The people of France consider cooking a fine art. Just as an artist
carves out a statue hidden within a block of stone, a French cook
brings out the flavor locked inside each simple vegetable and piece
of meat. The French cook then arranges the food so that its shapes
and colors are combined in the most attractive way possible.
A French saying describes the attitude of French cooks toward
their art: L ’excès en tout est défaut—“excess is always a fault.” In other
words, you can have too much of a good thing. French cooks use
strong flavors, such as garlic, in small amounts so that they will not
overpower other flavors. In fact, the most important rule in French
cooking is not to use too much of any one ingredient.
There are two distinctly different kinds of cooking in France. One
kind is quite grand and the other is like home cooking. The recipes
in this book are of the “home cooking” variety—delicious and easy
to fix. But it is interesting to know a little about the grand type of
French cooking, too. After all, once you have mastered the dishes in
this book, you may want to try something more difficult!
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