«Quebeckers have the best foods in the world, but very few are aware of it. Their recipes were brought from France by their ancestors between 1608 and 1760. They adapted them here to products from our forests, our fields, our lakes and rivers as well as the Atlantic Ocean, so that they became Quebec dishes.»
Rodolphe Fournier (1907-1989) historian and writer
The Portable Kitchen Dictionary, published in 1765, is emphatic about the menu of New France. Its simplicity, its practicality and both its precision and subtlety is surprising. Its recipes evince a refinement of the cuisine of the time that are as good as any from the old country. In this book you will find a great variety of ingredients, simple methods, seasonings, sauces, fresh vegetables, flowering salads with aromatic herbs, flower sorbets, etc. In those days they would have dinners where each of the guests had to bring a homemade dish.
When Montcalm first arrived in Quebec, the magnificence and great food was to him a harbinger of the goodness of this place, and he took advantage of it; and a resident of Paris would have been surprised at the profusion of good things. Often at meal time, duck was the plat de resistance because this dish with its magnificent meat was a centerpiece of the best tables.
From the beginning of the New France colony, we find wonderful recipes like Duck à l’orange, which appeared in 1765 in the Portable Kitchen Dictionary; or duck with turnips published in 1760 in the Pons-Augustin Alletz farm portable dictionary, because duck and turnips are a perfect match.
Quebec gastronomy is not new and has improved with the generations for more than four centuries, and this March, we offer an historical duck recipe.