French Cuisine in Chicago
French cuisine has been popular in America longer than you may think
You’ll find plenty of French cuisine Chicago, along with lots of other French influences. These range from the names of Chicago’s streets and suburbs (LaSalle, Calumet, Joliet) to its amazing collection of French Impressionism at the Art Institute. And if you’re looking to taste a little bit of French culture while you’re exploring Chicago’s French roots, Maison Parisienne is a great place to start (or end) your day.
Believe it or not, Maison Parisienne is not the first French cuisine to be introduced to Chicago. As far back as 1673 (which to Americans is a long time ago), French coureurs de bois were trading with the Native Americans who lived in what is now the Chicago area. They doubtless added some classic French touches to their preparation of the native cuisine. In fact, the French dish cassoulet has its roots in the New World discovery of haricot beans. When you order the cassoulet at Maison Parisienne, remember you’re following the French practice of eating locally.
From France with Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson introduced several staples of French cuisine to America, including pasta served with gruyere cheese and crème fraîche…which is, of course, the basis for modern American macaroni-and-cheese. These foods were highly popular among Jefferson’s dinner guests, who in turn wanted their own chefs to learn to prepare French cuisine as well.
Due to a wave of French immigration between 1871-1914, more and more French restaurants began to appear in and around the city. Once Americans realized how delicious French cuisine was, they began to add a French influence to other international dishes. Probably the most influential figure in the popularity of French cuisine in America was Julia Child, who popularized it in cookbooks and on her TV show.
Chicago’s long and loving relationship with French cuisine continues with the opening of Maison Parisienne in October of 2016!