Introduction To European Cuisine Cultural Studies Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.


After we go through this assignment, we get to know about European cuisine and it explains the changes that occur throughout the previous to present modern day. This assignment draws your attention towards about two cuisines mainly French cuisine and Italian cuisine and is trying to explain all aspect and describing the recipes and dishes as an evidence.

All evidence present in the assignment is in form of recipes of dishes have been evaluated with appropriate description and justification, so it all explains the reader in detail the reason for the use of particular commodities, methods of cooking and equipments use in that specific kind of cuisine.

European cuisine

Europe has a great diversity of food reflecting its linguistic-culture. In this time of globalisation we are brought to eat food from other countries. But what did our ancestors eat? When and where were food invented for them? Before our ancestors learnt to generate fire and cook food for them, basically they were dependent on nature for their meal like fruits, vegetables. There is good example to think of the turkey, Turkey almost everybody's choice for Christmas dinner -- especially considering how easy it is available in Europe markets these days. But it was not possible before, that turkeys would have been seen here not just as an expensive luxury. When Spanish and West African traders first started brought turkeys to Europe from Mexico in the 1600's.

The cuisine of early modern Europe (c. 1500-1800) was a combination of dishes from medieval cuisine combined with innovations. There was a great influx of new ideas, an increase in foreign trade came in and changed the eating habits of people and food was not just looked to feed ones hunger but it also became part of religion and people also started to travel and exchange different influence made for new creation of dishes and which changed taste and habits as well.

European cuisine can divide regionally into four different types:-

Northern European cuisine

Southern European cuisine

Central and east European cuisine

West European cuisine




Since the sixteenth century, French cooking has been famous as the western world's finest cuisine. This cuisine said to be affected by three most important reasons the invasion of Celtic Gauls in 1500 to 500 BC who started cheese manufacturing to south of France and also divided land and begin farming, who also began the manufacturing of goat cheese and different ingredients and new cooking techniques to this part of France.

French cooking prepared in the traditional style of haute cuisine and the earlier modern days of French cooking the Queen Catherine de Medic, she came from Italy and started that cuisine and as discovered by such renowned chefs. The features of this style meats and fish prepared with sauces containing egg yolk, brandy, cream, flour and other starches, through this time that saw some changes not only in techniques of cooking as well as new ingredients were introduced in cooking such as truffles, butter, and artichokes.

Around the mid of 1600's spices, roots were used in cooking to admiring comment the food, instead disguise the taste. Mushrooms and truffles were widely been used for enhancing the taste, and roux method used to made lighter sauces and meats were served with their natural juice. The first cookbook was written by the French Chef La Varenne included training for cooking vegetables.

Modern day of French cuisine

At the time of 17th century, small kingdoms of France were partitioned already and every kingdom had its own culture characteristics and these regional similarities still can found in their cuisine. Most of the kitchens worldwide followed techniques, and terms of French cuisine, they were the main base of modern global cuisines, but this time France is influenced from different world cuisines, such as Japanese cuisine, Mexican cuisine and fast food also is also loved by French people as American style,

And this time, organic and fresh ingredients are used to cook dishes. The most recent development in French cuisine are organic food and sustainable farming, and also every best restaurants are seen moving towards traditional cooking techniques, like each dish has own distinct flavours and texture, brighter and colours are being seen, sauces are being kept separate and all individual flavours can be clearly identified. Mad cow, cancer scare types of diseases have concerned people to go natural way of eating and pay more prices for these approved organic foods. (, Prepare foods, sept 2004 by J. Hugh McEvoy)

France famous food culture

Diversity of French cuisine is because of different region's cultural influences and ingredients available in France. French food has a distinctive regional flavour and each of its region has own its distinctive food culture according to the climate, the geographical region, and influences of neighbouring countries.

There are the details of each region and traditional food eaten in that region and also factors of climate which define the food eaten in that region.

Brittany and northwest region

Wet climate and rocky coast line with sandy beaches and these all conditions reflect on the food habits in this region. Many seafood dishes are famous in this region and as well as orchard fruits such as apple, peaches and pears are used to make a choice of desserts. There are few famous cuisines developed using the regional ingredients. (

Famous dish


This is made from buck wheat with plenty range of fillings which are savoury and sweet pan cakes.

