Lucien Tendret was the nephew of the great food writer and aphorist Brillat-Savarin. Tendret, himself a food writer, never left the family hometown of Belley, the provincial capital of a subregion, the Bugey, east of Lyon near Bourg-en-Bresse. In short, Tendret was a late-nineteenth-century country squire and lawyer whose sole distinction was his uncle. Not one to shrink from playing his only trump, Tendret published a pompous memoir of the cuisine of the Bugey in 1892 called La table au pays de Brillat-Savarin. It contains recipes for some grandiose dishes described in a fatuous and inflated prose. It is also a meticulous and winsome memoir of bourgeois ataraxy in those last few decades before the storm of modern life shattered his world. He was a mine writer, definitely.
But miniature masterpieces have their place. Tendret’s elegant turn on the basic recipe for sautéed mushrooms is comfort food for the already comfortable. If anybody cooks it in Belley today, she works off the calories at the municipal tennis courts on the avenue Lucien Tendret.