Cross Canada Cooks: New Brunswick

Celebrating the vibrant food, recipes and culture of New Brunswick. 

The Acadians of New Brunswick
A beautiful old-fashioned lighthouse stands guard in Saint Andrews
The Acadians: People with a taste for living
The expulsion of the Acadians, the French colonists who refused to sign an unconditional oath of allegiance to the British, from Eastern Canada between 1755 and 1762 is a sombre chapter in our country's history. These proud, hardworking emigrés lived on the land they called l'Acadie, which included Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, as well as part of Quebec. They were adept at farming marshlands, and devised a system of dikes to reclaim land from the sea.

The French-speaking Acadian communities were tight-knit and rich in culture. After the debacle with the British, an estimated 11,500 Acadians were expelled from their land in what is known as Le Grand Dérangement. Hundreds were killed, countless others died from disease, and communities were torn apart. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow immortalized the period in his epic poem "Evangeline."

Many displaced Acadians settled in Louisiana, creating today's thriving Cajun culture. But, for thousands of Acadians, the ties to "their land" were strong and they gradually returned to Canada, most to New Brunswick.

Acadian cuisine
The Acadians are also lauded for their cuisine. Signature dishes include chicken fricot (a.k.a. chicken soup), rappie pie (pâte a la rapure), poutine rapée (mashed potatoes with meat; not to be confused with the Quebec fries-and-gravy poutine), clam pie, meat pie (a must-have on Christmas Eve) and salted fish. Root vegetables and game meats -- partridge, hare and deer -- are common. Desserts usually include molasses and maple syrup.

We owe a debt of gratitude to the Acadians for their contributions to the culture and cuisine of this country. But they also deserve thanks for their most precious gift of all: their return to Canada.
-- Doug O’Neill

Page 2 of 5 -- Learn more about the Bay of Fundy, plus how to crack famed New Brunswick lobsters on page 3

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