Hello! I'm quite enjoying your website as I try to plan more vegetables into my family's meals, with a French flavor.
I read a book several years ago (I wish I remember what it was) in which an American woman married a Frenchman and stayed in France to raise their children. Her older son insisted on a traditional French lunch and dinner every day, which was challenging for her. She eventually found a French cookbook that had meal suggestions for lunch and dinner, planned out for every day of the year. Do you have any idea what this book might be? Or do you know of anywhere else I might be able to find such a list?
Hi Anabel. Thanks for writing in with your question. I believe the book you are referring to is Cuisine pour toute l'année by Monique Maine. This book was originally published in 1969 and then republished in 1991 with a few updates.
Just as you described, the book gives a suggested menu for both lunch and dinner for nearly every day of the year. A recipe is also included for each menu and there is a total of more than 750 recipes in the book. All of these recipes are very typically French without being in the least bit complicated. This is absolutely a book aimed at the novice home cook whose principal goal is to get a meal on the table two times a day.
The menus follow the seasons so the suggestions go right along with what one might find at the market or grocery store that week. Many of the menus follow the typical French meal pattern of starter course, main course, cheese or dessert. It isn't mentioned in the book, but many of the menus should have a baguette (loaf of French bread) to accompany them. This is so typically French that the author would not need to mention it.
I find this a fun book just to browse through. It really gives an insight into exactly how French meal planning might be done. There are two indexes: one an alphabetical listing of all the recipes and the other a listing of all the recipes by month. It can be quite helpful if you have a particular dish you are planning on preparing to search for the menu that includes it to see what things might be served to make a complete meal.
Here is a sample menu from the book for the last week in March:
Ham and Fennel Gratin
(The recipe for ham and fennel gratin is included.)
Beef and Tomatoes
(The recipe for beef and tomatoes is included.)
This book should inspire anyone looking to give a French flavor to their weekly menu planning. And if you find yourself cooking two meals a day, Cuisine pour toute l'année could surely help with some easy ideas.
One warning though the book is only available in French.