France and food.
Thinking about both makes me the happiest person on the planet. Having had the opportunity to cook in France a couple of times with women I highly respect, as well as dine and explore France multiple times, with each return trip, my kitchen welcomes a new tool, a new skill, a new approach and an overall better cooking and dining experience.
Today I would like to share with you 15 tools – some hands-on tools such as pans and utensils and others ideas or guides to help you to experience great pleasure and success in the kitchen. For me, the journey continues, and while initially some may think this list could easily be 100+ items long, in actuality, it need not be all that long as the best way to ensure success in the kitchen is to understand the fundamentals: keep it simple, cook with seasonal high-quality ingredients and know and hone the skills of good cooking. Let’s get to the list!
1.A Classic Dutch Oven
2. French copper anything
3. A Crepe Pan (or something to make crepes in – a castiron pan works great!)
~Le Creuset’s Cast iron Crepe Pan is a life-time keeper
4. Fleur de Sel
- Le Saunier de Camargue
- Jacobsen Salt Co. – A wonderful American-made (Oregon) fleur de sel (I use and love this company)
- Maldon Sea Salt Flakes
5. Market Totes and string cotton mesh bags for loose produce
Cotton, Eco-friendly, reusable, available in a variety of colors and from many different companies.
6. French Butter – my favorite it below
~Check out my butter tasting how Isigny Ste Mère’s rose to the top.
- vintage French linen is a treasure to find and welcome home, but even if you can’t, finding linen napkins is a textural luxurious touch to the table setting – simple and sophisticated.
French company, Harmony makes classic stone wash linen red stripe tea towels.
9. A dependable wine bottle opener
10. Tart Rings
Dominique Ansel, the James Beard winning French pastry chef and the creator of the cronut in his recent cookbook, shared how he makes tarts, and while you can certainly use the removable bottom tart pans (which I have for years), upon his recommendation, I am shifting my baking practices to using tart rings instead.
I highly recommend Le Creuset’s. I know, their name has appeared a lot in today’s post, but they is a reason – they make quality products. Upon David LEbovitz’s recommendation I welcomed into my kitchen a couple of Le Creuset’s spatulas and found exactly what I was looking for – sturdy, indestructible and dishwasher safe.
12. Souffle Dishes (small – ramekins; & large)
13. Cocottes (copper or ceramic)
14. Must-Have French Cookbooks
- Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1 by Julia Child, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle
- Volume 2, absolutely worth having as well if nothing else for her French Baguette recipe and Pork Loin recipe.
- The French Chef Cookbook by Julia Child
- The Pleasures of Cooking for One by Judith Jones (the editor of Julia Child’s iconic cookbook and many others, and a self-described Francophile)
- The French Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes and Lessons from Paris and Provence by Patricia Wells
- Simple French Food by Richard Olney
- Provence: The Beautiful Cookbook: Authentic Recipes from the Regions of Provence by Richard Olney
- The Escoffier Cookbook and Guide to the Fine Art of Cookery by Auguste Escoffier
15. Enjoy watching episodes from The French Chef, starring Julia Child
16. An Extra One! Watch the first two seasons of The Simply Luxurious Kitchen!
While the French approach to cooking has inspired many people to step into the kitchen, undoubtedly other cuisines as well will have inspired us to welcome additional tools and approaches to cooking. The French culture and approach to food and congregation has long been an inspiration in my own life, and the above list will certainly have you off to a successful start in the kitchen if French cuisine is something that sparks your curiosity. Enjoy and as Julia would say, Bon Appètit!
~Check out TSLL’s French-Inspired posts here.