French crepes picture


Cotriade Bretonne(fish soup): This dish made from conger eel stew. This is a quite traditional recipe but I think it is even better if shell fish such as mussels, cockels, are added with the fish. 

Pot au feu d`homard:

It is preparation of stew from lobster, scallop,mussel,oytser and shrimp.

Ingredients (serves 6): 3 lobster tails (fresh or frozen) - 2 lbs winter squash - 1 apple - 2 shallots, sliced - 1 cup heavy cream - 2 chicken bouillon cubes - 2 tbsp butter - 1 vanilla bean - salt & pepper.

Normandy north central

In this region climate is also wet and is located in front of the English channel as result: Sea food play main role in this cuisine. In this region is also identified for fruits like apples, pears and dairy produce, creamy sauces and apples used to make traditional preparations. (

Normandy famous recipes

Moules ala Normande: This dish made from mussels cooked in cream and white wine sauce.

Moules a la creme Normande

Sole Normande: This recipe poached sole in cider and cream along with shrimps.

Porc Normande: Pork tenderloins prepare with apple and onions in cider with caramelised apple rings.

Alsace and Lorraine

The climate is here cold and supports crops, however both the region are split by the Vasquez Mountains, culinary resemblance have the same of both of the region, Alsace in west is much more influence by nearest Germany and even as Lorraine has much more French influence on its food.

Famous recipes

Quiche Lorraine: It is a kind of open faced pastry filled with bacon and cheese flavoured custard. A delicious combination of a cheese, bacon, and egg based quiche. A tasty option for lunch or dinner.


Foie gras: It is the liver of geese or ducks that have been specially fed to produce an enlarged, extremely fatty liver. Place the liver in a terracotta terrine dish and soaked in seasoning and alcohol for 24 hours.

 and the next day seal the terracotta dish with its cover. Cook in an oven bain marie. And it is best to serve as a starter. ( (

Burgundy and Lyons

The cuisine of Burgundy is identified for its richness, due in large part to two features: the region's red wines and it's of one of the world's finest breeds of beef cattle, the Charollais. The classic Burgundy dishes cooked in this way are boeuf bourguignon and coq au vin. An additional term which often comes out on menus is meurette, also a red wine sauce but made without mushrooms and flambéed with a touch of marc brandy. It's used with eggs, fish and poultry as well as red meat. (

Famous dishes

Boeuf bourguignon: Braised Beef with mushrooms, onions and other vegetables.


Coq au vin: It is French braising of chicken cooked with wine, lardons, and mushrooms.

Coq au Vin what wine?


These are the rest of regions of French cuisine:

Champagne and north

Bordeaux and south west (

French cooking methods

Flambéing: - In this cooking method in which alcohol is used to create flames and flavour to the food in the end of cooking. For e.g. strawberry flambé (

Blanching: - In this method of fast boiling food to brighten and set the colour of produce like green beans. For e.g. tomatoes can also be blanched to loosen and slip off the skin. (

Sautéing:- In this method of cooking only enough fat added in pan so food does not stick to the pan, It is a low-fat cooking of range-top cooking, food can be cooked and finished by this technique. For e.g. coq au vin (

Poaching: - Under this the food is simmered and bring out to cook which helps in keeping the fat content low in cooked food. (

Broiling and grilling: - In this method of cooking is identified as dry-heat cooking, these both are nearly identical because they both cook an oiled piece of food over direct, moderately high heat. normally all the meat needs to be marinated before grilling or broiling the food is cooked below the heat. For ex. Lamb, grilled Provencal lamb chops. (

Braising: - In this method the food is cooked in small amount of flavoured liquids and fat. Wine and stock are two popular braising liquids. (

Baking and Roasting:-  This method used for a dry heat method using an oven to slowly cook food, roasting and baking are used for breads, pastry, and other bakery products, while the term roasting is used generally for meat, poultry and vegetables. (

Deep frying: - This type of cooking generally cook food in oil, the food to be cooked should be free from moisture, most of the food is coated in batter and bread crumbs to seal in its moisture. (

