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Peter the eater

Nova Scotia’s Traditional Foods

223 posts in this topic

Can you talk about what an oatcake is? I've seen them in almost every coffee shop/bakery/market we've visited.

I had one today at the Citadel( I was starving). IMHO, it sucked. Of course, I have no frame of reference. Where can I find a good one so I can compare?

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Hodge podge is a hot vegetable dish that I had never heard of until I moved to Nova Scotia. Its the kind of thing you can get at church suppers or in the kitchens of fifth or sixth generation blue nosers. There are many opinions as to what goes in and when it should be made but the fundamentals are always the same: ultra fresh veggies served with cream . . .

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I went searching at the farm market in Wolfville, NS on Saturday morning and came home with new potatoes, snow peas, sweet peas and carrots. Onion and chives are softened in butter and the cooked veggies are dumped in with some cream to make it all come together. Purists might insist on salt pork instead of butter to get things going but since I had none butter was more than fine. Other traditional ingredients may include cauliflower, turnips or broccoli.

I'm not clear on the etymology for hodge podge, the non-culinary word I know means a mixture or a random collection of things. There's a French verb that I can't remember but it means to cook with a shaking motion, like you're doing popcorn on the stove.

Both “hotch potch” and “hodge podge” are terms being derived from an Anglo-Norman root “hochepot”, which in term derives from the French term “Hocher” – to shake. While this there is an ancient culinary connection, the other meaning of a jumble or mixture is pretty ancient as well. Chaucer was able to write “but ye han cast alle hire wordes in an hochepot”, with the expectation that people would understand his meaning. Variations on the dish occur all throught western Europe, but in the UK hotch potch/hodge podge became associated with a Scottish dish:

Scotch Hotch Potch (19th century).

"Make the stock of sweet fresh mutton. Grate the zest of two of three large carrots; slice down as many more. Slice down also young turnips, young onions, lettuce, and parsley. Have a full quart of these things when shred, and another of young green peas. Put in the vegetables, withholding half the peas till near the end of the process. Cut down four pounds of ribs of lamb into small steaks, trimming off superfluous fat, and put them in stock. Boil well and skim carefully; and the remaining peas and white pepper and salt; when you think it thick enough serve the steaks in a tureen with the hotch-potch. - Obs. The excellence of this favourite dish depends on mainly on the meat, whether beef or mutton, being perfectly fresh, and the vegetables being young and full of sweet juice, and of being boiled until of good consistance. The sweet white turnip is best for hotch-potch, or the small, round, smooth-grained yellow kind peculiar to Scotland, and almost equal to the genuine Navet of France. Mutton-chops make excellent hotch-potch without any lamb steaks. Parsley shred, white cabbage, aparagus points, or cauliflower may be added to the other vegetables or not at pleasure. The meat may be kept wholeof served seperately."

I've put some more information here if you are interested.

I think that food histoy in Nova Scotia is really interesting. I have a book called "Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens" which gives a good account of some of the food traditions of the region. A lot of the recipes (like the hodge podge) have a very 18th century feel to them. Can you still get "Solomon Gundy" cured herring in Nova Scotia?

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Thanks Adam for shedding light on the term hodge podge, and also for bringing to my attention The Art and Mystery of Food. I've enjoyed your posts for years now, particularly where seafood is involved, but never got around to clicking your link.

I think that food history in Nova Scotia is really interesting. I have a book called "Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens" which gives a good account of some of the food traditions of the region. A lot of the recipes (like the hodge podge) have a very 18th century feel to them.
I've posted an excerpt from that book put together by Marie Nightingale at the bottom of post #47 talking about spruce beer. You're right it's an excellent resource and it came out ahead of the pack when there was nothing like it around.
Can you still get "Solomon Gundy" cured herring in Nova Scotia?
Check out post #4 upthread.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Thanks Peter, that is very kind of you. I love the look of the veg. in the Hodge Podge, especially the potatoes. I can almost taste them and feel the "pop" of the skin breaking they look so good.

I'm really pleased to see that Solomon Gundy still exists. As you may know Salmagundi (and various spellings) was an extremely popular mixed salad in the 17th and especially 18th century. In many recipes a main ingredient was pickled herring. The origin of the word is unknown, the oldest form of it is "salmigondin" which was used by the French write François Rabelais in the 16th century. He was fond of nonsense words, so it is possible he made it up or is is related to earlier culinary terms like Salomene etc.

The upshot of all this is that I was pretty amazed to see that that word survived in Nova Scotia. It would be a great lark to make Salmagundi using Solomon Gundy, unless it would make the Universe implode of something.


Edited by Adam Balic (log)

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One of my favourite summer beers is from the Pumphouse Brewery, which is located in my hometown of Moncton, NB. Their Blueberry Ale is quite tasty and I'm looking forward to having a few while sitting on their patio on a hot, summer day when I'm back there next week. I'm not usually a fan of ale beers and am more of a dark/stout beer drinker. But the Blueberry Ale is an exception for me.

