Mere Poulard's Omelet

3 min
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How did you find your wife or husband? What led you to her/him or her/him to you? The following is my story of how I met my future wife.

One day when I was waiting in the dental office, I picked up a magazine on the table, a February 2012 issue of Gourmet World, a popular US culinary magazine with worldwide distribution. An interesting article in the magazine about Mere Poulard and her world famous omelet grabbed my attention. Although she died in 1931, her restaurant was still in business at Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy, France. Her omelet was so tasty that numerous heads of state and government, various royal families, and world celebrities had frequented the restaurant during and after her time.

According to the article, before becoming Mere Poulard, she was Annette Boutiaut, a maid to Édouard Corroye, a government architect in Paris. In 1872, Mr. Corroye was commissioned to restore the disintegrating abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel to its former glory. Annette went along with Mr. Corroye‘s family. As they arrived, the sea tidal waves began encircling the rocky island, which was otherwise accessible on foot from the mainland during the low tide hours. Mr. Poulard, son of a local baker, who came down from the hill to meet the family, held up Annette in his arms and waded through the muddy and overflowing causeway. He put her down until she safely reached the foot of Mont-Saint-Michel. Love between the two flourished and marriage ensued.

In 1888, Annette and her husband opened an inn at the foot of the hill. Using local ingredients, she made her signature omelet and fed thousands of pilgrims on their way to the abbey. Then came the name Mere Poulard as her tasty omelet became world famous. The story also described how the omelet was made.

After reading the story, an urge to go and visit Mont-Saint-Michel overcame me. I soon booked a flight from New York to Paris. I was sure I was definitely not lookingfor romance at Mont-Saint-Michel, but interested in pursuing a kind of culinary detective work in finding out why this omelet was so famous. I had a passion for food and loved cooking. I liked to seek and try a restaurant people raved about. I was a regular Yelp review contributor.

Eventually I was on a bus from Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel. The weather forecast for that day was heavy rain and low temperature. But that did not damp my enthusiasm at all. When the bus arrived, only a drizzle greeted me and then it stopped.

By the time I arrived, the Mere Poulard restaurant was full. I had to wait in a line, but the waiting area was just next to the kitchen. I could see a chef beat the egg white in a big bowl made of copper as hard and fast as he could, while another chef added more logs into a burning fireplace in the wall. He then scooped some butter from a bucket into an iron spoon with a long handle and circled it over the red hot flames in the fireplace. As the butter melted, he retrieved the spoon, poured some white egg mixture into it, and returned the spoon to the fire.

I was surprised how accurately the author of the Mere Poulard story wrote about the way the omelet was prepared and cooked. The author must have stood at the same spot as I did and recorded what he had observed. The amazing thing, as the author stressed in the article, was the same way chefs many generations later still followed as Mere Poulard had first perfected the techniques in making the omelet. Fully amazed, I pulled out a copy of the magazine I had brought with me and started to reread the story again.

As I was reading, I heard a loud female voice coming from behind: "Oh my god, you read the same story?" Turning around, I was astonished to find a young lady next to me, holding the same issue of the magazine, opened to the exact starting page of the article.

We were so overwhelmed by this coincidence that, for a moment, we each became speechless. After recovering from the shock, we decided to dine together to taste the omelet and sought out the reason why we were holding the same magazine.

As it turned out from our conversation, Evey and I lived thousands of miles apart. She came from Del Mar, California. She had the same passion for food and loved cooking. And it was the curiosity and interest arising from reading the same article that prompted each of us to visit Mont-Saint-Michel. Like Annette and Mr. Poulard, our romance started on this rocky island unknown to either of us before coming here. Yet the accidental encounter had its inevitability.

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