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Old School Cooking for the Modern Woman: Helpful Techniques

Cooking has evolved in many ways around the world, but even so, many dishes and techniques have remained. Not only can these old techniques and meals help people learn more about the art of cooking, but can help prepare us to create more intricate and intense meals we can use to improve our kitchen skills with.

By starting with the basics, time-honored techniques can be learned easily and help you to discover more about this art that would otherwise be missed. Many cooking classes for women, often taken in tandem with mom, a sister or a friend, will teach you these necessary things which is why they're important to take. This article will highlight some techniques and recipes to help women learn new kitchen tips and contribute to a special bond through old and new cuisine making. 

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Basic Techniques

A class can help teach women many basic techniques they can use in the kitchen, like chopping and roasting, and can be a better hands-on experience than just reading a culinary book. Below is a little more behind these techniques and how they can help make certain dishes. 

  • Chopping

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While this might seem simple, chopping can actually be very difficult. You want to pay close attention to the size and thickness of the object you're chopping depending on the type of meal you plan to make. For instance, long, thin onion strips work well for soups, but for salads and stews, square cuts are better. 

  • Mincing

Similar to chopping, mincing is a slightly more delicate form. With this, you need to evenly chop up ingredients into very small pieces. Mincing is usually done with an extremely sharp knife to help give the ingredients an even cut and is done to help give just a slight flavor to the meal but not so as to overpower it. 

  • Roasting

Roasting meat so that it has a crispy texture is tricky. You want to make sure the meat is fully done but that the outer layer of it is slightly brown and crunchy. In a class, you can learn how to do this and even flavor the meat with spices and herbs. 

  • Frying

Frying is a delicate technique but one that's often easy to learn. You can use this to make eggs or add an interesting flavor to fish and vegetables. You can usually fry ingredients in things like butter or olive oil to give an extra burst of flavor to them. 

  • Making a Roux

A roux is found in many French dishes and is important to make to coat foods like meat. Made up of only butter and flour you need to quickly whisk it over heat so it thickens. However, you have to be quick because it can burn easily.

  • Boiling

One of the most essential techniques to know is how to boil water. Without it, you can't do much. By boiling water you'll be able to pour pastas and vegetables into it for a certain amount of time to make them tender. This is a very simple method and once learned can help you quickly move on to other techniques. 

  • Steaming

Steaming involves using boiling water, but is a little more intricate. To steam a food, you need to boil a pot of water and then place a strainer on the top of the water. The strainer will prevent the food from actually going into the water and instead use its steam to cook the food. This technique can be used with vegetables and meats. 

  • Caramelizing

To make soups and other mouthwatering French foods, caramelizing is essential to know. Caramelizing is basically browning foods in a pan so they become soft and flavorful. Onions are especially delicious when done this way and even picky eaters (like children) enjoy meals that include this technique. 

  • Making a Stock

Making a stock is important when it comes to preparing soups and stews. You'll need to know how to use bones from leftover meat and vegetables to create a mesmerizing flavor. You can even make an herb bouquet to throw into it to help give the stock flavors, but prevent the herbs from randomly floating around. This mixture sits for about 8 hours and can eventually be strained so you can remove any large pieces from it. 

Keep in mind that making a stock requires a bit of time and effort, so you'll need to make sure to set aside some time to master it. 

  • Braising

Braising is the process of where you fry some meat and then put it in a pot to slowly cook. This can add an incredible flavor to meats, like beef and veal, because it allows the meat to brown and then simmer in a stock. 

  • Sautéing

A vital thing to know when in the kitchen is how to sauté. This is a quick process where you fill a pan with a drizzle of olive oil or butter, heat it up, and then throw some vegetables or meat in it. You have to be quick to prevent the contents from burning and so they stay hot. 

What You Can Make

Once you complete your learning of these techniques you'll be able to try more advanced ones. You can learn how to make sauces to enhance the plating effect of a dish and even the tricky process of en papillote, where you wrap a food in parchment paper with herbs and use only steam to cook it. If you're living near a market you can stop by and grab some fresh ingredients to add delicious flavors to your new meals. 

In addition to this, you'll be able to try your hand at traditional French meals like soupe à l'oignon (onion soup), cassoulet (white beans with meat), beef bourguignon (beef in herbs and red wine sauce), soufflés, and even tarte tatin (caramelized apple pie). 

Throughout our life, we'll always need to make meals to satisfy our hunger, and these techniques will allow you to create amazing and healthy meals for you and your family in the comfort of your house. While it might take a bit of time to fully become an expert at them, once you do you'll be able to dive into many different areas of the French cuisine and culture. 

For more information, please refer to the following pages:

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