some of those homecooks would be let's say a native Parisian who's parents are from Martinique and are just as French as a transplant to Paris from Brittany...

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I'm going to ask my father-in-law, who was born and raised in Paris. He might be able to shed some insight into this question as well.

That's the thing about home cooking books and books in which dishes are presented as coming from a particular region. Note that if you run across a cookbook you most likely will get from the message some notion that Parisian food is French food in general. In Paris, I suspect there are three kinds of parisian cooking:

1) That which is native to the city, historically, and may include specific styles in which a certain dish is served, 2) products of the city's people, that which falls into what we think of buying and eating when visiting the city, i.e. regional specialties, from the viewpoint of coming from the outside, and 3) What people who live there are cooking at home. Its still rather cloudy to me, though.

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Excellent points Lucy.

I personally would enjoy reading a cookbook that includes all three.

Not including a cross section of Parisian (or French) society has been done to death. Presumably a Parisian home cooking book would be of interest outside of the city and the country.

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Forgive me for asking what may be a dumb question, but when poor people in most of Europe ran off to New York -- creating that city's distinctive culinary mix -- didn't all the poor French just move up to Paris, doing the same thing to Parisian cooking? And, since regional and language differences were less, wouldn't intermarriage intermarriage greater in Paris than in New York, meaning home cooking variety, and not just the variety of markets and restaurants would be greater as say a Bretonne housewife learns a few new dishes from her Auvergnaise in-laws and her Provencal neighbor?

I, too am curious what, besides "haute cuisine", Parisian cooking is. Normandy-Burgundy fusion? :biggrin:


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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... when poor people in most of Europe ran off to New York -- creating that city's distinctive culinary mix -- didn't all the poor French just move up to Paris, doing the same thing to Parisian cooking?  And, since regional and language differences were less, wouldn't intermarriage intermarriage greater in Paris than in New York, meaning home cooking variety, and not just the variety of markets and restaurants would be greater as say a Bretonne housewife learns a few new dishes from her Auvergnaise in-laws and her Provencal neighbor?

I like this a lot!


eGullet member #80.

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Forgive me for asking what may be a dumb question, but when poor people in most of Europe ran off to New York -- creating that city's distinctive culinary mix -- didn't all the poor French just move up to Paris, doing the same thing to Parisian cooking?  And, since regional and language differences were less, wouldn't intermarriage intermarriage greater in Paris than in New York, meaning home cooking variety, and not just the variety of markets and restaurants would be greater as say a Bretonne housewife learns a few new dishes from her Auvergnaise in-laws and her Provencal neighbor?

I, too am curious what, besides "haute cuisine", Parisian cooking is.  Normandy-Burgundy fusion?  :biggrin:

France has it's share of immigrants from other European countries as well. Poland, Spain, Italy...

There is/was alot of intermarriage with the North Africans as well and to a lesser extent with the Vietnamese.

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On my last trip to Paris, I also noticed a very large number of what we'd call "mixed" or "interracial" couples in the U.S., with one member of the couple being of sub-Saharan origin. I'm not sure how much the influx and integration of people from countries like Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire and Mali has affected home cooking in Paris generally, though. Any insights?


Michael aka "Pan

 

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As the person who first mentioned Parisian Home Cooking by Michael Roberts on the other thread, maybe I should clarify here what I should have done there.

The premise of that cookbook is not to describe "authentic" Parisian cooking, whatever that might be. It is a collection of recipes experienced by the author while he lived in Paris--recipes that his French friends cooked for him in their homes, or that were suggested to him by his greengrocer, fishmonger, and other vendors from the local marchés. The recipes are often accompanied by a story or picture of his friends in their (often very tiny!) kitchens. It's a nice cookbook but nothing extraordinary.

Whether the recipes reflect the typical range of Parisian home cooking, I don't know. But that they come from all over France reflects the point many are making here about how people bring their local recipes with them, wherever their origins may be.



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As the first Parisian (yes, born there too) answering in this thread, I can only give you my opinion, not being sure it will be understood.

No Parisian ever defines or mentions "Parisian cooking". There simply isn't such a thing.

