To give you an idea of what a kitchen was like in the days of Governor Claude de Ramezay, enter the museum and visit the garden-level rooms with the thick walls and vaulted ceilings. Near the kitchen, you will notice a large, shallow stone basin under the window, which was called “le potager”. It served as the kitchen sink to wash dishes and clean vegetables. The waste water was then drained out of the building to water the garden.

Now it is your turn! Here are some scrumptious recipes using vegetables and herbs that are grown in the Governor's Garden. These old recipes came from French cookbooks, which were available in New France in the mid-eighteenth century. They are now known to us thanks to the work of historians and can be found in Martin Fournier's book: Jardins et potagers en Nouvelle-France – Joie de vivre et patrimoine culinaire (Québec: Septentrion, 2004), which is available for sale at the Museum's Gift Shop.

 The food which the better classes of Frenchmen ate was as follows: for dinner, clear soup, with slices of white bread and various kinds of relishes; then a dish of cooked meat sometimes fried after being cooked; occasionally beef or mutton, squabs or fowl. It was almost always fresh. Often the third course consisted of green peas and occasionally fried fish. The wheat bread used was quite good, but ordinarily, according to my taste, too salty. The salt was a gray, finely powdered variety. No cheese was served and very little butter, which had little salt in it. Milk was seldom used and generally it was boiled milk with slices of wheat bread in it, or fresh milk with berries similar to our blackberries. Occasionally pancakes were to be had. For a beverage, the Frenchmen either used pure wine, usually red wine, mixed with water, or else just water or spruce beer. In the evening there were served two dishes of meat, both fried, sometimes a fricassee or fried pigeons, also fried fish and now and then milk with berries. The third course in the evening was almost always a salad prepared in the usual manner.

– Perh Kalm

Ham Toast

  • 225g ham
  • 1ml nutmeg
  • 15 ml chopped fresh parsley
  • 5ml chopped fresh chives
  • 1 ml pepper
  • 1 egg
  • Raisins
  • Pine nuts
  • Toasted bread slices
  1. Cut the ham into pieces and place it in a food processor with the other ingredients
  2. Beat into a smooth paste
  3. Spread the mixture on the toast and cut into bite-sized pieces
  4. Sprinkle them with raisins and/or pine nuts

Traité historique et pratique de la cuisine, 1758.

Diced asparagus

  • 450 mg asparagus, cut into small pieces
  • 15 ml butter
  • 110 ml water
  • 5 ml maple sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 bunch parsley and chives (tied together)
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 15 ml flour
  • 30 ml cream or milk
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Blanch asparagus for two minutes and drain
  2. Sauté the asparagus in butter and add cooking water
  3. Add the pepper, sugar, parsley and chives and cook for 15minutes. Then drain, saving the cooking liquid and remove the bunch of parsley and chives, keeping only the asparagus. Keep hot.
  4. Whisk the egg yolk, flour, nutmeg and cream (or milk) together
  5. Whisk a few spoonfuls of the cooking liquid (from step 3) into the egg yolk mixture (from step 4)
  6. Add the entire egg yolk mixture to the remaining cooking liquid and simmer at low heat until it is thick
  7. Place the asparagus in the thick sauce and reheat for a few minutes at a very low heat and you are ready to serve

Traité historique et pratique de la cuisine, 1758.

Parmesan turnips

  • 1 kg small white turnips
  • 45g butter
  • salt
  • pepper
  • nutmeg
  • 1.5 ml milk
  • 1.1 kg grated parmesan cheese
  1. Peel the turnips and cook them in boiling water
  2. When cooked, remove the turnips and cut into small pieces
  3. Add butter, salt, pepper, nutmeg and milk. Bring to a boil
  4. Sprinkle the parmesan and mix
  5. Reduce heat and simmer on low heat for a few minutes. Serve.

La Varenne, Le cuisinier français, 1699.

