Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Juliana L’Heureux is a freelance writer whose articles about Maine’s Franco-American history and culture have appeared in Portland newspapers for 25 years. She serves on the Maine Franco-American Leadership Council.
Juliana and her husband Richard live in Topsham ME. Feel free to contact her at Juliana@mainewriter.com.
Check out the Franco-American history and genealogy offerings in
Franco-Americans in the
Yet, 30 percent of all
French-Canadians came to the
Roux is a delicious base for several Franco-American and Louisiana Acadian recipes.
Making a roux seems like it should be easy, but the preparation could be the Franco-American cuisine’s most challenging recipe. Although the ingredients sound simple enough, learning how to make a roux is like achieving a rite of culinary passage (in my opinion). Preparing a roux requires a sense of knowing the right color and consistency of browning an equal amount of oil or fat with flour. It’s a learned technique that advances a cook to the level of chef.
Roux (pronounced "roo") is the essential base for the Franco-American recipe of chicken ragout and other recipes where a thickening is used in the base. Some Franco-Americans call this technique “farine brune”, rather than roux, meaning “brown flour”.
A similar technique is used to prepare “farine blanc” or white sauce.
Pride in the Franco-American culture could save the French language spoken by native speakers, from extinction. Today, a resurgence of interest in speaking French is taking root.
Franco-Americans remember when speaking French in public school was even illegal. This hurtful experience is the subject of an excellent essay titled, “The Silent Playground”, by Ross and Judy Paradis of
Franco-Americans have maintained pride about their heritage in spite of discrimination. This attribute may protect the French language spoken by Franco-Americans from being lost.
Although I’ve been unable to research a culinary reason for it, the Franco-American and French Canadian cuisines includes a preference for cinnamon, in several ethnic recipes. This aromatically flavorful spice is “la cannelle”, in French.
Un peu de cannelle (some cinnamon) is an ingredient we add to our family’s tourtiere (pork pie) meat filling. We include la cannelle in chicken ragout” (ragoût de poulet), which is like a cream-chicken recipe, but cooked in a brown roux.
La cannelle was a strong flavor in a ground meat poultry stuffing, probably familiar to many Franco-Americans who grew up eating it during les fêtes (the Holidays).
La cannelle is added to blueberry pie filling.
Rhea Cote Robbins is a
Robbins is the founder, and the executive director of the Franco-American Women’s Institute (FAWI) and a