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Spotlight On Spices! Issue February 2015 - French Cuisine "L'Art de Vivre!"
February 06, 2015

I have a goddaughter who will be studying abroad this year: six weeks in Paris and her fall semester in the south of France. Hooray! For years I have wanted to visit France and its capital city. There’s no better time than this fall when my goddaughter, who speaks French fluently, will be there for three months. Secondly, I’ve been planning for the past year to research and add pages to the website discussing the flavors of French cooking. So, now’s the time.

The French believe in mastering the art of eating and living well. They call this "L'Art de Vivre!"

French cuisine is renowned for its herb blends of Bouquet Garni, Fines Herbes and Herbes de Provence. Each of these mixtures features herbs from France’s southern region. These classic blends and all the flavors of French cuisine are this month’s . . . . .

THE SPICE OF LIFE - French Food Spices

Herbs, more so than spices, are used widely in French cooking. Basil, Bay, Marjoram, Parsley, Sage, Tarragon and Thyme are the dominant herbs. The Alliums (family of bulbs) including Chives, Garlic, Leeks, Onions, and Shallots are widely used too.

Besides herbs, there are five French "Mother Sauces" as every culinary student learns: Béchamel, Espagnole, Hollandaise, Tomato and Veloute. Numerous secondary sauces can be developed from these five.

Also, now-a-days there are many varieties of sauces being made using fruit, nuts, seeds and vegetables as thickeners; however, within French cuisine, the five Mother Sauces still reign supreme. Reducing or cooking down liquids from foods like raw tomatoes will result in a sauce. But, most liquids need some help in thickening. This is where roux comes in. Roux is a mixture of flour and fat, usually butter, cooked briefly to remove the pasty taste of the flour.

Liquid to be thickened is added to the roux and boiled until it becomes a sauce. Traditionally four of the five mother sauces are made from roux. Hollandaise sauce, an emulsification made from egg yoke and butter, is never made with a roux. Tomato sauce, traditionally made with a roux, can be thickened quite easily without one.

Click here to learn more about the basics of French flavors and cooking.


February is the Month for:

National Sweet Potato Month

Valentine's Day

And, some of our favorite food days in the month include:

February 3 National Carrot Cake Day

February 4 National Homemade Soup Day

February 7 National Fettuccine Alfredo Day

February 9 National Bagels and Lox Day

February 11 National Peppermint Patty Day

February 14 National Cream-Filled Chocolates Day

February 16 National Almond Day

February 20 National Cherry Pie Day

February 21 National Sticky Bun Day

February 25 National Clam Chowder Day

February 26 National Chili Day

February 26 National Pistachio Day

February 27 National Chocolate Cake Day

February 27 National Strawberry Day


Check here for the latest news on any spice recalls, market withdrawals, and safety alerts:

Food ALERT! Widget


Websites for Spice Retailers:

Atlantic Spice Company -

Durkee® -

Maison Terre -

McCormick® -

Milford Spice Company -

Penzeys Spices -

Savory Spice Shop -

Spice Islands® -

The Spice House -

Spice Accessories Websites:

Bottles, Containers & Jars:

Bottle Store - -

SKS Bottle & Packaging, Inc. -


Online Labels -

Spice Racks:

Tubular Spices -

Spice Rack Source -

Check out our website that's All About Sweet Potatoes


Tell us what you would love to see in our monthly eZine. We want to keep this publication fresh and relevant. We want to put a spotlight on the herbs and spices that are of the most interest to you.

Use our Contact Form to give us constructive feedback or ask questions. Thank you!

Ellen White

Eat Well. Live Well. Cook everyday with spices and herbs!

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