Of course there are a few recipes and specialties called "à la parisienne" (including, generally, button mushrooms, cream and diced ham), there is jambon de Paris, haricot de mouton, and much of the repertoire of bistrot food could be defined as "Parisian" but it just is not a Parisian habit to claim a specifically Parisian cuisine. These recipes are somewhat anecdotic and don't gather up as a definite style. Speaking of Ile-de-France cooking sounds more relevant as a regional cooking.

I do know about the matter, having been confronted to the task of gathering recipes for a book of Parisian cooking. It can be done, but will be a hard task, demanding much historical research. Yes, Parisian cooking exists in history, but it has to be extracted from it. It cannot be found in everyday usage. Many of our great preparations and dishes were invented in Paris. Everybody knows about them, but nobody remembers they are Parisian. And sure enough there is no gâteau breton among them.

Which is why I reacted in another thread, finding a gâteau breton included in a "Parisian cooking" book. First of all there is nothing Parisian about a Breton cake, and second, mentioning it in a book of "Parisian cooking" is doubly awkward. No, a couscous made in Paris is not Parisian cooking, unless you personally insist on it — then why not. But you could call anything any name if you so choose, just fry a couple of eggs in a Parisian apartment and call them Parisian eggs. This is not meant to lessen the couscous, but to insist on the nebulosity of the concept of Parisian cuisine.

But here, I am thinking like a French person and particularly like a Parisian.

Indeed, when I read the title "Parisian home cooking", I thought "only a foreigner could come up with this", the gâteau breton only confirming my feeling.

Of course I can spend a few days in New York City, eat a great cassoulet toulousain there, ask for the recipe and write it down as "New York cassoulet toulousain". Anything is possible. But I think one needs a little more finesse than this when trying to define culinary history and geography.

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Whether the recipes reflect the typical range of Parisian home cooking, I don't know. But that they come from all over France reflects the point many are making here about how people bring their local recipes with them, wherever their origins may be.

Hello Linda,

Sorry, I hadn't read this post of yours before typing mine. And indeed you're right, I had thought this could be the only frame of mind in which you could refer to "Parisian home cooking". What makes it Parisian is only the fact that the recipes have come with people of different origins, all converging to Paris. It is more precisely "what is cooked in Parisian homes". That doesn't produce any regional style like cuisine picarde, cuisine normande, cuisine alsacienne, périgourdine, lyonnaise, etc.

Actually, what comes closest to a concept of Parisian cooking is the "cuisine bourgeoise" that used to be cooked in middle-class Parisian households since long ago, but flourished particularly in the 19th and 20th centuries. However, this "cuisine bourgeoise" became a common characteristic of all large French cities. It borrowed elements from other regions but, being French before being regional, it is generally associated with Paris.

BTW bistrot cooking is very similar to cuisine bourgeoise, with a more casual attitude.


Edited by Ptipois (log)

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As the first Parisian (yes, born there too) answering in this thread, I can only give you my opinion, not being sure it will be understood.

No Parisian ever defines or mentions "Parisian cooking". There simply isn't such a thing.

Maybe you have to go away to realize that in Paris there is a way of doing some things that can differ from the rest of France... I just spoke to my father-in-law, who said that he's going to put more thought into it, but the first thing he thinks of are some particular ways the meat is cut there, he says that a tourenado is not the same cut in Paris as it is in other parts of France.

He also says that for the most part the typical cuisine in Paris when he was a young man there was generally butter based cuisine, coming from the northern areas as opposed to cuisine based on goose fat or olive oil. He says also that in the area surrounding Les Halles there was a certain style of cooking in the restaurants that could be defined as Parisian. Anyway he wants to think more about it and provide me with some details from his memory, he is going to send me an e-mail and I will translate it.

Of course I can spend a few days in New York City, eat a great cassoulet toulousain there, ask for the recipe and write it down as "New York cassoulet toulousain". Anything is possible. But I think one needs a little more finesse than this when trying to define culinary history and geography.

As Eden mentioned upthread, I believe that the person writing the cookbook had the intention to illustrate what people are finding at the markets and what they cooking at home in Paris. Thus the name Parisian Home Cooking. Not necessarily a geographical or historical treatise, but rather one in which he tries to capture the feel of the experience of cooking at home with his Parisian friends.

