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French cooking is indeed an art, but an art that seems to come so naturally to the French.  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 recipes.  It's
gourmet to you and me, but in France this is the norm! 

Mere is the word for mother, and these special  'Mères' were women chefs [owning 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' just click here.

                                                 The Mères of France
The great Mères [women chefs] of France date back to 1759, where Mère Guy was mentioned in Lyons, and a century later her granddaughter Génie became a Mère. Most of the more well known Mères were prominent towards the end of the 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.     More Simple French Cookbooks - all about French Cooking.


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 du Dragon.

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.

As you can see, 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. pâté

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 Gratin
ée, Chicken in White Wine Sauce, Roasted Duck with Olives, Crayfish in Pouilly-Fuissé 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 rating].

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 French cooking terms are converted and explained in English.




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