Friday, October 14, 2011

French culinary delights

Cauliflower and tomato sauce with pasta
Food Diary (October 14, 2011)
Breakfast: Wholemeal sourdough toast, muesli
Lunch: Cauliflower and tomato sauce with pasta
Dinner: Stir fried veges in oyster sauce with rice, muesli

Today's Favourite Photo
Source: Masak-Masak
The Clear One (Elderflower, Strawberry and Mint Jelly)

Today’s Favourite Blog
Source: Reuters
When food and France is mentioned usually positive thoughts come to mind. It is after all the ‘home’ of the Michelin star guide, host to the pastry Olympics, producer of premium quality ingredients and breeding ground of many world renowned chefs. To protect its culinary reputation the lower house National Assembly approved a new law this week that will oblige eateries to indicate whether or not their food is freshly cooked or ready-made. France has a very dark secret. Popular dishes sold at many eateries are most probably bought from factories that mass produced, vacuum packed and sold with instructions on how to microwave it. 

Roland Heguy, chairman of the French syndicate for the hotel and restaurant industry estimates that only 20,000 of France's 120,000 food establishments could actually claim to make all their produce from fresh ingredients. So most eateries are experts in microwaving, not cooking from scratch. 

However the fact that a law is in the process of being passed shows that France does take its food seriously.

It is interesting to note that this year, Picard, the gourmet frozen food retailer, was voted the nation's favourite brand for the second year in a row. And France is one of the most profitable markets in the world for McDonald's.

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  1. Do you remember seeing that film National Lampoon's AEuropean Vacation? The Griswolds went to Paris and had lunch and the chefs looked to be microwaving things. I assumed that was just for comedic effect but it sounds like it was real! :o

  2. Oh, that jelly is stunning. And that news story really makes you think...I'm sure some of those French meals are pretty pricey, too~

  3. I know for a fact that many top notch restaurants use prepacked sauces and such. They just have to use it as a base and throw in their own spices and herbs and seasonings in to make it their own. It's the same for the cosmetics where the basic blend of a moisturizer is from one manufacturer and the individual brands will add their own fragrance, color, etc.... altho most of them claim otherwise.
    Oooh, the jelly gives me an idea for my x'mas dinner this year!

  4. Your pasta is the same as the one I ate the other night. Fun wheels!

  5. Wow, the jelly looks so elegant and colorful. I agree with Ping, good to include in the X'mas dinner menu. I just bought a few packets of colorful and different shaped pasta. I am going one lunch with them with cauliflower for sure.

  6. Lorraine: I haven’t seen the movie National Lampoon's European Vacation. Sounds like a fun movie.

    Lizzy: they probably are pricing, the factory makes food, the restauranter provides the venue!

    ping: I think it sounds Ok to use pre-made sauces and modify. I think the law is not intended to stop restaurants buying and microwaving, rather to inform customers. Probably many customers are unaware that their food is cooked in a factory somewhere and the chefs skills is in using the microwave. That would be sad if the chef made mistakes with microwaving!

    Yummychunklet: fun wheels – cool name!

    Quay Po Cooks: that jelly does look elegant, will impress most guests

  7. I love your healthy diet. THe pasta looks simple, yet so mouthwatering.

  8. Interesting article - and hooray! It's about time that French eateries mentioned this, as clients are treated as idiots enough. Have to admit I adore Picard since some of their products are brilliant, such as frozen stock. As for MacDo, that is scary! I wonder what the breakdown in statistics is, between French clients and tourists? Just saying (am I becoming more French these days? Crumbs...)
    Love that beautiful jelly cone. Stunning!

  9. The pasta shape look like lotus root, sound nice to cook with cauliflower, must cook one day for my kid.

  10. hi three cookies..simple but looks appetizing and fresh- that's the pasta.
    the strawberry,elder flower and mint looks pretty authentic, would be yummy if eaten cold huh.

  11. Yes, actually I think France is the second McDonald's market in terms of sales! Incredible isn't it? The French are also among the world's biggest pizza consumers, unfortunately few pizzas eaten there come from real pizzerias...
    I saw a couple of months ago a tv program (hidden camera) where they were making rounds of Paris nice-looking, but not too expensive bistrots. They were almost all selling pre-cooked, frozen meals, already portioned and ready decorated desserts. It might not be obvious when you enter a restaurant, so beware when you visit France!
    Picard has lots of great frozen products and I'm not talking about frozen dishes, but vegetables, fruit, mushroom. Better quality than other brands.

  12. Angie: thank you

    Jill: I also wondered about McD’s client mix. France does get a lot of tourists

    Sonia: that’s the closest I get to lotus root, which I have yet to try!

    Cookingvarieties: thank you. The jelly would be great for the hot weather that KL is experiencing now

    Sissi: I just did a search – in Europe France is McD’s largest market. Don’t know globally but it would be in the top somewhere I suppose. I am surprised! And I didn’t know that the French were one of the worlds pizza consumers. Surprised again. I remember sometime ago you mentioned the TV program looking into how food was prepared. And now finally I saw it on English news. Most people would have not guessed, especially if the food is of fairly food quality (even if frozen and microwaved).

  13. Very interesting article as I never ever knew about the mass produced food. Am definitely seeing it in a different light now.

  14. That jelly looks so amazing! Excellent presentation