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Le Foodist Paris Cooking Class

The Quintessential French Stew Pot au Feu

Literally meaning "pot on fire" or “pot over fire”, this dish is made with beef and/or mutton, as well as bacon and a mixture of vegetables like carrots, onions, bacon, leeks, stuffed cabbage and turnips. The method of cooking various foodstuffs in the same pot for long periods of time has been popular in France since at least the 1600s. The French king Henry IV supposedly declared: “I want no peasant in my kingdom to be so poor that he cannot have a poule au pot (chicken on pot) on Sundays.” At the time, the poor rarely ate meat and mostly consumed bread and vegetables. Ironically, in rich households, the bourgeois would have their servants use the fattest and least presentable meats for the preparation, and eat only the rich broth; as a result, the servants were left with what is now considered the better part of the meal.

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