Commodities in French cooking

Vegetables:- Vegetables have a time-honoured place at the French cuisine, unlike other cuisines, Green beans, artichokes, asparagus, green peas, leeks, tomatoes, endive, and fennel are just a beginning and Haricots verts, tuffles, various squash and stone fruits, olives. Haricot beans are used to make cassoulet one of the popular dishes of France. Traditionally, most French vegetables are grown in the backyard garden in the houses, called the potager, (

Meats: - The most popular meats in France are poultry, pork, beef, lamb, veal and game. Stews are used to make slowly-cooked stew like estouffade, cassoulet, perigourdine, daube and cooked mutton stew is cooked in Pordogne region.

Fruits: - Peaches, oranges, apricots, tangerings, apples, and generally pears are used in different kinds of desserts.

Sea foods: - French cuisine's most elegant offerings are Seafood. Various kinds of fish are found in coastal regions of France, which are used in its cuisine. For example lobster, mussels, oyster, sole, clams, conger eel, scallops, sardine, sea bass and salmon. The famous French dishes using ingredients are bouillabaisse a soup found in region of France and cotriade fish soup made from conger eel as main ingredients with other fish found in Brittany region.

Foie Gras: - Foie gras means fatty liver of goose or duck in France, and light as air soufflés haven't always been the fare of choice in France. There is a controversy about which method they obtain feeding animal by force but still popular in France and it is favourite dish of the royals and nobles. It served as a starter.

Champagne vinegar: - This can be used in some recipe calling for vinegar; this Vinegar naturally enough recalls the flavour of champagne. It is not strong vinegar and. Chefs use vinegar to draw out flavours from other food. Here are a few examples:-

Pomegranate Champagne Vinegar 8.45 oz

• Vinaigrette dressing prepared with truffle oil and Reims vinegar makes an elegant salad dressing.

• Mix it with olive oil for chicken marinade.

• Champagne vinegar use in bernaise sauce, hollandaise sauce and beurre blanc sauce and. (

French sea salt:- It is really special salt and has a melt in mouth effect with no burning sensation. If you try it, you'll never want to go back to table salt.

Fleur de Sel De Guerande- French Sea Salt ; 6oz


French Herbs:- In French cuisine use many different herbs, it can be dried and fresh herbs such as, thyme, oregano, and rosemary. Rest of those herbs are a bit more unusual for many chefs, for ex: - Chervil, Tarragon, Lavender, Sage and Savoury.

Special herbs de Provence: This is a mix of different herbs that can go into just about anything.

Aux Anysetiers du Roy Herbes de Provence in Crock - 1oz


French Spices:- Generally traditional French cuisine is not very spicy. The French do use spices to cook with, just in smaller quantities. It has to do with a desire to let the natural taste of the food not with overwhelming flavours.

Star Anise Seeds (Badayan) 3.5oz India Tree Pepper Melange, 2.2 lb


The Eight Types of Cheese in France

French have system to classifying cheese.

french cheese goat

Goat Cheeses

french cheese sampler

French Cheese

french cheese blue

Blue Cheeses

Fresh Cheeses 

They are made from goat's milk, cow's milk or sheep's milk and are not aged. These cheeses are white and contain a lot of water.

Some popular varieties of French fresh cheeses are:

Petit Suisse, 

Brousse (

Soft Cheeses with Natural Rind

These cheese are often served in France after the main course, these are soft cow's milk cheeses, which is recognize by their white, almost floury surface. They are aged about a month, some popular varieties are:




Neufchatel Cheese (

Soft Cheeses with Washed Rind

These are also made from cow's milk, which prevents the formation of surface molds and the rind is washed during the aging process, washing produces a supple and colourful rind. These types of cheese also find their way on to French cheese platters and a some of the popular known varieties are:


Pont l'Eveque 


Epoisses (


Pressed Cheeses 

During the processing of these types of cheese are submitted to pressure which drains the cheese of some of its moisture, and after applying pressure, the cheeses are than kept in carefully controlled conditions and aged for months.Two very popular varieties are:


Cantal ( 

Pressed and Cooked Cheeses 

To make these types of cheese the curd is heated for an hour before being pressed, and they are formed in big cylinders and are ripened for a long time. Well known varieties are:


Gruyère (

Goat Cheese 

There are so many of them that the French have given them their own family. There are more than hundred varieties of goat cheese in France.

