Mother’s Day is around the corner, so of course I’ll share one of my mother’s recipes. My favorite is her Quiche Lorraine.
My mother is a Francophile to be sure. Her love of dance started with ballet lessons in childhood, and she took French class in high school. She took her first trip to Paris with her best friend Alice and a group of their fellow high schoolers in the summer of 1962 as part of a nine week European tour. In May of the previous year, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy dazzled the world when she and her husband traveled to Paris to meet French President Charles de Gaulle. My mother admired Mrs. Kennedy’s sense of style, her passion for art and culture, and fluent French speech.
Quiche became popular in the United States in the 1970’s and 80’s, but in the early 60’s, it was unfamiliar to many Americans. Here in the U.S., we associate quiche with breakfast and brunch, but this wasn’t the case in France. The French had a custom of eating a light supper at around 9pm, which would sometimes include quiche and fruit. Each student in my mother’s group was assigned to a Parisienne family to visit on the weekends. Mom would visit the Germaine family. This is when Mom was first introduced to Quiche Lorraine. She loved it so much that she learned to make it, and has continued to do so for decades.
As a child, I remember my mother making Quiche Lorraine for the family on weekends. Toulouse Lautrec and Edgar Degas prints from her first trip to Paris hung on our kitchen walls. She instilled in us the values of being proud Americans and citizens of the world. Her quiche was the taste of home. Whenever I would come home from college or visit in the years to come, she would have one waiting for me. Mom was there when I gave birth to my son, and of course her quiche was the first thing I ate when I returned home from the hospital.
I recently asked Mom for her quiche recipe so that I could make it for my own family. She’s been making it for decades, and doesn’t use a lot of measurements. I made three attempts, taking notes on the measurements and cooking methods each time, and calling her on the phone with questions and feedback. The third time was the charm. My kitchen had that warm nutmeg aroma that I remember. The quiche had light, fluffy melt in your mouth texture with a golden brown top and crust like I remember. This recipe has become a metaphor for my relationship with my mother- her teaching, patience, and love.