Here is a link to a description of the book.

Which is why I reacted in another thread, finding a gâteau breton included in a "Parisian cooking" book. First of all there is nothing Parisian about a Breton cake, and second, mentioning it in a book of "Parisian cooking" is doubly awkward.

But if we can define what is not Parisian, most certainly we can put some thought into what is Parisian?

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As the second French born person to respond to this thread (born in Lyon and attended culinary school in Paris) I do understand what ptipois is saying and her sentiments. I would say this represents the larger culinary (cultural) establishment in France which is precisely why I left France. Would it be too off topic to mention that were times I could not even get a job interview because of my first name? (My last name could be Italian). I was told over the phone that I am not French. I would say, yes I am. I was born here. My degree is from here. Non, non, you're first name is not French. You are not a French chef.

But here, I am thinking like a French person and particularly like a Parisian.

Indeed, when I read the title "Parisian home cooking", I thought "only a foreigner could come up with this", the gâteau breton only confirming my feeling.

Of course such a book is of greater interest outside of Paris, really outside of France. Just as a French chef who doesn't have a French first name is embraced outside of France but not in France. Would it be too off topic to say that I would never teach at a French culinary school? Why, because I would not be free to be who I am. Which is a cultural hybrid. Hybrid is too simple a word.

Of course I can spend a few days in New York City, eat a great cassoulet toulousain there, ask for the recipe and write it down as "New York cassoulet toulousain". Anything is possible. But I think one needs a little more finesse than this when trying to define culinary history and geography.

Eating cassoulet in New York is not the same as eating couscous in France. The French have a longer history with couscous. And the dish is so popular in France that a politician once quipped "Conquest by cousous." Let's not ignore that France's colonial past has affected what the French eat. It doesn't have to be done in book on Parisian home cooking. But it does seem to me that it can be done in such a book and such a book is a glaring opportunity to accomplish this IMO.

A French chef lists Thai influences on a menu, but resists Vietnamese. A French chef lists the spices of Brittany or Burgundy but resists North African spices (and please do not tell me that North African spices are too heavy or we use them with unsubtle, indelicate hands. Because that is simply not true).

I do know about the matter, having been confronted to the task of gathering recipes for a book of Parisian cooking. It can be done, but will be a hard task, demanding much historical research. Yes, Parisian cooking exists in history, but it has to be extracted from it. It cannot be found in everyday usage. Many of our great preparations and dishes were invented in Paris. Everybody knows about them, but nobody remembers they are Parisian. And sure enough there is no gâteau breton among them.

Historical context is important. I demand it of a book if it is too have any interest for me. The professional workshops I conduct include backstory for dishes and techniques. I do know of the matter, having chosen the task of gathering regional recipes for these workshops and seminars.

At some point history meets with today. It is the writers choice to cut it off at some point. But for me a book even on history has to relevant to contemporary society. Without this such a book is dead, already written to confirm (conform to) the canon and not to add to it or challenge it.

The conservatism of France has left it behind the Spanish and Americans in experimentation and innovation. I do not embrace newness for it's own sake. Actually I loathe this tendency to pursue novelty for it's own sake. It is not news that French chefs have been accused of 'boredom' and complacency while disspassionately pursuing a sort of International style. I suggest to them to look deeper in France for inspiration. There's a lot there that has been dismissed or ignored for too long.

EDIT: The Moors introduced spices and flaky pastries to Europe and got as far as Poitiers. The contact goes back a very long time indeed.


Edited by chefzadi (log)

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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He also says that for the most part the typical cuisine in Paris when he was a young man there was generally butter based cuisine, coming from the northern areas as opposed to cuisine based on goose fat or olive oil. He says also that in the area surrounding Les Halles there was a certain style of cooking in the restaurants that could be defined as Parisian. Anyway he wants to think more about it and provide me with some details from his memory, he is going to send me an e-mail and I will translate it.

Garlic also. My Basque friend who is married to a Parisian says she was appalled by how much he used garlic in his cooking. And yes she did not grow up on Olive oil. It was butter based.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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Whether the recipes reflect the typical range of Parisian home cooking, I don't know. But that they come from all over France reflects the point many are making here about how people bring their local recipes with them, wherever their origins may be.

