Wednesday, December 19, 2012


On a lark we went to a Flea Market-Auction this past Sunday, just to take a look at what they had. I found a couple of antique items, gold glass dishes and candle holders, that my mother has; they made me miss her terribly since she is in BC and we are on PEI. Then I perchanced on a very special little cookbook with recipes from the 1700's, out of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, Canada. In a few blogs I'd like to share with you the recipes I am trying.
Fortifications of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia
Fortification of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia
FYI: Louisbourg was a very busy little seaport and trading center that was first colonized by the french when they came to Canada. From the 14th to the 17th centuries food in France was cooked with plenty of spices and oil but little or no sugar because it was just too expensive. Near the end of the 1700's chefs started introducing lighter styles of preparation where they used a lot less meat with delicate sauces, marinades and sweet dishes to compensate.
Main Street, Louisbourg
Main Street, Louisbourg
By the 1740's new cooking methods like braising, extracting the juices and essences proved to be the beginning of the second period of French cuisine that continued throughout most of the 18th century or the 1700's. After the French Revolution the third period, the world-renowned Haute cuisine began.
Town Square Louisbourg, NS
Town Square, Louisbourg, Nova Scotia
Although residents kept hens, local supplies of eggs proved insufficient. In 1752, 1504 dozen eggs arrived aboard ship from New England. Eggs weren't eaten at breakfast, rather they were prepared as a course or main dish at noon or at the dinner hour. Egg prices always rose in winter so the 18th century housekeeps worked hard to make the summer supplies last into the cold season, if they could. Eggs were stored in cellars if they weren't too humid or in straw, hay or sawdust-lined casks for the colder months.
a weeks worth of eggs
"egg white mixed with quicklime, a bit of cement, some pitch and crushed/powered egg shell gives a strong mastic compound to repair broken porcelain."

Quote from Menon, La cuisiniere bourgeoise: 
"On the dish in which you are serving, spread butter to the thickness of a knife blade, on this put pieces of bread cut very thin and also thin slices of gruyere cheese, then 8 or 10 eggs; season with a little salt, nutmeg, pepper; cook in a low oven."

***Remembering that 'low oven' meant more or less away from the hottest part of an open fireplace!***

Here is the Recipe for Eggs a la bourgeoise that I just made for lunch:
1 tbsp Butter
5-6 thin slices Bread, crusts removed
6 thin slices Gruyere Cheese
8-10 Eggs
Pinch of Nutmeg
Salt & Pepper to taste
Butter a pie plate and  
flattened piece of bread in butter pie plate

place layer of bread, rolled flat with rolling pin, in the plate. I used multi-grain...
six flattened pieces of bread in buttered pie plate
Top with thin layer of cheese; I used mozz & cheddar mixed and shredded it, about one cup...
shredded cheese on flattened bread in pie plate  
before breaking 5 eggs over the cheese.
eggs and cheese on flattened bread in pie plate
Nutmeg, salt and pepper
Here is a close up of the way it will look after all ingredients are added...
close up of eggs & cheese on flattened bread
see the cheese underneath the eggs?
 Cook in a pre-heated 300 F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, longer for firmer eggs; I did 40 minutes and it came out like this:
cooked eggs a la bourgeoise

piece of eggs a la bourgeoise
eggs were firm; food was simple, tasty and very easy to make
Not a huge fan of eggs myself, I really enjoyed this dish, although it 'looked' dubious at first, it tasted wonderful. Clean up was a snap, only one dish was used.

Try this yourself and comment on how it went, I'd love to hear how you liked it.
Enjoy an egg dish that was popular 200 years ago!
Bon a...


  1. Now that is a different way to prepare eggs. May have to try it, although not tonight as I only have one egg on hand. That would be a very small supper! Great post, I like all that history, and pretty neat to have a recipe book from the 1700's.

  2. The recipe actually tasted pretty good, I was surprised too. What's even better is that its Canadian History and Canadian Recipes~!


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