French cooking is indeed an art, but an art that seems to come so
naturally to the
Anyone that loves
good food, and loves to cook, can prepare the majority
of the well-known
French classic dishes. Discover the Mères of France, how they
became world renown for their basic and simple special home cooked
gourmet to you and me, but in France this is the
Mere is the word for mother, and these special 'Mères' were women
restaurants or working for other great chefs] whose
reputations were created by
each of their specialty home style recipes.
They would only specialize in a few
recipes, using 'basic cooking
techniques'. If you would like more information of
'Mothers Simple French Cooking'
The Mères of France
The great Mères [women
chefs] of France date back to 1759, where Mère
mentioned in Lyons, and a century later her
granddaughter Génie became a Mère.
the more well known Mères were prominent towards the end
nineteenth century up until the 1930's.
Some of the most noted
Mères of France
[but not all] are
listed below along with their special recipes. You
too can learn
how to create these
famous 'Mothers' recipes.
Simple French Cooking
Recipes from Our Mothers' Kitchens by Georges
Blanc and Coco Jobard [with more than a 100
traditional recipes]. This is easy to
prepare, honest French cuisine from the kitchens
of these famous and formidable women, who have
inspired generations of chefs. You'll find
artfully delicious and simple recipes that
create the true flavors from around France.
Simple French Cookbooks - all about French
Les Mères Allard of Allards [a Paris
Bistro in the 13th] are Marthe Allard [a food historian,
writer noted as a Burgundian Mere Brazier, along with
her daughter-in-law Fernande Allard. Marthe and her
husband bought the restaurant 'A la halte de 'Eperon'
from Vincent Candré who specialized in Scallops in
Beuure Blanc in the 5th. Upon improving the Beurre
Blanc recipe from Candré's cook, she used the sauce over
either Pike Poached in Court-Bouillion [or scallops].
She specialized in Burgundy recipes and some of her
recipes include Pâté en Croûte;
Cassoulet; Lamb Vegetable Stew;
Lentils Braised Beed w/Carrots; Chicken
in Red Wine and Pleasant w/Chestnuts.
La Mère Catarina-Elena
Barale a native of Nice, created many of the famous
Niçois recipes. She developed her expertise at Chez
Paulin et Ma snack bar, in the beautiful neighborhood of
Riquier, that her parents had run since her birth.
Many of her recipes came from her mother, and the snack
bar eventually became a restaurant. Catarina created her
unique Niçois specialties which included Trouchia;
Tourta de Blea; Pissaldiera; Estocaficada; Doba a la
Nissarda and the snack corn cake Socca.
La Mère Elisa Blanc
[the mother of Georges Blanc] was the third generation
of cooks in the Blanc family. Her grandparents opened
country inn in Bresse, then their son Adolphe Blanc took
over the inn after marrying Elisa Gervais. Elissa
was a passionate cook, bringing many of her mother's
recipes to the inn. Her specialties were based upon the
local fresh products that included Bresse Chicken
in Cream Sauce; little Potato Pancakes in
Clarified Butter; her daughter-in-law Paulette
took charge of the kitchen. For 34 years she created her
special Bresse dishes, and her son Georges eventually
took over the reigns of the business.
La Mère Eugènie
Brazier started her career working for Mere Filloux,
and her specialties were her mothers recipes for a cream
dessert was sauce ''Bechamel' poured into a pie
dough base. The other recipe was a simple simple
pie filled with onions softened in butter with cream.
But she was most noted for her recipe for 'Gratinée
Lyonnaise', the famous French Onion Soup.
She eventually took over Mere Filloux's restaurant when
she retired. She also helped out on her time off
from the restaurant to help at the Brasserie
La Mère Bourgeois
was the first ever to receive a diploma from 'Club des
Cents' an exclusive private club formed by passionate
male gourmets. She received the highest culinary
achievement award in France, held a 3* Michelin rating
until her death in 1937. She acquired a worldwide
reputation without ever having left her kitchen.
Her coach inn was visited by royalty from around Europe,
where she cooked unique foods with an exuberant flair.
Her specialties included ' Warm Pate with Foie Gras
and Truffes, and Fish Meuniere otherwise known as
'Frog Legs in Herb Butter'.
La Mère Paulette
Castaing met her husband Raymond Castaing while both
were apprenticing at the Hotel Cheynet. She became
Madame Cheynet's assistant, and when the moved both
worked at Les Fauvettes and Le Coq du Bruyere, she
learned she had a flair for food, they finally opened
their own country inn called Beau Rivage in Coindrieu.
They had their own fish pond created to supply the fresh
fish, and her specialty dishes included Trout au
Bleu; or Trout au Champagne;
Eel Stew and Pike Mousseline.
She was awarded her first Michelin star in 1954.