Hello Linda,

Sorry, I hadn't read this post of yours before typing mine. And indeed you're right, I had thought this could be the only frame of mind in which you could refer to "Parisian home cooking". What makes it Parisian is only the fact that the recipes have come with people of different origins, all converging to Paris. It is more precisely "what is cooked in Parisian homes". That doesn't produce any regional style like cuisine picarde, cuisine normande, cuisine alsacienne, périgourdine, lyonnaise, etc.

Actually, what comes closest to a concept of Parisian cooking is the "cuisine bourgeoise" that used to be cooked in middle-class Parisian households since long ago, but flourished particularly in the 19th and 20th centuries. However, this "cuisine bourgeoise" became a common characteristic of all large French cities. It borrowed elements from other regions but, being French before being regional, it is generally associated with Paris.

BTW bistrot cooking is very similar to cuisine bourgeoise, with a more casual attitude.

We crossed posts. I didn't read this one while typing up my previous response.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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Maybe you have to go away to realize that in Paris there is a way of doing some things that can differ from the rest of France...

I spent quite a lot of my life away from Paris, lived in the US for about three years, do still travel quite a lot and presently I am in China. I've been in Asia for five weeks now, first in Tokyo, then in Bangkok, then in Singapore and finally in Shanghai (I'm going home tomorrow by the way, this is getting a bit long :smile: ).

I think you are not exactly getting my point. There is not a Parisian cooking — the way you can define a Breton cooking or a Genoese cooking — just because you decide there is one or that, mechanically, there should be one. I am giving you my mind as a Parisian, and strange as it seems, the existence of a Parisian cooking is extremely vague and difficult to grasp. When you have to go to such lenghts as your dad-in-law does to extract the elements, it means that there is an empty case in the cultural pattern, and why not after all. Parisians live very well without the idea of Parisian cooking. You can always find bits and pieces but nothing like the strong personalities of our regional cuisines.

And - may I add - this has nothing to do with racism or xenophobia. There is no moral conclusion to draw from this. Parisian cooking is not part of regional cookings and it is extremely elusive. On the other hand, Ile-de-France cooking does exist.

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Really interesting topic.

I think that if one takes the term "Parisian Cooking" didactically, it doesn't really make sense, as several people have mentioned above. However, I think that the term is intersting if taken from a broader sense meaning, as others have pointed out, the cooking which is going on generally in homes in Paris. I guess one would say that Paris would be a good choice instead of , say, Nantais Cooking or Lyonaise Cooking becasue these areas would imply a tradition of cooking in a particular style.

I think that the beauty of the term Parisian Cooking is that it implies the evolving cuisine which is changing to incorporate the many ethnicities which make Paris a permanant, semi-temporary, or temporary home. As an oriental american, married to a Frenchman (Breton/Angevin), living in the UK, I have incorporated so many cultures into my repetoire, that I tend to cook an amalgam of all the influences I come across. My mother makes her marinade for bulgogi using macerated kiwi and a touch of balsamic glaze at the end...delicious, but not really Korean. She came up with this recipe after being in the US for many years and being introduced to these very non-Korean ingredients. I, too, have adopted this recipe. I think about my new British home and their love of curries. They came up with Chicken Tikka Masala, something which does not exist as such in traditional Indian cuisine. Because Paris is unique in the breadth of "foreign" ingredients available, and the fact that this is the city where restaurants influenced by new techniques sit successfully alongside the bastions of classic Haute French Cuisine, I'm certain that people take these new tastes and try them at home. Thus, I see the term Parisian Cooking as a snapshot of contemporary life in France. Something old, something new, something borrowed....

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And - may I add - this has nothing to do with racism or xenophobia. There is no moral conclusion to draw from this. Parisian cooking is not part of regional cookings and it is extremely elusive. On the other hand, Ile-de-France cooking does exist.

