This is another foundational French cookbook. Although its first edition was released in 1932, Ginette Mathiot's I know how to cook ('Je sais cuisiner') is still referred to as the bible of French cooking. 5 million copies sit on kitchen shelves in France and across the world. My grand-mother used to have it, my mum has it. For many years, this has been the gift made by mums to their daughters leaving their parents' home to start a life of their own.
One of the oldest French cookbooks is known as Le Ménagier de Paris. It was written in the Middle-Ages, around 1393 by an old Parisian Bourgeois willing to educate his young and inexperienced wife about her home duties. It is a sort of ‘Good Wife’s guide’, where the Bourgeois gives a lot of advice on social behaviour, marriage, religion, and a full section on cooking with no less than 400 recipes.