Two popular cheeses are:

Crottin de Chavignol 

Pouligny-Saint-Pierre (

Blue Cheeses 

These cheeses are ripened a long time and have a strong flavour and smell. They are mostly made from cow's milk with the notable exception of Roquefort, which is made from sheep's milk. They make a great cheese to offer as part of a cheese platter after the main course.bleu cheese

Some of the well known varieties are:

Roquefort Cheese 

Bleu de Bresse (

Equipments used in French cuisine

Casseroles: - This equipment is used to cook many dishes, especially which are cook in oven or under the salamander like Hachis parmentier (beef and potato casserole).

Kiwi Oval Baking Dish (3.25-qt.) by Le Creuset (

Stock Pot: - These utensils normally have thick bottom so as the dish do not stuck to the bottom and heat is equally distributed and these are used for stews and stocks. Some of the dishes which are cooked in these are French onion soup, Boeuf Bourguignon.

Nonstick Covered Soup Pot (4-qt.) by Calphalon(

Omelette pan: - These types of pan are used for omelettes and Crepes which is one of the French specialities while size is matters.

Omelette Pan (12-in.) by Calphalon(

Roasting pan: - Generally used to prepare different types of roast dishes like roast turkey with chestnut.

Nonstick Roasting Pan with Rack and Forks (16x13x3-in.) by All-Clad


Saute` pan: - These sauté pans are used for sauté` food or ingredients of a dish like Marengo veal sauté.

CIA Masters Collection 8 inch Saute Pan (Fry Pan)(

Baguette baking tray: - these trays are used to bake most famous bread in France.

Nonstick Perforated Baguette Pan (17x9-in.) by Chicago Metallic


Madeleine Pan

Madeleine Pan

A shell shaped pan used for a Madeleine cookies, and these are a very popular teacake that you will find all over France. (

Stainless Steel Food Mill: - Makes perfect mashed potatoes every time. This multi functional kitchen utensil can be used to make sauces, soups, and so much more.




Introduction of Italy cuisine

Earlier Italy was separated into city-states, which shared only some cultural traditions. The Italy we know today was formed in 1861. The Italian languages we hear were not generally spoken by the common of the population until World War II.

The culinary history of Italy recognized its name more than 2,000 years ago, which includes a famous society throughout the Roman Empire. Culturally, food preparation was main in the past where flashes of significance have been captured in the only surviving cookbook (Apicius), which dates back to the first century BC. (

Foreign Influences

Because of its position in the heart of the Mediterranean, Italy is a crossroads, and many foreign countries have left their mark. We can find there a bit of Austro-Hungarian influences in the Veneto, Trentino Alto Adige, and Friuli Venezia Giulia and French influence, regional French not haute cuisine, in the areas of Liguria, Piemonte, and the Valle D'Aosta nearest France, and There is some Spanish influence, particularly in Milano, this Spanish influence surfaces again in the South, which was colonised by the Bourbons, and in Sardinia, which was colonised directly by Spain for a time. We can find English influence in Tuscany, where the classic zuppa Inglese, and bistecca alla Fiorentina, English trifle and English steak respectively, were at first prepared for the enjoyment of the English colony that settled Tuscany in the 1800s. And we can see Jewish influences in Rome, dating to the 1500s, when Jews run away the Inquisition settled in the Eternal City. Finally, in Sicily you'll find a fascinating mixture of Roman influence, Arab influences dating both to the time that Sicily was an Arab province, and to more recent trade with North Africa (cuscus, for example), Norman French influence, and Spanish influence.(

The Italians think healthful and tasty Italian cuisine was borrowed from the Greeks. The usual meals consisted of food prepared from chickpeas, dry figs, salted, pickled olives, pork and dry fish. On event such as weddings or festivals choices of delicacies were prepared. Some dishes belonging to Magna Graecia consist of sweet meats made from honey sauces, walnuts, almonds soups and meat in vinegar. Luxurious buffet were associated with ancient Roman nobles. (

Some parts of Italy (southern) has warm climate, which is help to growth of vegetables like broccoli, aubergine and tomatoes as a result many preparations are based on red sauces. And in north part vegetables like cardoons, radicchio, black leaf kale and head cabbage, adapted to cooler temperature are found.

