“Let them eat kale“
The Cordon Bleu kitchen is no place for a vegetarian, let alone a vegan.
France is renowned for its cuisine and Paris is considered one of the world’s food capitals. From wine to pastry and all animal parts in between, there’s not, however, a lot for the vegetarian to sink their teeth into.
‘Classically trained‘ chefs are mainly schooled in the French tradition and the list of cooking techniques reads like a French dictionary. Today is July 14th Bastille Day and Meatless Monday ponders the influence of French cuisine on the status of meat-free food.
Bastille Day is France’s national day or fête nationale and is named after the medieval fortress come state prison the Bastille. Modern-day celebrations include parades, fireworks and of course food! A celebratory meal may consist of the following iconic French foods: escargot (i.e. snails), crepes, cheese, wine and dishes made with eggs (e.g. quiche, soufflé, macarons).
Inherent in the French terms gourmet and haute-cuisine is the idea that certain food is sophisticated, elegant and refined. According to tradition, animal products are used as a major flavouring in food or as the feature of a dish. Remove the animal and you remove the prestige.
The image of meat-free dishes is often that of boring and bland food. Tempeh pales in comparison to foie gras and vegan chocolate avocado pudding does not stand up to the elevated status (and height hopefully) of a chocolate soufflé. The status quo being that good food needs meat. Time to revolutionize this idea.
Sumptuous food can be meat-free, one doesn’t have to be vegetarian/vegan to eat it & one doesn’t have to be classically trained in order to prepare it.
The use of other French culinary traditions (i.e. herbs, spices and fresh local ingredients) peppered with some imagination and creativity can help ennoble any plant-based dish. So enjoy your meat-free meal and savour your life.
If you find yourself travelling in France, make sure to check out Happy Cow’s list of vegetarian/vegan-friendly food establishments: