Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday Blog Hop stops by here today!

Happy Holidays! Feliz Navidad! Joyeux Noël!

TWCS Author Blog Hop - Our authors are sharing holiday traditions Dec. 12 - 23. Each day an author will post on their blog a personal holiday tradition or a holiday tradition of their characters. They will also post the blog hop icon. You will notice in the bottom right hand corner of the icon a holiday/winter object. You will need to write these objects down and keep the list handy. In addition to great giveaways happening each day on the authors' blogs, we will have a grand prize drawing on TWCS's website ( To enter the grand prize drawing you will need to have collected all 11 objects.

What is the grand prize? An ebook of Season of Love, your choice of paperback (Connected, Take This Regret, Slave, or Fourteen), TWCS coffee mug, bookmarks (many are signed by the author). TWCS pen and notepad.

As part of The Writer’s Coffee Shop Blog Hop let me say thank you for stopping by to see what others do for their holiday traditions! In addition to the publishing house's drawing I am also doing something extra. Leave a comment below to be entered into a drawing for a Mocked by Faith coffee mug! (You do need to follow this blog to be entered.)

In case you haven’t figured out by my name, yes, we’re French. New Brunswick Acadian French to be precise. Why would that matter? Because like everyone else we do things differently.

One of our biggest traditions is eating Acadian poutines râpées on Christmas Eve. This is not to be confused with the Quebec fast food of poutine. These are no French fries covered in cheese and gravy with ketchup.

The ones we eat take up to 6 hours to prepare, and a lot of potatoes from Prince Edward Island. 50 lbs. to be exact. So what is poutines râpées (pronounced poo-tin rah-pay)? I copied a picture from the internet to give you a look at them.

This picture is from

The process of making them is quite exhausting and can take several people up to 6 hours depending on how many you are producing. For our family gatherings it takes roughly 2 -3 dozens of these softball sized delicacies to please everyone.

They are commonly referred to as “dirty snowballs” from those who generally don’t eat them. They are gray, and they are the size of large snowballs. However that is where the similarities end.

So how would one go about making them? You really only need two ingredients…yep you read that right.

To make 6 poutines you will need:

Diced salt pork ~ 1 pound

Potatoes ~ 12- 14

For a detailed recipe I recommend: This is the closest I can get to my mother-in-laws recipe, which she guards with her life.

So the day before Christmas Eve is spent grating 2/3 of the 50 lbs. of raw potatoes. (Good thing I am a writer and have great hand strength.) The other 1/3 is boiled and turned into mashed potatoes. Now what the recipe above skims over as extracting the moisture means manning the cheese cloth or pillowcases to literally wring out all the liquid from the raw grated potatoes. That’s when I call Maurice in. Manual labor is his specialty.

Now it’s time to work as a family, because the kids love to get their “hands dirty” in a good way. Hey if they can do it in the freezing snow why not. Seriously they love pressing them into balls. Once the balls are ready we carve out a hole with our thumbs and fill the center with the diced pork. The hole is then filled back in.

This is the point when the kids get bored and leave for techno world. Every electronic devise in the house will have someone attached to it. No child wants to watch water barely boiling. Once the poutine are lowered into the pot (Like a lobster pot) they sink to the bottom. They’ll rise to the top and float, then finally sink one last time. Takes about 2-3 hour for that to happen.

So what do you do once they are done? Nothing, they store in the water until you eat them. Love that! As for taking a few home, because one is never enough, we loaded up the Ziplocs.

I’m an oddity of sorts in the poutine eating clan. Where everyone else dusts theirs with sugar, I prefer mine with maple syrup drizzled all over them. Not the best thing for a diabetic, but it’s one day a year and we’ve done it for as long as I can remember.

On Christmas Eve it’s time to eat and enjoy all the family. Danielle and Virginia really love seeing their Parrains (godfathers), Memére and Pepére, 6 aunts and uncles, and 6 cousins all together. Memére gives each of the kids a stocking filled will candy and toys.

Also if anyone is in Canada seeing the family there their gifts are under the tree and they can open them as well. This does happen since Memére is one of 11 children herself and they all remain around the St. Antione area. We are lucky that Pepére’s family has mostly relocated to the Gardner Mass. area and we see them more frequently. Maurice’s Memére’s family was actually one of the largest to ever cross the border with a whopping 22 kids. Now there is a poutine making crew for sure.

We spend lunch with my family and dinner with Maurice’s, and then we finish off the evening with an open house at home for anyone who wants to drop by. All our friends and family know they are welcome to pop by and visit.

Thank you for stopping by and have a very happy holiday! Michele Richard
Dont forget to collect your picture for the Drawing!


  1. Wow, Michele. That is sooo neat. I, too, am a granddaughter of a French Canadian woman. My grandmother's maiden name was Auclaire. I have never heard of poutins but they sound D-lish. I am a newly diagnosed diabetic myself and have been struggling to curb my lifelong affair with sweets. LOL. My husband is 1/4 Irish and 3/4 Mexican and I am 3/4 Irish myself so potatoes or "papas" as we call them down here in Texas is a LARGE part of our diet. We fry them for breakfast, bake them for dinner and potato salad is welcomed at every picnic and barbeque. I will have to try your recipe. Thanks for sharing.

    TTFN, kg

  2. Ah. Christmas food! Such a good excuse to eat until we explode! Which reminds me, I need to make more gingerbreadmen...

    I can't think of any traditional South African Christmas dishes. We seem to have adopted a lot of European traditions. But we have adapted them for our sunny Christmasses. I know a lot of folk have taken to cooking their Christmas meat on the braai (barbecue). And it's great sit outside, maybe by the pool and watch your Christmas dinner cooking!

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Those are so cool Michele! The only tradition we have from the French side of my family is my great grandmother's pork pie and mincemeat pie recipes.

  4. I love that you're teaching your girls about thier hertiage in such a creative way!!

  5. OKay.. first let me say loved reading about some of your family traditions... just having the family all here at our house on Christmas eve for dinner, fun games, presents, and getting caught up with each others life.. is all we do.. So I always love to try new recipes.. and yours for your poutines râpées sounds really great.. don't know if I could find all the ingredients here in U.S. but would love to try.. love ya.. Merry Christmas to you and yours..

  6. Christmas time and food... gotta love it! Seriously though, that's a lot of potatoes! We're Irish and German so that should mean lots of potatoes and, I don't know, sausage? Nah. It means lots of dark beer around a fire and talking about the past year. Sharing stories with the kids that are no longer kids and are now drinking beer with us :)
    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  7. Good Luck everyone! and, thank you for stopping by! Drawing for the mug will happen after the grand drawing!

  8. I love that your tradition includes hands on with the whole family. It is something your children will remember and hopefully they will carry on the tradition. Merry Christmas!