The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

October 14, 2012

Indiana cooks turn lemons into sweets

CAYUGA, Ind. — “Baking with Lemons” was the theme of the 15th annual Bakersfest held earlier this month at the Vermillion County Fairgrounds. The Bakersfest is sponsored by the Vermillion County Extension Homemakers and the Purdue University Cooperative Extension in Vermillion County.

Homemakers County President Belva Conner opened the day’s events by leading the pledge to the flag and the Homemakers Creed.

Becky Brown, Purdue University associate professor of linguists, gave a presentation on “French Food Culture from France to America.” She discussed how people associate high-end cuisine and culinary expertise with French cooking.

Many of the beginnings of French cuisine actually originated in Italy with Catherine de Medici, an Italian aristocrat who married French King Henry II. She became queen of France and when she moved from Italy, she brought her chefs and bakers with her. Catherine also introduced the use of the fork to France.

The French also wrote cookbooks, such as the “Leviandier” in 1935 with Taillevent and “Le cuisinier francois” written in 1651. With the use of cookbooks, food preparation could be shared and could travel to many other parts of the world. The French opened the first restaurants in the 18th century and they also began training their own chefs.

China also had ancient manuscripts describing food preparation. One from the 8th century was a description on the art of drinking tea. China passed down its recipes orally, which could lead to ingredients being added or forgotten.

French food culture came to the United States through travelers, restaurants, literature, cookbooks, chefs and also visiting foreign dignitaries. Julia Child helped transcribe the French recipes into English and also hosted her own cooking show to help others learn the French preparation techniques.

Brown said a great way to garnish a crepe like the French is to sprinkle it with granulated sugar and then squeeze fresh lemon juice on it. That gives it that sweet–tart taste that makes it wonderful.

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