French cuisine is known for its heavy cream sauces, exquisite desserts and skillful processes in the kitchen that require a deft hand and chef training. For the average French family, mealtime is really about sitting around a table together and enjoying each other’s company while the meal unfolds in three courses: a soup perhaps, then the main course, followed by a simple dessert. So many cuisines are touched by French influence, it’s no wonder that their herbs, spices and flavorings are common everywhere: parsley, thyme, sage, bay leaf and rosemary, to name a handful. French food revolves around freshness and local availability. So the seafood that goes into your bouillabaisse will depend on what you can get at your local market, and the produce you slice up for your ratatouille should be freshly bought. Even the stale baguette you use for your pain perdu will be purchased the day before.