Irregular Posts; Tadoussac, Quebec, Canada

Tadoussac; Aug 12th Bonjour, A quick send from a bistro in Tadoussac. It is nice to be able to relax, write, and eat in this comfortable spot.  They have a free wifi spot and the motel/hostel does not. A fine early supper of green pea soup, smoked salmon and cream cheese on bagel, and a great mixed berry dessert with an espresso to finish. Tadoussac means “nipple” in the local native language. It refers to a geological formation in the area. It must have been a guy thing! But really, it is the whales that draw the crowds to Tadoussac, and the fjord de Saguenay, yeah and the scenery, and the kayaking, oh and the folks from all over Quebec. This is one popular place. We arrived about 3PM and got one of the “last three” rooms in town. We had to take a room in a house on the grounds of the motel. There were five rooms rented in this house. It was OK because we used the kitchen and spent breakfast time with a couple from Guelph, Ontario. They also had no/little French and regretted the lack. He recalled having required French in middle school and making a joke of it. Rowdy behavior and lack of serious attention. “You’ll be sorry later.” “Yeah. For sure.” I recall sinking lower and lower in achievement in three years of study in High School. Sophomore year, I missed the first three weeks of school and classes due to a football injury to my knee. That was the beginning of a real losing battle. Now I regret my mono-lingualness, not to...

Irregular Posts; Ile d’Orleans, Quebec, Canada

Ile d’Orleans; Aug 11th Bonjour, It was a quick 7 hour drive from Boston to Ile d’Orleans, an island in the St Lawrence River just east of Quebec City.  Halfway we stopped for in Newport VT;  Exxon gas  and “organic” chickpea soup and a Vermont ham panini.  Then back on the road, through a series of showers, and a 20 minute wait for the border crossing.  Many Quebec cars heading home from USA and very few USA cars entering. “Bonjour. How are you?  Where are you headed and how long will you be in Canada? ” said the border agent. “Ile d’Orleans and then Labrador and Newfoundland.  Probably about 3 weeks.” “Have a good time.”  He said handing back our passports. My maternal grandmother’s people were from this island, probably 120 or more years ago.  “Turcotte and Sorel” said my mother.  The phone book in the motel showed a half page of Turcottes but no Sorels, and no Chouinards from my grandfathers side.  There is a genealogy society here.  But not knowing what details to look for we passed it up.  There was an Abel Turcotte who settled here in 1661.  But I don’t believe that was his name.  The Chouinards settled further up river in Trois Rivieres in the 1640s. Ile d’orleans is long and narrow with a raised spine along its length.  Deeded land from the settlement days  has a narrow water frontage with the homes on  the banks of the St Lawrence River.  The farmland stretches back up to the spine.   The north and west side faces the mainland and is steeper sloped than the south...

Popcorn

PopcornPopcorn The warm comforting aroma.  I first associated it with the movie theater from when I was a whippersnapper at the Saturday afternoon “20 Cartoons in Color”.  Now it is an evening snack for a soccer match or DVD movie. I was surprised to find it accompanying meals in Peru and Ecuador.  Maize originated in the Americas, traveled to Europe and then back to the Americas.  There were hundreds of varieties in the Andes.  Some corn was dried and ground into four, other is roasted over coals on street corners.  Some with grape sized kernels was boiled, dekerneled and served with potatoes and vegetables, and a bit of meat. Popcorn on your dinner plate; a revelation.  I wondered how they made it.  But I never had the opportunity to question a local regarding their methods.  I use the famous Holmes Method.  This method is endorsed by many who are almost as famous as I am.To make popcorn, moisture in the kernel is quickly converted to steam by high heat.  Steam cooks the corn.  The steam pressure inside the shell builds until it ruptures the shell and the large tender pop is formed.  Low temperature pop will be tough and small. Too long or too hot in the pot and the pop burns.  OK get your things together. 1.  A pot with a flat bottom and cover.  It needs to have some height so the pop can explode and bounce off the cover before falling back on top of the uncooked kernals. 2.  A couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil to cover the pot bottom. 3.  Enough popcorn kernels JUST...