MORELS speckled the forest floor. For a lavish meal with family and friends, Françoise Branget, a deputy in the National Assembly from the Doubs region, sautéed those earthy black mushrooms with Bresse chicken, the king of French fowl, and the pungent “vin jaune” from the nearby Jura district.
For Ms. Branget, this was not just a feast. It was a celebration of her campaign to unite deputies on the left and right in a national cause: the promotion of French gastronomy.
Earlier this year, she asked her colleagues to contribute a favorite recipe from their regions. The result is “La Cuisine de la République: Cuisinez Avec vos Députés!” (“The Cuisine of the Republic: Cook With Your Deputies!”), a culinary tour of France recorded in a 295-page album of recipes, history, humor, braggadocio and nostalgia.
“It is our national responsibility to cook and to eat well,” Ms. Branget, a deputy from the center-right party of President Nicolas Sarkozy, said as she washed sand from fat, spongy morels at her kitchen sink. “There are no political parties around the dinner table. By creating this book, male and female deputies are defending their regions and carrying out their political mandate.”
One could hardly imagine an American member of Congress making such a proclamation. But food is so much a part of France’s identity that the government led a successful campaign last year to win United Nations recognition of the French meal as a national treasure. Elected deputies can rise and fall on the extent to which they protect the terrains of their grape growers, the subsidies of their milk producers, the clean water of their oyster cultivators and the rights of their recreational hunters.
Most of the recipes in the book (published only in France, by Le Cherche Midi) date back years, even generations, and can be labor-intensive and time-consuming and can involve hard-to-find ingredients. Hearty wins over light: cagouilles charentaises from the southwest (petits gris snails, parsley, garlic and wine), a garlic-and-cream-filled gratin dauphinois and a challenging version of pork head that requires careful cutting out of the throat. Photographs of the smiling deputies as well as observations and advice from some of the 177 who participated give the book an intimate feel.
The book’s first recipe, a hare by Étienne Blanc of the Ain region, is the most daunting. Its starts with “aging” the dead animal in the open air for several days. Then comes a five-day process that includes carefully saving the blood, the organs and head while cutting up the meat, and making a classic pot-au-feu with a wine-based marinade, cooking and reheating the dish over three days.
“I found this recipe for hare in an old cookbook dating from before the Revolution,” Mr. Blanc wrote. He did not say whether he ever tried to prepare it himself.
Other recipes are more straightforward, reminders of the past and more specifically of poverty, when the French had to make the best out of very little. The “cacasse à cul nu” (potatoes, onions and a slice of pig’s skin), for example, is described as “traditionally a dish for the poor in the Ardennes.”
Still others are journeys deep into French history. According to legend, “creusois,” a simple cake with butter, egg whites, sugar, flour and powdered hazelnuts, was originally translated from a 15th-century parchment found in a monastery in the region of Crocq.
Then there is a large stuffed chicken, “Belle Gabrielle,” by Cecile Dumoulin of Yvelines. It is a complicated dish involving carrots, turnips, onions, leeks, lard, dried ham, sausage, chicken livers and gizzards, eggs and crème fraîche, named after Gabrielle d’Estrées, a mistress of King Henri IV who was installed by him in a town in Ms. Dumoulin’s constituency.
As for the elected aristocrats of the French Republic, they know how to dine well, too. Deputies, who have a private restaurant with a view of the Eiffel Tower, organize themselves in food clubs like the Parliamentary Club of Friends of the Table and the more down-to-earth Friends of the Pig. And several times a year, deputies sponsor tastings to celebrate their regions.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: September 16, 2011

An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to two of the female politicians who did not contribute to the book. Martine Aubry and Ségolène Royal, are former, not current, deputies.