Mostly no it doesn't have to with racism or xenophobia. I didn't mean to imply that, certainly not about you. I respect your thoughts on French food and certainly you know deeply about it. I've said elsewhere that there are wonderful elements about France's model of pluralism, but it isn't perfect (what is?). I have fond memories of being mentored by chefs and getting special treatment. Like the time a chef who had trained under Robuchon like his right hand man telling his kitchen staff to teach me everything because I deserved to learn everything. And Jacques Cagna's brother who was part of the staff at the Culinary school I attended highly recommending me for stages and giving me important tasks and telling me it was because he knew I would perform above par... I have many more examples I won't bore the members here with. I could have stayed longer at any number of places and been nurtured, but I was footloose and wanted to see the world.

the existence of a Parisian cooking is extremely vague and difficult to grasp.

Yes it is and I wouldn't even be thinking about it if not for this thread. What French person would? It's an outsider's question.

But in this thread we have two examples of how French food writers might tackle the question.

I think that if one takes the term "Parisian Cooking" didactically, it doesn't really make sense, as several people have mentioned above. However, I think that the term is intersting if taken from a broader sense meaning, as others have pointed out, the cooking which is going on generally in homes in Paris. I guess one would say that Paris would be a good choice instead of , say, Nantais Cooking or Lyonaise Cooking becasue these areas would imply a tradition of cooking in a particular style.

As I've mentioned before I am from Lyon and I am also writing a cookbook about the region. I can't find a place for ethnic France in it. Even though it is glaringly obvious that I am 'ethnic' and from it. Lyon is in the center, some say it is the gastronomic center. It is provincial in stark contrast to Paris, even though it is the second largest city.

Paris on the other hand is a whole other story, with stories that have not been told.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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... when I read the title "Parisian home cooking", I thought "only a foreigner could come up with this"...

This comment is interesting and probably fundamental to this discussion--chefzadi also said as much. As a foreigner, I think you must be right. Paris and la cuisine bourgoise are what most of us first experience, either from standard French cookbooks or our first visit to France (likely Paris). It is only when one spends time there and travels (or at least reads a lot) that one recognizes that the quiche lorraine and the boeuf bourguignon recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Arts are more than just "French" cooking.

If it's any consolation, the same kind of reductionism is probably true for other cuisines--Italian and Chinese come to mind.



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I was just having this discussion last week in Paris with my friend, Paule Caillat who runs Promenades Gourmandes. We have these discussions periodically, discussing when spices first began to seap into the Parisian kitchen, when modern influences from outside France began to trickle in......

When I was writing Paris, (Williams Sonoma) i thought about the subject a lot, and tried to incapsulate the Parisian kitchen in its pages. there are so many influences, and there is the history, tradition/s at the table, a sense of order and schools that teach the classics, restaurants of great elegance, and also ethnicity. the markets especially reflect the neighbourhoods and offer a true taste of Paris. (by the way, a big huge giant couscous is to be made in marche d'aligre, omigosh, one of these weekends, i forget which one.). there are so many foodie happenings too, people are interested in good food, even if they are not cooking as much as they once were (in fact are not cooking much at all, a complaint i hear a lot).

also, when i was working on the book, and I would travel in France outside Paris I was struck by how all of France comes to Paris, and how all of the world also comes to Paris and yet how more than the sum of its regional parts Paris is, and yet how often it is less than its particular regional part.........(the quality of bakery goods in the loir, for instance, was often higher than in Paris, the ingredients of a higher quality, and yet the putting it together lacked the pizzazz of paris.......)

i don't know. i would expect anything cake-or dish-wise from any region in france, in paris and feel that it belonged there, because it probably does somewhere in one of the little shops or bistros. ditto for the various ethnic neighbourhoods/shops/restaurants.

Marlena.


Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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Paris on the other hand is a whole other story, with stories that have not been told.

This is so true. And, amazingly, they are very difficult to gather and tell. Not that it can't be done. But the Parisian history of food remains to be written. Parisians have been interested in a myriad subjects but they seem to shy away from this one. Very difficult to search and grasp indeed. While, a few hundred miles Southeast, Lyonnais could chat and write for ages about Lyonnaise cooking.

The principle of Parisian food, if there is one, can only be its "a-regionality". The process I'll call "regionality" tends to aggregate concepts, facts, tastes, preparations, ingredients, dishes. It produces a coherent ensemble that could be called a family. Since "Parisian cooking" is, on the contrary, a-regional, i.e. non-aggregative, without any family feeling, it cannot have any cohesion, hence coherence.

