Monday 8/22/11 time 9:39 PM - Laura Valvanne
I went to see Mont Saint Michel in Normandy, France too long ago. I have to get there again soon. I had at that time a really crappy camera so no good pictures came out of the trip and the island is after all one of Unescos masterpiece of the world heritage of the humanity! I remember driving towards the island on a fairly flat region of Normandy and suddenly this mystical small island appeared in the horizon with a castle looking building on top reaching the sky.
They say that Archangel Saint Michel appeared to bishop Aubert and ordered him to build a sanctuary on this rocky island. This happened in the year 708 and so started the history of this island surrounded by the highest tides in Europe.
Entering the island it is like entering into a Harry Potter story. Small shops, restaurants, narrow cobblestone roads going up the hill and all the ancient buildings surrounding you telling a story of life in the village since the middle ages. Bear in mind that this might be hard to see when visiting the island during the highest season in August. It is neither that educational nor pleasant to follow the flow of tourists from A to B and not being able to stop and feel the history. There are apparently over 3,5 million visitors every year.
In Paris the 14th of January 1873 Annette Boutiait was married to a baker’s sun from Mont Saint Michel, Victor Poulard. They soon after in 1888 leased a hotel “Saint Michel Tête d’Or” in Le Grande-Rue du Mont Saint Michel. The “Hostess” Annette Poulard was an intelligent woman and saw the opportunity in all the travelers that came in to town. She greeted them with a big smile an apron and a shirt with puffed shirtsleeves and gave the impression that she was the head of this family business, everyone’s mother.
“Have you had a good trip? She would ask. “Quickly come in and sit on the table. You must be starving. Give me your coat, Madame, I will dry it and iron it for you. It would be good as new when you go visit the castle. Sit down and eat well and when you are finished we will show you the way.”
At this point she was cleaver to think what to offer to these busy visitors who were hungry but eager to continue their business. It couldn’t be something that took long to prepare so she would have to improvise. The famous omelet of Madame Poulard was invented.
This very thick and more of a soufflé like omelet was something everyone had to have and everyone also wanted to know the recipe. Even some theories were made that some wine were added or creme fraishe, but here is the simple recepy according Madame Poulard. She was asked the recepy by Monsieur Robert Viel from Académie des Gastronomes in 1922.
I break good eggs in a bowl and I wisk them well. I put a good peace of fresh butter on a frying pan but don’t let it turn brown. I add the eggs and stir them all the time. I don’t cook the omelet too much the I turn it, roll it and put in on a plate. The omelet must be served hot.
This recepy according to Madame Poulard needs good eggs and fresh butter and has no secret ingredients... of course the butter from Normandy is excellent.
The Auberge de Mère Poulard is still in Mont Saint Michel and they still serve the omelette. I wonder if it tastes as good as when the Madame made it herself?
From book: La ”Mère Poulard” by E. Gouillard
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