Julienne Root Vegetables

  • 5 carrots
  • 2 large parsnips
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • water
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 30g butter
  • 20g flour
  • 5 ml wine vinegar
  • 10 ml old style Dijon mustard
  1. Peel and julienne the vegetables. Cook them in boiling water for 15 to 20 minutes until they are tender.
  2. Keep the vegetables hot and save the cooking liquid
  3. Melt the butter and sauté the onions until soft for about 5 minutes. Add the flour to create a roux.
  4. Mix 170 ml of cooking liquid, salt and pepper into the roux and add the vinegar while mixing, then add the vegetables
  5. Add the mustard just before serving

Menon, La cuisinière bourgeoise, 1772.


Makes about 36 to 40 ramekins, the size of muffins or rolls

  • 1 L water
  • 60g butter
  • 60g grated gruyere cheese
  • 60g grated parmesan cheese
  • 60g of brie cheese cut into small pieces
  • 450g flour
  • 10-12 eggs
  • 15ml chopped chives
  • 30ml finely chopped parsley
  1. Boil water in a large casserole dish. Add the butter and chesses, let it melt.
  2. Slowly mix in the flour, stir in a little at a time with a wooden spoon. A thin golden crust will form at the bottom of the casserole dish.
  3. Add the eggs, two at a time and mix into the dough to make it easier to handle
  4. Add the parsley and chives, mix well
  5. Place spoonfuls of the mixture in the shape of small balls onto a greased baking pan
  6. Bake in the oven at 250° C or 400° F for 30 minutes

Traité historique et pratique de la cuisine, 1758.

Green bean salad

  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 30ml wine vinegar
  • 1ml finely chopped chervil
  • 1ml finely chopped tarragon
  • 2ml finely chopped parsley
  • 2ml finely chopped chives
  • 1 l water
  1. Trim and wash green beans
  2. Bring water to a boil and cook the green beans for approximately 15 minutes until they are tender
  3. Drain the beans and cut them in half, if desired
  4. Making the dressing with the olive oil, vinegar, and herbs. Mix it with the green beans, cool and marinate for at least one hour

Menon, La cuisinière bourgeoise, 1772.

Apple and pear pie

  • 4 peeled apples, cored and thinly sliced
  • 4 peeled pears, cored and thinly sliced
  • 50g raisins
  • Grated rind of half a lemon
  • 50g powdered sugar
  • 2-3ml cinnamon
  • 50g butter, cut into cubes
  • flaky pastry dough
  1. Line a pie plate with rolled dough
  2. Sprinkle with half the sugar
  3. Add the apples, raisins, lemon rind and sprinkle with cinnamon
  4. Cover with pears and diced butter
  5. Sprinkle with remaining half of the sugar
  6. Cover with strips of pastry
  7. Bake in the oven at 450° F for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350° F and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes

La Varenne, Le pâtissier français, 1699.

Cabbage soup

  • 3.5L water
  • 1kg of stewing beef
  • 2 veal bones
  • 15 ml coarse salt
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 2 whole red onions
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 parsnips
  • 1 leek
  • ½ cabbage cut into four pieces
  • ½ cabbage tied with string
  • 110g piece of bacon, with the rind
  1. Place the beef and the bones in water and bring to a boil. Skim broth from time to time.
  2. Salt the mixture and add vegetables. Let it cook at a medium heat for 2-3 hours. Discard the beef, bones and vegetables, keeping only the broth.
  3. Tie the remaining half of the cabbage with string. Holding the rind in place, slice the bacon and tie the slices together with string.
  4. Blanch the cabbage and bacon in a mixture of half water and half broth
  5. Add the cooking broth to the new broth mixture containing the cabbage and bacon. Let it cook for one hour.
  6. When serving, remove the cabbage from the liquid and set aside. Place bread slices on each plate and pour the broth over the bread. Add small pieces of cabbage to each plate. 

Menon, La cuisinière bourgeoise, 1772.