Most French people expect each other to have a certain connaissance of history, culture, geography, philosophy-- and to know how to make a good vinaigrette.
The very first thing my French husband taught me was how he liked his. Here's the recipe, which for practical purposes and the reality of making vinaigrette, is slipshod:
Start with a tablespoon or so of red wine vinegar (but any vinegar will do). Stir in a teaspoon or so (a tablespoon if you like) of moutarde de Dijon (il n'y a que Maille qui m'aille...) Beat in a stream of olive oil (or oil of your choice) until emusified and it looks like you have the right amount.
Taste and season as you like; vinaigrettes are very personal affairs. And they are best when fresh. Don't make and store in advance!
The proportion of vinegar to oil should be about one to three.
You can beat the mixture with a fork, but a whisk works best; or mix in a screw-top jar and shake vigourously.
If you must add a pinch of salt, dissolve it in the vinegar at the beginning.
une connaissance: knowledge
un fouet: a whisk
fouetter: to whip or beat
le vinaigre: vinegar
aigre: sour, acerb
On n'attrape pas les mouches avec du vinaigre: You don't catch flies with vinegar.
©2012 P.B. Lecron