Instead of storming a Parisian prison, storm into that kitchen and get cooking! Today’s the day the French stormed the Bastille prison in 1789, an open act of rebellion against the monarchy that is considered a turning point of the French Revolution.
After the Revolution, “while their former bosses were fleeing the country or losing their heads to the guillotine, chefs of the royal court found themselves out on the rue without so much as a roux to whisk,” said Carl Hanson.
Lucky for them, a promising new institution had begun popping up in Paris during the second half of the 18th century. This new-fangled thing was known as the restaurant. The first restaurants had opened in the 1760s and originally catered to those of fragile health. In fact, the word “restaurant” refers not to resting or ranting but to the “restorative” broths that were intended to return delicate Parisians and weary travelers to good health.
With the arrival of revolution, however, the restaurant became a venue for displaced chefs to practice their craft in a clean setting that, significantly, was open to all comers, not just royalty. For once, it did not require a noble pedigree to dine like a king, only sufficient funds to pay the check. And with that, the art of fine dining was born!
So, in celebration today, we made homemade croissants (the recipe is after the jump). And for a whole meal, check out a couple of our other favorite French-inspired recipes.