Italy can be divided into four regions

Northern Italy

Central Italy

Southern Italy

Island region

Northern regions

Mainly traditional recipes in region recognize for unsalted butter rather than olive oil, and many types of pasta. And risotto and polenta are rich hearty soups in the winter season. In the Northern part of Italy, especially Emilia Romagna and Piemonte, has outstanding cattle breeds suited to milk and meat production like veal, pork and beef are meats choices, with lamb and other animals playing a less important role. Cooking methods like boiling and frying during slow braising and stewing, and in the latter cases northern cooks use preferring to use wine or broth as the liquid rather than tomatoes, and herbs for flavour. (

La Cucina Valdostana

Because of its location of this region is nearby related to German and France influence on north Italy cuisine. Soup was a dinner, with rye bread and cheese. The ingredients used are sausages and cured meats, roasts, or boiled meats. The traditional Pranzo Valdostano was a main one course-meal, with bread and cheese. Family diets were simpler, with dishes made with lesser cuts of meat. Salad and wild greens collected in the fields were as traditional side dishes and in the past often took the place of bread. Polenta is also important. ( 

Famous dish

Polenta : Made of cornmeal can be soft, creamy, and fluid, or dense, firm, and shaped. It can be prepared quickly or simmer away slowly.


And there are other regions in northern Italy:-

La Cucina del Trentino Alto Adige

La Cucina Ligure

La Cucina del Friuli Venezia Giulia

La Cucina Dell'Emilia Romagna

La Cucina Lombarda

La Cucina Veneta

Central Italian Cooking

In central Italy the platter of mixed grilled and braised meats and stews or roasted meats, pork, beef, and poultry, particularly holiday meal in Tuscany, with the well-known Chianina cattle graze the fields. Inside Lazio, on the other side, the platter likely also have lamb along with the other meats. In Central part of Italy the summers are hotter and longer as compared to North, and the specialty of central Italy is farming tradition, with various crops that are difficult to find somewhere else, including farro, an earliest grain cultivated by the Romans. Tomato-based dishes are more well-known than they are in north. ( 

La Cucina Toscana

At first look Tuscan food show straightforward: there are limited sources used not much spices other than pepper, some sauces or seasonings other than olive oil, and less use of herbs, and the bread is unsalted. The main course follows the same dichotomy, with heartier roasts and stews in the winter months, and faster cooked grilled or even fried entrees (meat or fish) in summer. 

Tuscans look for the best vegetables, meats, fish, and fruit, and one time they have the best don't want to put in something that might divert. Chianina beef is superb, for example, so period it with just a little salt when grilling up a Fiorentina (porterhouse steak). (

Famous dish 


And there are other regions in central Italy:-

La Cucina Umbra

La Cucina Laziale

La Cucina Marchigiana

Southern Italy

Wide coastline surrounded by mountainous region, this side is the poorest part of Italy, and the population mainly depends on a completely vegetarian diet, for ex: - eating greens and bread or pasta. On the other part, the upper class was very rich, enjoying a rich and really advanced diet. Warm climate and the growing season is longer, and helps to grow some famous vegetables are tomatoes (many of which go into tomato based sauces) eggplant, zucchini and in the cold season can find cauliflower and broccoli raab. 

As compared with Northern and Central Italy in this region larger use of dried pasta is seen (as opposed to egg pasta), though people also enjoy vegetable soups, and entrees, some of which also contain fish. Lamb, meat contribute a most important role in the diet than north. Fish also play an important role because of wide coastal lines. (

La Cucina Campana

This region includes Italy's mainly elegant and advanced cuisines, Campania. It's also well-known worldwide. Pizza, the most popular food on the planet, is Neapolitan, as are lots of selection of durum wheat pasta including spaghetti, and the red sauces (marinara, puttanesca, Genovese). Tih has also given us lasagna with eggplant Parmesan, ricotta, Christmas's struffoli, the Easter pastiera wedding soup, zesty carne alla pizzaiola, and has give popularity of the Seven Fish dinner on the Christmas Eve. (

Lasagna with eggplant Parmesan: This dish tastes just like the classic eggplant Parmesan layered be, four cheeses, and tomato sauce.


