Author Simon Thibault has written a superb volume, Pantry and Palate. He documented the foods and culture of a small area of Atlantic Canada, the Acadian — which includes Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island — but he focused particularly on a small area of southwestern Nova Scotia with a large Acadian rural population. His research concentrated on old Acadian recipes from cookbooks and family recipes but also from memories of the foods he ate during his years growing up in that area. The culinary and cultural heritage of Acadian foods is nearly lost, and his documentation is a significant contribution to keep it alive, as very few are still keeping those traditions. And for good reasons: Acadian cuisine is “humble, homey, occasionally homely.” Once most of the Acadian population was deported to Louisiana, their foods became what is known as Cajun—a far more flavorful cuisine. Thibault’s recipes are simple, easy to reproduce, and most ingredients are just as easy to find, though you will have a time finding fresh Irish moss, pig head, or quahog meat. The recipe layout is good. Thibault included plenty of text with detailed histories of Acadia and family stories, illustrated by historic and excellent contemporary photography.
Reviewed By: George Erdosh