For 87 years, the Festival of the Cooks has been celebrated on the
Island of Guadeloupe in the French West Indies where women master cooks
own most of the 200 restaurants. The word cuisinière means a woman cook in French. But these women are special: The Cuisinières
are considered national treasures.
In 1916, their mothers and grandmothers, cooks of modest means, banded
together to form Cuistot Mutuel, an insurance association, to provide
the medical care and funerals that they could not afford. The cooks
prepared meals when member were sick, helped each other through family
emergencies, and arranged dignified funeral services.
After having shared these difficulties, the women cooks yearned to
see each other on