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ARCHIVED - Bon appétit!
A Celebration of Canadian Cookbooks

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History of Canadian Cookbooks

Revolutions In The Kitchen

Cover of cookbook, MA CUISINE AU CIDRE, with a photograph of Jehane Benoit standing in front of several barrels of cider
Jehane Benoit. Ma cuisine au cidre. Montréal: Éditions du Jour, 1973

Undoubtedly the best-known cooking expert Canada has produced, Jehane Patenaude was born in 1904 to a well-known Montréal family. She studied in Montréal and at the Sorbonne in France, where she studied the chemistry of food. On her return to Montréal, she began a cooking school and opened the restaurant le Salad Bar. In 1934, as part of the anniversary celebration of Jacques Cartier's arrival in Canada, she was asked to open a restaurant featuring traditional dishes on Île Sainte-Hélène.

Her fame spread and before long she was writing food columns and books in both French and English -- many of her books are available in French and English editions -- as well as appearing on radio and television, where her folksy charm made her a country-wide favourite.

Jehane Benoit (she married Bernard Benoit in 1940) received the Order of Canada for her many contributions to Canada's cuisine. Madame Benoit knew Canadian cooking from coast to coast, and described it as combining "French refinement, English basics, American traditions, and ethnic influences."

Jehane Benoit has been described as an archivist of Canada's culinary past who raised cooking from the status of 'women's work' to an act of love that was one-part science and one-part celebration. This may be her most important legacy.