Pantry and Palate: An Acadian Cookbook

by Kerry Knight

 

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Perusing the pages of Simon Thibault’s first cookbook, Pantry and Palate- Remembering and Rediscovering Acadian Food  is very much like leafing through a history text. A delicious, mouthwatering text to be sure, and one that serves as a reminder of not only our amazing past, but is in itself a lively, relevant book of useful and tempting recipes. It is history come alive, ready to be cooked with love and care and eaten with relish. Or at least chutney, maybe rhubarb chutney.

Don’t worry, Thibault has a recipe for that.

 

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“Until I read this book, like most Canadians I had very little knowledge of Acadian foodways.I knew the Acadians were the earliest European settlers in Canada, people who had come from France in the seventeenth century and who had settled and prospered in “L’Acadie” in fertile areas of present day Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. I had read about their long and often tragic history, especially their expulsion from their lands by English conquerors in the course of the eighteenth century. Many Acadians fled to Louisiana where their cuisine evolved into what we now call “Cajun.” And it is the food of those Acadians, especially those in Nova Scotia, that Simon Thibault brings us in this graceful generous book.”- Naomi Duguid, from her foreward to the book

 

Cornmeal and molasses sandwich bread

Cornmeal and molasses sandwich bread

 

The trickle down effect of the Acadians’ diet and lifestyle can be seen right under our noses; think of the traditional maritime oat and molasses bread. It’s one I grew up with and make today, I learned it from my mother who learned it from hers back in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.

 

Who doesn’t love a Seaweed Pie I ask you?! It’s a treat the whole family can enjoy!

 

In the book, M. Thibault gives us the original recipe, one that has pretty much been passed on for generations via word of mouth. Chances are some of your favourite suppers have Acadian roots; food that is humble, homey and comforting.

 

Tourtière

Tourtière

Thibault, a Halifax-based journalist and radio producer whose work focuses on food scoured old family recipes, ladies’ auxiliary cookbooks and folk wisdom for 50 of the best-loved recipes of Acadians past and present. Clam pie, Seafood Chowder, Seaweed Pie (done two ways), tourtière, fricot and Fromage à la Tête de cochon are just a smattering of the delights within the pages. Who doesn’t love a Seaweed Pie I ask you?! It’s a treat the whole family can enjoy!

Relax! Seaweed Pie is just another name for blancmange, made with Irish moss – where carageenan comes from. Think of it as an Acadian Panna Cotta – Thibault did and includes a recipe.
Conserves, custards, cakes, puddings and pies round out the meal. There’s even a recipe for La Tire Du Couvent- a butter and brown sugar taffy -cooked over a wood stove-that has delighted kids since for a couple hundred years. You don’t need a wood stove for this book, just a good appetite.

 

Cranberry Pudding

Cranberry Pudding

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