In the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, as France was establishing its colonies along the upper Atlantic coast of North America, early settlers from the coastal regions of Brittany, Normandy, and Western Bordeaux laid the ground for a cooking tradition that has contributed to the distinct character of the Maritime Provinces of modern Canada.
Although the cuisine had become highly eroded by the mid-twentieth century, it remains identifiably French in many pockets of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland. Of particular interest is the Fortress of Louisbourg, a French stronghold on the Cape Breton Peninsula of Nova Scotia. Now a museum, the Fortress holds in its libraries a number of cookery books and manuscripts that reveal much about French-Canadian food of the eighteenth century. Drawing on a variety of sources, in 1986 the staff and volunteers at Louisberg published a collection of recipes for the food they believed was prepared and eaten in and around Cape Breton some 250 years ago.
Although adapted for modern kitchens, the flavors and the character of the dishes are preserved, and in many cases the original sparsely worded recipes are reproduced. Stovetops and ovens are generally designated for cooking the dishes, but general advice is given for those who might wish to try their hand at hearth cookery. Included among the 107 recipes are such treats as partridge pie, a fish pâté, sausages à l’étuvée (steamed with onions and flavorings), eggs a l’ail (with garlic), and the little doughnuts known as beigniets. Not a scholarly cookbook but a conscientious one that will provide a good sense of what the people of eighteenth century Louisbourg may have eaten.
This is an unused copy in Fine condition. It is bound with a concealed wire spiral, and the very attractive interior is extensively illustrated with a variety of second colors.