And there are other regions in southern Italy:-

La Cucina Abruzzese

La Cucina della Basilicata

La Cucina Molisana

La Cucina Pugliese

Italian Island Cooking

In this part of Italy's islands, Sicily and Sardinia, have had very different histories; really, they share only is their being distinct from the continent. Sardinia followed a same early path, being settled by the Phoenicians, Sicily's location in the heart of the Mediterranean has made it a stopping place for every people that sailed the Sea, beginning with the Greeks and Carthaginians, and progressing on during Byzantines, Romans, Spanish, Arabs and Normans, all of whom left their mark one way or another.( (

La Cucina Siciliana

Sicilian Cuisine is Italy's most difficult and definitely the most eclectic; almost every people to sail the Mediterranean -- the Greeks, Romans, Carthaginians, Arabs, Normans, Spaniards, and even the English -- has visited, bringing new ingredients and ideas that the long-term residents adapted and reworked.

Famous dish



And there are other regions in island Italy:-

La Cucina Sarda

Italian cooking methods

Italian cooking also follows same cooking method used in French cooking like roasting, grilling, and sautéing and baking, frying. But it has some methods which are unique to Italian cuisine, like

Battuto: In this method chopped mixtures of herbs finely that flavour an Italian dish -- including carrot, celery, onion, and parsley. Traditionalist use a mezzaluna, a crescent-shaped knife, and a chopping board, but people use blender now a days. (

Trito: A trito is the same like mirepoix almost. It is a grouping of celery, garlic, onions, carrot and parsley without the addition of pork. It is used in the same method as a battuto. (

Crudo:- In this technique includes a combination of finely minced raw, fresh herbs and vegetables (try fennel, tomato, bell peppers, chives, and garlic) are put top of dish or mixed with cooked food at time of serving. (

Al dente: - In this term used in cooking pasta and vegetables. The meaning of this word is "to the teeth, which specify that the pasta or veggies should still have some resistance to the bite after cooking. (

Risotto: - The basic risotto technique is to sauté the rice in butter or olive oil and to add the stock during cooking up to half the required volume in more than one application. This term includes both a technique of cooking and a dish made from Italian short grain rice. Rice ranges other than arborio or carnoli can be cooked in the similar way. Short grain Japanese rice comes to mind. The rice is cooked without a lid, allowing the liquid to be absorbed with regular stirring after every addition. Risotto can be served either wet in the Venetian tradition or dry, usually finished with pecorino cheese and butter as a side dish to braised meats or poultry. (

Italian cooking equipment

Pasta machine: This equipment used to make fresh pasta like lasangne, stuff pasta like tortellini, raviolle.

Pasta Machine by Harold Import Company(

Rolling pin: This equipment used for roll out pizza and pasta dough.

Marble Pastry Board (18x18-in.) by RSVP International


Pasta insert: Pasta insert helps to boil pasta or reheat pasta and easy to drain water

Stainless Steel Pasta Insert (8-qt.) by Calphalon(

Panini maker: This machine is used for grill Panini (it's kind of Italian sandwich)

Polished Steel Panini Grill by Krups


Ham slicer: Used to slice Parma ham which is most popular smoked ham product from Italy.

ausonia RGV slicing machine 195 GL LUSSO(

Italian wood fire pizza oven: This is traditional oven used in Italy to bake a pizza.

outdoor-pizza-oven-italy.jpg (550Ã-366)(

Pasta tong: This equipment is made to hold a pasta without breaking.

Spaghetti Tongs (12-in.) by Rosle(

Ravioli tool set: This equipment used to cut ravioli and pizza. That sieve help to take out ravioli.

Ravioli Tool Set (2-pc.) by Mario Batali(

Mezzaluna: It is kind of knife in moon shape it make easy to chop vegetables.

Stainless Steel Mezzaluna with Wood Handles (8-in.)(