Josh's mom used to be a French teacher and is otherwise a bonafide francophile. I'm used to hanging around people who are enthusiastic about knowledge in some way or another (i.e. dorks), but this fascination with a whole country is sort of new to me. She often uses something from the language or history of France to illustrate a point. There are smatterings of French words spoken in her house. When he was growing up, if ever a curse word slipped through his lips, she would admonish him "En Français!" Remember, kids, cursing is okay when it's in a pretty language. And if ever you say a French or French-derived word in front of her, she will repeat it quietly, with the correct pronunciation, all the while encouraging you to please go on. I have chosen not to be irritated by this habit (and it was a conscious choice), because I am not convinced that she even realizes she's doing it. It feels like being corrected to me, but I think she's probably just enthusiastic. We should all be so enthusiastic about learning.
She also apparently did a lot of French cooking when Josh was growing up. Once, when we were there for just a regular weekend dinner, nothing special, we had duck à l'orange. I thought that was just something made-up that sounded French that they served in Daffy Duck cartoons. But no, it's a real thing. I'm not sure that he really appreciated the cultural aspect of his childhood dinners. You can try to feed a kid duck à l'orange, but he's just going to ask for les saucisses de Vienna.
Once, Josh mentioned that he thought I made an effort to make French food because I thought he craved it as a result of his childhood. He used the quiche Lorraine as an example. He further stated that I shouldn't try to cook like his mother, that I should develop my own style. Considering I hadn't really been trying to make French-style dishes, I wasn't sure how to take this comment. Perhaps it was a slam on my quiche. He's very well-versed in subtlety, while I often don't even realize that he might have meant something deeper until weeks later (like when I happen to use it in a blog entry). He better learn to speak more plainly, or he'll be getting quiche for a long time.
All that being said, here is something that I have been approved to make again and again. It's beouf bourguignon. It is probably nothing like real beouf bourguignon for many reasons, one of which is that it is made in the crock pot. In recognition of that and in honor of my hometown of Lenoir, we call it beouf le noir. That phrase probably makes no sense in French, but there's been no one to correct me. It's delicious and fancy, so you could serve this to your boyfriend's mother. Just be sure to transfer it from the crock pot into a Dutch oven made by a French company before you serve it.
Beouf Le Noir