Pantry and Palate: Remembering and Rediscovering Acadian Food

Pantry and Palate: Remembering and Rediscovering Acadian Food

Simon Thibault
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The earliest European settlers in Canada were French. Although some fled south to Louisiana with the imposition of British control over the region and others were initially displaced, many returned and have maintained a distinct culture, particularly in what are now the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island.

Thibault, a journalist and radio producer whose family roots in the region go back to the eighteenth century, began this fascinating exploration of traditional foods and customs with a collection of handwritten notebooks from his grandmother. Further enriching his account with recipes from other families as well as historical sources, he paints a portrait of a rich, hearty cuisine prepared by largely self-sufficient people who adapted to new ingredients, such as corn and molasses, and took advantage of seasonal bounties.

Although one might initially think all this sounds very generally North American, the food itself is distinct: a condiment of salted green onions; fricot; a chicken and potato soup that varies from household to household; wild hare pie; râpure or rappie pie, an Acadian comfort food with a lovely and thin golden brown crust over "a thick gooey potato mass that is somewhere between the texture of thick rice porridge and wallpaper paste." It is so popular that groceries sell pre-shredded potatoes to make it.

There are rhubarb and cranberry preserves, much to do with apples, and throughout, a charming affection for traditions that Thibault is determined to preserve and extend.

Handsome color photographs by Noah Fecks throughout. Paperback.

For a limited time we have copies signed by Simon Thibault.

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