12 Sep 2009

Culinary Heritage - The French Connection

As you can gather, my two main influences and points of reference (mémé and mum) are a hard act to follow. I honestly cannot compete with their skills as my cooking experience is pretty limited compared to theirs, nor have I attempted some of their more ‘perilous’ recipes.


However I can safely say that their influence pervaded my formative years, and along the way I learnt a few tricks of the trade and practiced a number of the dishes (mainly desserts!) under their watchful eye. I made sure I was involved in baking from an early age, and remember vividly making my first chocolate mousse aged 7, my first orange sorbet (served in hollowed frosted oranges, no less!) at about 15, and my first chocolate truffles the following Christmas…

Along the way I made a few resounding mistakes with my creams and sauces, but this is all part of the apprenticeship. I must admit that my dishes are far simpler and easier than mémé and mum’s, but I do try to stay away from ready meals and convenience food, as favoured by many of my contemporaries. Frankly the satisfaction (the kick!) you get from your own freshly prepared dish surpasses any shop-bought variety!


In their own way, mémé and mum taught me to appreciate food, not just as a cook but as a foodie, a gourmet. Food is after all one of life’s little pleasures and should be enjoyed, as beautifully summed up by a French pearl of wisdom: ‘Il faut manger pour vivre et non pas vivre pour manger’ (One must eat to live and not live to eat).

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