The “finesse” of Butter

What we now know as French cuisine was one of the great social and artistic achievements of the nineteenth century. It was based upon olive oil in the south and butter in the north; and since prestige and power lay mostly in the north, butter became one of the foundations of the art and science of the great French chefs – of what is known as cuisine classique. To this day southern French cooking tends to be called "hearty" or "robust," and other rustic epithets, even by its greatest admirers: delicacy and finesse generally involve the use of butter.

Margaret Visser, Much Depends on Dinner – the extraordinary history and mythology, allure and obsessions, perils and taboos of an ordinary meal, 99.

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