Once you understand that the Parisian culture is primarily the negation of "région", then it all becomes very clear. Paris considers itself a special entity, fed and inspired by all the regions but different in nature from them. To be fair (because Parisians are sometimes unjustly given a bad name), I have noticed that this difference in nature is sometimes shown even more strongly by regional France than by Paris itself.

The concepts of cuisine de bistrot and cuisine bourgeoise may be channels leading to the definition of a Parisian cooking, but they are not enough.

There is something even more important. I think there used to be a Parisian cooking but that it has now disappeared. It used to be prepared in aristocratic homes during the Ancien Régime, and later in newly-invented restaurants when cooks from aristocratic homes found themselves out of a job. There is very little left of this cuisine now, which flourished mostly in the 19th century and was then dismissed — rightly or not — as being overcomplicated, overheavy and elitist. Another sort of cuisine parisienne also used to be had around Les Halles, when innumerable troquets and bistrots poured soupe à l'oignon in large bowls to be gratinéed, steamed the petit salé aux lentilles, breaded the pieds de cochon, etc. That was the time when forts des halles (brawny butchers) would fill the cafés at 5 AM to have their morning breakfast: a big white china bowl filled with ox blood and chopped raw onions, a beverage they said was the secret of their vitalilty. This ended abruptly with the (regrettable) destruction of the central Halles in the early 70s. Now there are archeological remains of those places but honestly, most of them are just touristy (I'd rate Chez Denise as an exception) and the days of genuine soupe à l'oignon and bull's blood are over. Now that WAS cuisine parisienne too. Finally, who remembers that some specialties like gigot-flageolets, bœuf miroton, langue de bœuf sauce piquante, pieds de porc grillés, navarin d'agneau, which were probably born in Paris, are Parisian in origin ? They have become French, period.

Now the absorption of those landmark dishes into the national répertoire, the relative absence of style that characterizes modern urban cooking (which sometimes gives way to personal styles), the complicated juxtaposition (without any fusion) of several influences and ethnic waves: all these factors make the identification of a Parisian cuisine quasi impossible.


Edited by Ptipois (log)

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This is so true. And, amazingly, they are very difficult to gather and tell. Not that it can't be done. But the Parisian history of food remains to be written. Parisians have been interested in a myriad subjects but they seem to shy away from this one. Very difficult to search and grasp indeed. While, a few hundred miles Southeast, Lyonnais could chat and write for ages about Lyonnaise cooking.

As usual you are thoughtful and deeply knowledgeble. Parisian homecooking is an outsider's question as we have already established, but an insider can answer it in a nuanced way. It certainly isn't being "Barefoot in Paris" or cutesy tartines.

Dare I say Lyonnaise cooking is perhaps the most codified? Of course we had our own experiments with nouvelle cuisine and such. When I was working at a very traditional Bouchon long, long ago in my memories it feels as if we went from serving generous, hearty food to two peas on an ovesized plate in a single day. There was no food on the plate. But in the end the haute cuisine of Lyon tends to shy away from the International Style. It stays rooted in the terroir. Yes a Lyonnais could chat and write for ages about it. Which surprsingly has not been done much at all, as far as I know.

They have become French, period.

Now the absorption of those landmark dishes into the national répertoire, the relative absence of style that characterizes modern urban cooking (which sometimes gives way to personal styles), the complicated juxtaposition (without any fusion) of several influences and ethnic waves: all these factors make the identification of a Parisian cuisine quasi impossible.

I think that it is possible to write hundreds of pages about Parisian home cooking without ever identifying it. Which would be so very French to do.

Someone asked upthread about mixed raced couples in Paris. There is very little if no fusion even in the homes. The ingredients for say Senagalese and French cooking are in the pantry, but at the table for meals it is one or the other. The closest I've seen to fusion is in the homes of North Africans and Pied noirs. I wouldn't call it fusion though since it began in the early 1800's. Even if I were to call it justaposition it bears little resemblence to American style tossed salad and it most definately is not a melting pot.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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