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 Miscellaneous tidbits of fantastic things

April 21, 2017

Multi-Culturalism and Great Food in Louisiana

Being of Acadian descent, our family is very interested in all things related to our ancestry and our people. I’m sure you remember reading that the Acadians were folks who came over from France and settled in what is now known as Nova Scotia, in the general vicinity of the Gaspereau Valley. They were kicked out in 1755 by the British who demanded that the population swear allegiance to the English King. The Acadians refused; but, then again, they also had refused to swear allegiance to the French King. So, as made famous in Evangeline, a Tale of Acadie by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the Acadians were deported from their homes. This was called the Expulsion of the Acadians. Some 160 families ended up in Louisiana and from there - and from other sources as well - the Cajun culture took root.

There is a great mingling of cultures in Louisiana. While the term “Cajun” is used to describe these French families who landed in and around New Orleans, there other words associated with the culture of the area, such as Sabine. The Sabine population is multicultural and is located in the Paroisse de la Sabine. With a small population of some 25,000 as of 2010, they nonetheless have a distinct culture made of white, black and first nations descent. Meanwhile, you may also hear the term Redbone used.

In Louisiana, the Redbone cultural group consists mainly of the families of immigrants to the state following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. These individuals may have ancestral ties to the Melungeons of North Carolina. The term 'Redbone' became a pejorative nickname applied by others to these people; however, in the past 30 years the term has begun to be used as the preferred description for some Creole groups, including the Louisiana Redbones.

Ok, so what we get out of this rich mixture of people and cultures is Greeeaaat Fooood...Everything from Louisiana Shrimp Grits to something called Slap Ya Mama Cajun Cornbread. Of course, absolutely identified to the area are Seafood Gumbo and Louisiana Crab Cakes. In recent years, many commercial seafood restaurants have “borrowed” Firecracker Shrimp as a one of their menu favourites. But you will also find Bourbon Chicken and a very distinctive dish named Boudin Balls.

 So, we hope that you will open your mind when you come to Salamanders of Kemptville and if you see that we are trying some of these terrifically flavoured dishes on you, give them a whirl. It’s like taking a trip down Louisiana way...Oh, and if you actually get down to visit Louisiana, please bring back a recipe or two.


March 16, 2017

St. Patrick's Day, Part Two

Seeing as tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, we thought you might like some fun facts about the day.

We could be wearing blue instead of green.
His colour was “Saint Patrick’s blue,” which was a pale shade. Green began being associated with St. Patrick because he used the shamrock to explain the Trinity to pagans. Its popularity was bolstered by the Irish independence movement in the late 18th century.

St. Patrick’s Day parades did not originate in Ireland.
The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was in Boston, Mass on March 18, 1737, followed by the New York parade, which first took place in 1762. The first parade in Ireland was in Dublin in 1931.

We’re celebrating his death.
March 17 is the day St. Patrick died, rather than the day he was born.

St. Patrick did not drive all the snakes from Ireland.
Although he is widely believed to have done so, according to fossil records there never were any snakes on the island. The climate is too inhospitable for the cold-blooded reptiles. The “snakes” driven out are believed to have been the Pagan priests, with whom the Catholic priest (obviously) had issues.

Drinking is fairly new!
For most of the 20th century, St. Patrick’s Day was a religious holiday in Ireland, which meant that all the pubs were closed for the day. It wasn’t until 1970 that it was declared a national holiday and the pubs opened once more. (And there was much rejoicing)

Let the Guinness flow…
It is estimated that approximately 5.5 million pints of Guinness are served around the world on any given day. On March 17, that number escalates to roughly 13 million!

and last, but certainly not least…

St. Patrick was not Irish!
Although he is known for bringing Christianity to Ireland in 432, he was born in Roman Britain and taken to Ireland as a slave as a teenager. According to Irish legend, St. Patrick’s birth name was Maewyn Succat, but he changed his name to Patricius after becoming a priest.


March 9, 2017

The Feast of St. Patrick

St. Patrick’s Day or “the day of the Festival of Patrick” is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional date of Saint Patrick. St. Paddy is, of course, the patron saint of Ireland since about the 5th Century (a real old guy).

Now it has come to pass that St. Patrick’s Day has developed a number of symbols over the years:
*  There is the traditional Wearing of the Green on that day (you know, as per The Emerald Isle);
*  There is the Celtic Cross (check the movie Gangs of New York for a rather violent explanation);
*  Leprechauns, rainbows and pots of gold at the end of them (à la Finian’s Rainbow); and, of course the inevitable;
*  Shamrock (they are part of Ireland’s unique greenery).

A goodly number of people become absolutely and definitely Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. Some observe church services, some others march in parades; others flock to pubs to engage in arm exercises as they hoist beer (sometimes tinted green) in celebration.

So, why wouldn’t Salamanders of Kemptville turn green and Irish for St. Patrick’s Day? We’re going to concentrate on the word “Feast.” On Friday, March 17th, we will be serving Guinness Stew (with a Guinness or a Jameson to accompany, if you wish), served over Colcannon (look it up, why doncha). For the soup of the day, we’ll be dishing out a Red Ale and Cheddar Cheese Soup. Alongside, don’t be surprised if you find some Irish Soda Bread. And for a sweet, you’ll wish to try our Bailey’s Irish Cream Brownies.

Call ahead, please. We love to hear from you. 613-258-2630.Thanks and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!