Chronicles

Sister Berthe Sansregret

The first lady of culinary art is no longer with us

Sister Berthe SansregreSister Berthe Sansregret passed away on Tuesday, September 9, 2003,
at the age of 91.

These chronicles render homage to an individual who, for many years, was known as the first lady of culinary art. A quick glance at Sister Berthe’s c.v. shows how many great culinary artists from around the world honoured this amazing woman, this educator who easily made the transition from teaching French and algebra to managing the École des Arts et Métiers on Stanley St., in Montreal.

Who was Sister Berthe? To find out more, follow our chronicles.

Click on a title to access an episode or to close the tab.

First episode
Sister Berthe... A Great Lady

Sister Berthe Sansregret, who was born into a well-to-do family in Joliette, decided to join the community of the Sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame at the age of 20. At the start of her career, she taught French and algebra. One day, her Superior sent her to the kitchens to help her colleagues. Her talents were noted and she acquired a taste for cooking! After obtaining her diploma in home economics, while continuing to teach, she pursued her studies in Quebec, the United States and France.

She brushed elbows with great chefs and trained in highly renowned establishments. She received numerous culinary diplomas and certificates. Throughout the entire time, while she continued as the principal of the École Supérieure des Arts et Métiers where she welcomed hundreds of students each year, she extended her educational mission to all of Quebec, publishing numerous recipe books, taking part in radio broadcasts, and publishing a column in a weekly magazine.

Over the years, as she accumulated the titles and honours of international gastronomy, she remained faithful to her primary vocation as a teacher and educator. As in the case of the founder of her order, Marguerite Bourgeoys, Sister Berthe was skilled at communicating and reaching out to those around her. She knew how to make others happy and healthy.

In the upcoming chronicles, we will publish some testimonials that will reveal the various sides of the woman who was Sister Berthe.

To be continued… on Tuesday, October 7, 2003.

Sister Berthe is no longer with us, but her memory lives on...

Who does not have a recipe book by Sister Berthe in one of their kitchen drawers? This gastronomist had simple recipes that everyone likes to cook, for every season. We will give you a few, taken from the various books she published, with an autumn taste.

A brief history

Although it is generally thought that the cucumber originated in Northern Italy, in all likelihood it came from tropical Africa. The Greeks and Romans were responsible for the widespread cultivation of this vegetable and they are the ones who spread it around the world.

Cold cucumber soup

Ingredients
3 cups Delisle plain yogurt
11/2 cup cottage cheese
3 cups cucumbers, peeled, seeds removed, diced
1/4 tsp dill
1/4 tsp salt
Pepper and parsley to taste

Preparation
1. Place the yogurt and cheese in a blender.
2. Cover and blend perfectly.
3. Add the cumbers, dill, salt and pepper.
4. Cover and mix well.
5. Store in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.
6. Garnish each bowl of soup with parsley.

This soup, served with garlic bread, is delicious.

Source: La cuisine au yogourt, p.86

To be continued... on Tuesday, October 7, 2003.


Second episode
Entertaining with Sister Berthe

In order to honour the great lady Sister Berthe was, we are reprinting an article written by journalist Françoise Kayler of La Presse, dated Wednesday, August 28, 1985. The title of the article was?Recevoir avec soeur Berthe? (“Entertaining with Sister Berthe”).

“At the École des Arts et Métiers on Stanley St. in Montreal, culinary art is included in the programme, along with sewing and china painting. But the woman who developed the programme did her work so well that that members of the general public and gourmets alike speak about sister Berthe’s school.

Sister Berthe taught cooking well before the Congrégation de Notre-Dame gave up their religious habits. Long before that emancipation, she was able to cross over the lay boundaries of the kitchen to study in France and the United States, with the leading chefs in the world. Yet, she never forgot her roots. She was always able to teach in a way that fit in with the lifestyles of those who came to listen to her and her classes respected the principles set out in La Cuisine raisonnée.

Over the years, the structure of the courses evolved and this cooking teacher extended her programme over a five-year period, allowing students to drop out along the way while refusing to let anyone go into the second year without having completed the first. Her clientele changed as well. More and more men registered. And Sister Berthe was particularly fond of these students.”

Sister Berthe is no longer with us, but her memory lives on...

Who does not have a recipe book by Sister Berthe in one of their kitchen drawers? This gastronomist had simple recipes that everyone likes to cook, for every season. We will give you a few, taken from the various books she published, with an autumn taste.

A little history

Originally from the subtropical regions in America, the zucchini, a close relative of the squash, has become an independent species that is set apart by its interior texture and the ways in which it is used.


Zucchini, tomatoes and onions

Portions: 4
Cooking time: 30 à 40 minutes

Ingredients
1 zucchini, sliced
2 tomatoes, peeled and diced
2 onions (medium), finely sliced
salt, pepper
herbs
butter

Preparation
1. Place all of the ingredients on aluminum paper.
2. Seal, by folding the aluminum paper back on all sides.
3. Cook in the oven at 400° F for 30 to 40 minutes.


Oven-baked zucchini

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Ingredients
1 zucchini per person
butter
bacon bits
salt and pepper
tomato sauce

Preparation
1. Cut each zucchini in two, lengthwise.
2. Place the zucchinis a baking dish and sprinkle with butter, bacon bits, salt and pepper.
3. Place in oven at 375° F.
4. Serve with tomato sauce.

Source: Sansregret, Berthe, CND, Les recettes de Soeur Berthe - Cuisine d’automne, Éditions du jour, Montréal,1973, pp.226-227



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