Keeping traditions alive

I have two sides to me. Italian and Canadian French. My paternal grandparents were from Canada and settled in Maine and then New Hampshire. My maternal grandparents were from Italy and settled in New York then Boston then finally Portsmouth, New Hampshire. New Hampshire is where my mom and dad met.

I am lucky that I had the experience of both cultures growing up. My father’s first language was French and my mother’s was Italian. Us kids never picked up their language. Around us they spoke English and when they were with the relatives they spoke their language. That, to me, is a shame. I understand a little in Italian and even less in French.

This New Years Eve I am going to have creton and baked beans celebrating my French-Canadian side. I have the creton cooking on the stove right now and will bake the beans tomorrow. I am keeping the Italian/French traditions for Carrie and my grandchildren.

Creton is a pork spread that used to be very popular amongst French Canadian working in the woods. It was a poor man’s food.

We spread it on French or Italian Bread. It is a traditional breakfast in the French-Canadian culture. My father used to eat it for his breakfast on toast with a cup of tea. The clove in the spread makes for a delicious cup of tea. There are many variations of creton using cinnamon, allspice, etc. The only spice I use is ground cloves just like my father used to make it. The pork I use is a Boston butt with the bone in. I have the butcher grind the meat and give me the bone back. I add the bone to the cooking and then remove it after the creton is finished cooking.

What turns most people off is that you eat it cold.

6 thoughts on “Keeping traditions alive

  1. Hi Liz that’s nice you know so much about your family! my family is mostly Irish, Scottish and English and some Dutch.
    I was born in Delaware though we have no family from there. I have lived in France, New York, Ohio, Delaware and of course CA. Many of my family traditions are not being carried on, they stopped with mom mostly cause us kids didn’t like the food. I guess we are just to American now and prefer the food we like best. My mom made some strange stuff! but to her it was very normal, but to me and my brothers we made faces and would laugh. I hope the kids love the food! it’s nice to share traditions! big hugs and Happy New Year!

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  2. Hi Sis, you’re so fortunate to have knowledge of your background and some of the customs even if you didn’t learn the language. My mother was Scotch-Irish and my father German. I have no knowledge of any past customs their families brought with them to America or when they came. I’ve often thought of trying to find out, but I just don’t take the time. I do notice most passed on from the past cultures though is the food. I just cook, probably lazy American stuff mostly. lol… I am glad you are passing what you know on. I think it would be fantastic if Brian were to like to cook. Somehow I don’t see Nicky taking it up, but who knows, right? lol. Love and ~hugs~

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  3. Hi Liz, What, no Tourtière? It’s great that you are keeping traditions from both sides of your heritage. There are many French Canadians that ended up in New Hampshire and Maine, my neighbor is one of the ones who came back. I live in Quebec but have never eaten Creton, no French Canadian ancestors, my paternal grandparents were from Poland and maternal grandparents from Italy. Felice anno nuovo, Bonne année mon ami, Happy New Year! *hugs*

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  4. Hi Liz;

    I come from an Italian background with both parents born in Italy. Many of my mom’s uncles ended up in Montreal Quebec while the rest of the family came to New York. I have many French Canadian cousins and they all speak three languages. My parents were like yours as they wanted to speak the language of their new adopted country and my siblings and I were never forced to speak Italian. Although I understand all of it because of my grandparents and spoke Italian until I went to school. Now most of the speaking is forgotten. 🙂

    I’m still not up to par this morning but I did put a post online and wanted to stop by and wish you a very Happy and Safe New Year holiday. See you in 2008. ~Hugs~

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