French food began its evolution into its current form in 1651, with the publication of François Pierre de la Varenne’s cook book, The French Cook (Le Cuisinier François). This book has been called one of the most influential cook books of all time, and it credited with helping develop the French cooking aesthetic. During the Middle Ages, French chefs often made dishes that were elaborate or overly fussy, and out of reach for the common person. La Varenne popularized the idea that one can take carefully selected, high-quality ingredients and, with proper technique, create spectacular dishes. His work gave us food like omelets, bisques, and ragouts, many of which can still be seen at the heart of Mediterranean cooking. Start your journey along la Varenne’s legacy with these recipes, or browse some classic French and Mediterranean herbs and spices and start making some spectacular dishes of your own.