Saturday, August 15
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Food is Often Just as Much About Theme as Taste or Nutrition

Food occupies a sometimes odd but always wonderful place in our lives. The oddness is largely due to the fact that we use food in so many different ways. It wasn’t that long ago that people were mainly concerned about sating hunger. And even past that point it was largely about nutrition.

french baguette loaf

To be sure, there were many moments in life when people specifically looked for taste or texture. But those concerns tended to center around special occasions. Otherwise it was mainly the wealthy who concerned themselves with the taste of every single meal. But that also brings us to the present day.

It’s true that we all do still have our issues in life. But the vast majority of us have something that almost anyone in the past would envy. We have an almost total and complete control over what we eat. Thanks to modern shipping and storage we can even sample the cuisine from half a world away. That’s not even considering the selection of spices either. Expeditions were once launched across oceans to gain what we carelessly glance over on our spice racks.

In fact, we have so much freedom in our food choice that we can even theme meals around certain ideas. Consider a French theme for example. One would probably begin with some type of  french baguette loaf. It’s a classic way to prepare bread in France and surrounding regions. However, it’s become far more than that in recent times. Decades of movies and TV have turned it into shorthand for French cuisine. If we see a baguette loaf sticking out of a shopping bag than we can usually guess the theme of the meal. And this is why it’s usually a given if one wants to create a French themed meal.

One should have a main course. But that’s best left to individual taste. One of the most important points about a themed meal is ensuring everyone is comfortable with it. French cuisine has some fantastic choices for filled and protein rich options. But many of those choices won’t fit everyone’s taste.

However, there are parts of the meal which converge more easily with the average palette. Drinks are usually one of the more popular topics of discussion. But there’s a flip side to the earlier discussion of baguettes. One can also consider French pastries for the dessert.

There’s a wide variety of French pastries. But most bakeries tend to put an emphasis on softer and flakier options. These often provide more differentiation between the standard American pastries. However, this also leads into the reason why they’re such a good option for French themed meals.

The pastries are different than what one would see in a typical American meal. But they’re similar enough that people are seldom intimidated by the options. People recognize the tastes and textures. It’s simply that those tastes and textures come in different ratios than they’re used to. And all of this is what makes a themed meal so enjoyable. One can find a mix of the familiar and the new. It’s a chance to enjoy a meal while also expanding one’s culinary worldview.

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