La Mère Françoise
Fayolle better known as Mere Filloux had a
modest restaurant at 73 Rue Duquesne. Now this was
a busy woman, and what she was noted for was her whole
'Herb Roasted Chicken'. Simple
yes...well this lady was so efficient, that she cooked
and carved over 500,000 roasted chickens. Each
table in her restaurant was served one whole chicken
[not matter how many guests were at the table], which
she promptly carved each and everyone herself, neatly in
a few minutes. Her cooking influenced the
most prestigious chefs of the Lyons region.
La Mère Léa
another noted Lyons Mères, cooked her way up through the
grand houses, and eventually opened her own restaurant
La Voûte near the Rhone river. Her first original
lavish sauerkraut recipe was such a hit around the area,
that other brasseries started serving it, so Mère Léa
stopped serving it! Her special recipes are dishes
common to Europe, such as Tablier de Sapeur
[marinated and crumbled tripe fried and served with a
chervil sauce]; Pike Quenelles;
Lyons Salad [cold plate of Cervelat, cold cooked
sausage, slices of bacon and calf's foot; Cervelle
de Canuts and her famous for her Bugnes
[crispy fluffy fritters].
La Mère Annette
Poulard was the avant-garde cook of
Mont-Saint-Michel. She came to Mont-Saint-Michel
as a maid for the Corroyer family [Mr. Corroyer was an
architect assigned to restore the Abbey]. It was there
that Annette met her husband Victor Poulard [a son of a
local baker]. The couple took over the running of
Saint-Michel Teste d'Or Hostelry. In 1888 they
built the Poutard Aine hostelry, where one could get her
famous 'A la Renommee de l'Omelette' [her
famous omelet] all day long. But it wasn't only
her famous omelet that she was noted for, she had a
special flair with vegetables, meats and fish and smoked
her own salmon.
French cooking is a way of life in France, and one that would be healthy
for Americans to adapt too. That being said, the French do a lot of
walking, but they also don’t over indulge in their eating habits. So in
reality they eat fairly healthy, but they get their exercise as well.
There are a lot of rich sauces, and wonderful cheeses [fromages] that
are used in a majority of French recipes. We'll tell you how to
prepare these great French sauces, and how to prepare the French creams
and their use in French cooking. Fromage is of utmost importance
as well in French Cuisine, and we'll tell you how to use these cheeses
by themselves or making cheese sauces with them.
One thing that you’ll notice in these recipes and/or if you have
traveled extensively in Europe: the desserts and/or fruit sauces and
such are not overly sweet. That is one thing that American cooking has
adapted to over the years…sugar, and one of the worst things for us to
indulge in. As a matter of fact, at the turn of the 20th
century, Americans consumed, on the average, 10 pounds of sugar per
year; in the 1990s, that figure surpassed 110 pounds per year for every
man, woman and child in the U.S. That is a sad fact in itself, and one
that we need to change. The same can be said about salt; it is overly
used, and hides the natural flavors of foods and of course used in large
quantities can be a threat to a person’s health.
Some of the most famous French recipes are quite simple to prepare, and
were created by Les Mères de France. This was an elite group of women,
from the late 1800’s until roughly the 1930’s, who were exceptional
female ‘chefs’ in the Lyon, France region. They were affectionately
designated a ‘Mère’, meaning ‘mother’ in French, and these special women
created some of the most famous French noted foods still available
around the regions of France today. Lyon, France is the world capital
for exquisite gourmet food.
Recettes for ‘Niçoise Salad’, Pissaladière [the famous onion like pizza
in Nice], Onion Soup Gratinée,
Chicken in White Wine Sauce, Roasted Duck with Olives, Crayfish in
and of course Potato Gratin. You’ll be able to try your hand with these
recipes and then enjoy your delicious results. These innovative lady
chefs also produced some of today’s great male chefs in France. We'll
tell you more about them as well.
All French chefs use only the finest fresh herbs, vegetables, fish,
poultry, meats, seafood and oils and vinegars. The best way to insure
that you have what you need, in the way of herbs, is to grow them
yourself. Growing fresh
herbs is easy, that way you'll always have them on hand, and not
half to pay exorbitant prices at the store. The flavors that the fresh
herbs will infuse into your creations are…well superb! For some of
the best Herbs & Spices
Be sure and try our
authentic French recipes, and after you have
prepared them, take a photo and submit it to us to be added to that
particular recipe page along with your name [this can be just a first
name if you prefer] and where you're from, with your comments on the
preparation and on the recipe itself. Please give it a * to *****
start rating [one being the lowest rating to five being the highest
Enjoy ‘Our French Recettes’;
we’ll continually add to the collection. We suggest that you
visit our ‘Cooking
Basics’ section for basic styles of cooking, and, if you’re so tempted,
try a recipe in French [en française], the you can always consult our ‘Cooking
Conversions’ section, to convert from/to the metric measurement. We
also have a section where the more important
cooking terms are converted and explained in English.