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Indeed, the Pumphouse Blueberry Ale is a standout for me, as you can see from the photo we keep a few fruity ales around this time of year. Garrison's Raspberry Wheat and St. Abroise Apricot Ales are also excellent summer sippers. The latter is from McAuslan Brewery in Montreal which is why it didn't make my top local ten list. They also make an Oatmeal Stout which is out of this world! A chocolaty black pour with molasses and coffee notes . . . a head of light tan and tenacious lacing . . . mmmmmm.

I can only wonder what spruce beer tastes like, or if one can dry out the spent ingredients for firewood.

I'll have to take a look at those other fruity ales you mentioned. And that Oatmeal Stout sounds like it would be right up my alley. Did you buy them at the liquor stores? Hopefully I'll be able to find some when I am back in Moncton.


A truly destitute man is not one without riches, but the poor wretch who has never partaken of lobster. - anonymous

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I'll have to take a look at those other fruity ales you mentioned. And that Oatmeal Stout sounds like it would be right up my alley. Did you buy them at the liquor stores? Hopefully I'll be able to find some when I am back in Moncton.

All three were purchased a large NSLC. MCAuslan is only now starting to get it's product into the stores here - the Oatmeal Stout wasn't in the NSLC, I can only find it at the specialty store in Halifax.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Ah hah! I think that molasses cookie might be a Nova Scotia specialty called a Fat Archie. It so happens that I spent a lot of time in the last few weeks driving on the 401, 401, 416, 417 and 40, and spent Q time with CBC1. There's a new regional Canadian regional cookbook out (can't remember the author) and she referred to a NS puffy molasses cookie as a Fat Archie. (She also said they were often spread with butter.

Have you ever heard this cookie referred to as a Fat Archie?

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Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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. . . . There's a new Canadian regional cookbook out (can't remember the author) and she referred to a NS puffy molasses cookie as a Fat Archie. She also said they were often spread with butter. . . . Have you ever heard this cookie referred to as a Fat Archie?

Yes indeed. In my world, such as it is, a Fat Archie is a big molasses cookie with cinnamon and usually raisins. I think I've always assumed that it was a broader-reaching phenomenon like the Whoopie Pie but now I'm not so sure.

I believe you are referring to Anita Stewart's new book - haven't got it yet but I will because she's quite awesome.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Yes, Anita Stewart was her name, and I'd better get the book too. She did compare the Fat Archie to the Whoopie Pie, but mentioned a couple of spicy differences, and said the butter spreading thing was unique to NS -- like the swell name.


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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In our family "Fat Archies" would never have raisins and were not quite as puffy as the ones shown above. The biggest difference between a fat archie and a regular molasses coookie made by my mama was that the fat archies were made with the bacon grease that was saved in a cup on the stove. When there was enough Mama would make her fat archies for us. I can still taste them now :rolleyes: although I haven't had a cookie made with bacon grease in 25 years or more.

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In our family "Fat Archies" would never have raisins and were not quite as puffy as the ones shown above. The biggest difference between a fat archie and a regular molasses coookie made by my mama was that the fat archies were made with the bacon grease that was saved in a cup on the stove. When there was enough Mama would make her fat archies for us. I can still taste them now  :rolleyes: although I haven't had a cookie made with bacon grease in 25 years or more.

Those ones sound very delish. Have you any idea where the name "Fat Archies" comes from?


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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In our family "Fat Archies" would never have raisins and were not quite as puffy as the ones shown above. The biggest difference between a fat archie and a regular molasses coookie made by my mama was that the fat archies were made with the bacon grease that was saved in a cup on the stove. When there was enough Mama would make her fat archies for us. I can still taste them now  :rolleyes: although I haven't had a cookie made with bacon grease in 25 years or more.

Molasses, spice and bacon fat -- a delectable thrifty Caledonian triple play.As to the derivation? Dunno, just guessing. Archibald and Archie are true wha hae Scots names, ans if you ate too many of these cookies you'd be a Fat Archie?

(Not a sociologist,)


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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Lo and behold . . .

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This recipe comes from Boularderie Island, Cape Breton (where Petra plucked my turkeys last fall!) and possibly from the Outer Hebrides before that. "More of a biscuit than a cookie" says it's author.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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L'Acadie

It’s impossible to talk about traditional Nova Scotia food without a major discussion of Acadian food. There are dozens of communities throughout the province that embrace their French ancestry with great pride. They speak the language, fly the flag and cook the food.

Characterizing a culture’s cuisine other than your own is difficult. I sometimes wish I had an authentic Acadian grandmother to answer my food questions, but I don’t. I’ve got some good friends that are steeped in the traditions and can help me translate the words and expressions that are beyond me.

Acadian cookery is all about the home kitchen, growing your own and getting through the winter. If there are fine restaurants serving the classic dishes I don’t know where they’re located. I consider the food to be hearty, practical and delicious. Breakfast is often the biggest meal and is called déjeuner, which in France and Quebec refers to lunch. For Acadians lunch is diner and dinner is souper. This confusion has translated to English speaking Nova Scotia where the noon meal is called dinner and the evening meal is called supper. Oh, and breakfast in Quebec is le petit déjeuner.

