Guest Post from Irene S. Roth my writing instructor from Savvy Authors

French Culture, Language and Cuisine
By Irene S. Roth

I just love the French language. It is romantic and flowery, and it is a joy to speak. I do miss speaking French. I was born in Montreal, Quebec,and I was fluent speaking when I arrived in Ontario Canada. So, I have to work to keep up with my French. But it is far from an austere obligation. It has become a labour of love.

The French language is probably the most internationally significant Romance language in the world. As a romance language, it belongs to a group of related languages all derived from Vulgar Latin within historical times and forming a subgroup of the Italic branch of the Indo-European language family. The major languages of the romance family include French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian. These are all national languages.

The Romance languages now have less political or literary significance since both are the Occitan and Rhaetian dialects, Sardinian, and Dalmatian (extinct), among others. Of all the so-called families of languages, the Romance group is perhaps the simplest to identify and the easiest to account. That is a wonderful thing since I just love the romance languages. I also speak Italian and Spanish.

Historically and culturally among the most important nations in the Western world, France has also played a highly significant role in international affairs, with former colonies in every corner of the globe. Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, the Alps and the Pyrenees, France has long provided a geographic, economic, and linguistic bridge joining northern and southern Europe. It is Europe’s most important agricultural producer and one of the world’s leading industrial powers.

Among France’s other major cities are Lyon, located along an ancient Rhône valley trade route linking the North Sea and the Mediterranean; Marseille, a multi ethnic port on the Mediterranean founded as an entrepôt for Greek and Carthaginian traders in the 6th century BCE; Nantes, an industrial centre and deep water harbour along the Atlantic coast; and Bordeaux, located in southwestern France along the Garonne River.

The French landscape, for the most part, is composed of relatively low-lying plains, plateaus, and older mountain blocks, or massifs. This pattern clearly predominates over that of the younger, high ranges, such as the Alps and the Pyrenees. The diversity of the land is typical of Continental Europe.

French food is known globally for its finesse and flavour. Traditional French food relies on simple combinations that enhance the rich, natural flavours of basic ingredients. Many French chefs have earned international acclaim for turning French food into haute cuisine and influencing the gastronomic scene worldwide.

Anyone’s first step into the world of French cuisine should start with experimenting with diverse French cheese and wine. France is renowned for some of the world’s best wines and cheeses, and wine and food pairing is taken seriously in France, even at informal dinner parties. In many French restaurants you can order a platter of soft, semi-cured, pressed and blue cheeses, although in France it is typically served after the main course and before dessert.

Beyond French wine and cheese is a mixture of traditionally peasant and bourgeois French dishes, many of which come with detailed history,regional variations and modern adaptations. From simple, traditional recipes to complex dishes, it’s not difficult to find a top French food to suit your taste. Many French recipes are surprisingly simple as well, and it’s not as hard as you would think to introduce French food specialties into your weekly menu.

I plan to visit France one day. It is certainly on my bucket list. And when I do, I hope to taste and see all the marvelous things about France!

Irene S. Roth
For articles about writing and being productive, please visit Irene Roth’s writing blog at Irene S. Roth.


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