Benefits of French Cooking and Baking

Why French cook­ing and bak­ing? And why should you both­er with home cook­ing and bak­ing, in the first place? These are valid ques­tions, espe­cial­ly when so many oth­er options will quick­ly and eas­i­ly put full meals on your table: catered meals, deliv­ery ser­vices, frozen meals, take-outs…etc. The real­i­ty is most of us have busy lives, and with full meals read­i­ly avail­able, it is hard to com­mit to home­made food, let alone French home cook­ing and bak­ing. How­ev­er, home­made French meals have many ben­e­fits, which is the rea­son why I start­ed this blog in the first place.

Benefits of home cooking and baking

These are some of the many ben­e­fits of home cook­ing and bak­ing, that real­ly moti­vat­ed me to learn to cook and bake.

1. It is one of the best things you can do for your health

I read an inter­est­ing arti­cle in a well-known news­pa­per that real­ly spoke to me. Health pro­fes­sion­als were asked “if you had just one piece of health advice to give peo­ple in their 20s, what would it be?” I expect­ed the answer to be some­thing in the lines of exer­cis­ing or eat­ing fruits and veg­eta­bles, which was indeed among the answers, but inter­est­ing­ly enough, one health expert answered the sin­gle best thing you can do is learn to cook. Not exer­cis­ing, not eat­ing veg­gies, but learn­ing to cook! Why? Because as you learn to cook tasty meals, you will nat­u­ral­ly find that you can cut down on sug­ar, fats and excess calo­ries, with­out com­pro­mis­ing fla­vor.

2. You have control over what you are eating

The best thing about home cook­ing and bak­ing is that you know exact­ly what your are eat­ing since you made it! This allows you to ensure you are only eat­ing the good stuff. This is par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant in a coun­try like the US where arti­fi­cial col­ors and preser­v­a­tives abound. One thing that par­tic­u­lar­ly shocks me is the pres­ence of high fruc­tose corn syrup in so many every­day foods. It’s in cere­als, cook­ies, crack­ers, fruit jel­lies, ketchup, and so many oth­er foods we feed our chil­dren! High fruc­tose corn syrup is par­tic­u­lar­ly detri­men­tal to your health. Home cook­ing and bak­ing allows you to com­plete­ly avoid high fruc­tose corn syrup. This is why I like bak­ing cook­ies for my kids.

Home cook­ing and bak­ing also allows you to cus­tomize your food to your needs or lik­ings. For exam­ple, you can eas­i­ly cook salt-free or bake with less sug­ar. Since you con­trol every­thing that goes in the food you eat, it is easy to con­trol quan­ti­ties, and eat exact­ly what you want to eat!

3. It is actually relaxing to cook and bake!

This is not a ben­e­fit I knew of before start­ing to home cook and bake, but some­thing I real­ized after. Home cook­ing and bak­ing is actu­al­ly relax­ing! How come? Because when you are cook­ing and bak­ing, you have to focus on what you are doing: you need to weigh, mea­sure, care­ful­ly fol­low the recipe steps, and while you are doing that, you are not think­ing of any­thing else. Hence, you for­get about all your wor­ries and what­ev­er stress you are under.

I find bak­ing espe­cial­ly relax­ing as it often requires you to knead with your hands, which is a won­der­ful sen­so­ry expe­ri­ence. I love mak­ing my own dough for tarts for this rea­son.

Benefits of French cooking and baking

Now, why specif­i­cal­ly French cook­ing and bak­ing?

1. French cuisine is delicious and less fattening

French cui­sine is world-renowned for being deli­cious, and yet it is less fat­ten­ing than oth­er cuisines. So you do not have to com­pro­mise taste for a flat­ter­ing fig­ure! As a mat­ter of fact, while 34% of Amer­i­cans are obese, the French are a sol­id 10 per­cent­age points behind (see arti­cle). Child­hood obe­si­ty is actu­al­ly declin­ing in France, where­as it is increas­ing in almost all oth­er coun­tries. Though there are many rea­sons for this, an obvi­ous one in my opin­ion, is that the sweets and cakes kids eat con­tain far less sug­ar than their Amer­i­can coun­ter­parts, and por­tions are much small­er. As a mat­ter of fact, when­ev­er I bake a French cake, I need to use my small­er 9 inch pan ver­sus my big­ger stan­dard Amer­i­can pan, because that would be too big for a French cake.

In gen­er­al, French por­tions are much small­er over­all, and the French diet has more vari­ety. The French eat a lot more fish than Amer­i­cans, as well as veg­eta­bles at every meal. They also eat less fried food or bread­ed food. While they are many more rea­sons, the fact of the mat­ter is French cui­sine is over­all less fat­ten­ing, while still being deli­cious!

2. French cuisine is incredibly varied

Though France is not a par­tic­u­lar­ly big coun­try, it is incred­i­bly diverse in terms of region­al cuisines because of the diver­si­ty of cli­mates and soils. For exam­ple, Bur­gundy cui­sine is heavy in meat and cheese, while the lighter Provençale cui­sine fea­tures a lot of veg­eta­bles, par­tic­u­lar­ly gar­lic and toma­to. This diver­si­ty in cook­ing styles and region­al spe­cial­i­ties makes for a very var­ied cui­sine that ensures you nev­er get bored, and that allows your body to get all the nutri­ents it needs.

3. French everyday cuisine is easy!

I often hear the mis­con­cep­tion that French cui­sine is incred­i­bly com­pli­cat­ed and requires spe­cial skills. This may be true for elab­o­rate cui­sine you find in an upscale restau­rant, but it is not true at all when it comes to every­day cui­sine.

I did not know how to cook or bake at all before start­ing my jour­ney in home cook­ing just a cou­ple of months ago. I learned in no time, and most recipes I tried, I suc­ceed­ed on the first try! Even recipes that might seem dif­fi­cult, like French brioche, the first time I did it, it came out look­ing and tast­ing exact­ly like it should! All I did was fol­low the recipe! Easy!

You also do not need a lot of kitchen uten­sils for French cook­ing and bak­ing. I only have the basics, and I make all the recipes I want to make.

All these ben­e­fits of French cook­ing and bak­ing are the rea­son why I spend time in my kitchen cook­ing and bak­ing, and why I share all my French recipes with you!

Bon Appétit!

French Mom

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