To recap:

Canadian English: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Nova Scotia English: breakfast, dinner, supper

Acadian French: déjeuner, diner, souper

Quebec French: petit déjeuner, déjeuner, diner


Edited by Peter the eater (log)

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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My mother is an acadienne and one of my favorite dishes that she makes is a turkey fricot. It is an Acadian soup that we grew up eating regularly after Christmas and Thanksgiving. Make stock with the turkey carcass, add leftover turkey, along with some carrots, potatoes, onions, summer savory and my favorite part, dumplings. :wub:


A truly destitute man is not one without riches, but the poor wretch who has never partaken of lobster. - anonymous

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This is a replica of an early Acadian home:

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La Maison Acadienne is an early French settler's dwelling as it would’ve looked in the late 1600’s. This one is located at The Historical Gardens in Annapolis Royal. It’s framed with heavy timbers with wattle-and-daub walls and the roof is thatched much like you’d find in Normandy back in the day. The oven is made with clay and sits on a wood platform projecting outside the shell of the home:

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The building is flanked by a herb and vegetable garden that was vital to the Acadian diet. When the colonists first settled in the area they built a series of dykes and sluices to drain parts of the valley and create arable land. It was easier than clearing higher land and they did such a good job some of the dykes are still around today virtually unchanged:

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Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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My mother is an acadienne and one of my favorite dishes that she makes is a turkey fricot. It is an Acadian soup that we grew up eating regularly after Christmas and Thanksgiving. Make stock with the turkey carcass, add leftover turkey, along with some carrots, potatoes, onions, summer savory and my favorite part, dumplings.

That combo sounds irresistible - lucky you!

Fricot is so versatile. In the Chaleur Bay area of New Brunswick it's an art form with dozens of variations incorporating meat, game, poultry or seafood. In Cape Breton a fricot is usually made with red meat - if it's got fish it's a tchaude or chowder.


Edited by Peter the eater (log)

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Rollmops!

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This a German invention - often served at breakfast and purported to resolve hangovers. It's a pickled herring fillet wrapped around pickled cucumber and onion, secured with a broad toothpick. Very popular down the South Shore of Nova Scotia.

Peter, I just discovered this topic! OMG these look so good and I'm not even hungover!

And that lobster :wub:

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Peter, I just discovered this topic!  OMG these look so good and I'm not even hungover!

And that lobster  :wub:

It's worth getting hungover just to see well they work - I'm a little surprised it wasn't mentioned here.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I've never met an Acadian meat pie I didn't like.

I've not had the moose one yet - I hear it's hard to beat - but I've had the wild rabbit kind. Lapin des bois or la lievre is a classic that's been delighting and sustaining for centuries.

This past weekend we went to a food festival that was part of a same-day province-wide picnic to showcase innovative food growers and sellers. Apparently only 10% of our diet is locally produced - activists here say that number could be well over 50% with a little knowledge and preparation.

One highlight for me was this chicken and pork pie:

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It was a sunny day and the place was packed:

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and music was playing as the hungry people showed up:

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There were good cooks showing off, such as the Hali-famous Chef Ray Bear:

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There was also a petting zoo, or maybe it was more of a holding tank for future samples:

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Hands-down best free sample was this local oyster:

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Wow, I forget how great these molluscs can be. Timing is the key - shuck and slurp in one continuous motion.


Edited by Peter the eater (log)

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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An interesting (but still traditional) variation on the meat pie is a vegetable pie. Root vegetables (potatoes, turnips, carrots) are boiled together then put in a crust along with some of the cooking water and baked until the crust browns and the juices are reduced. I make mine with a chive-cream sauce.

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PS: Do you remember where the oyster from?


Edited by Mallet (log)

Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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Do you remember where the oyster from?

The oysters came from Yarmouth County's Eel Lake Oyster Farm.

Nice veggie pie - looks like a perfect golden crust.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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. . . . If there are fine restaurants serving the classic dishes I don’t know where they’re located.

After receiving some not-so-anonymous tips, it seems there are good places serving up real Acadian fare.

Here are some specialties from Co-op Artisanale in Cheticamp, Cape Breton.

Haddock or Cod Dinner

Lightly breaded and pan-fried to perfection, served with vegetable, roll, tea or coffee.

Cod Fish Cakes

A delightful mixture of cod and mashed potatoes pan-fried to a golden brown, served with vegetables, coleslaw, roll, tea or coffee.

Stewed Potatoes with Meat and Vegetables

A hearty meal with green beans, coleslaw, roll, tea or coffee.

Fish Chowder

Very unique. Our blend is cooked in a broth of haddock (no milk or cream added) and served with dinner roll and crackers. Bowl or Cup

Chicken Fricot

Dices of potatoes and chicken, cooked in its own broth and served with dinner roll and crackers.

Homestyle Baked Beans

Served with two dinner rolls.

Blood Pudding

A House Specialty. Old fashioned custard with pork meat.

Meat Pie

An Acadian favourite, prepared with shredded beef and pork, under a golden tea biscuit crust, served with cranberry sauce. With Tossed Salad.

Potato Pancakes

Grated potato pan-fried to a golden brown, with molasses, apple sauce or sour cream


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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