Saturday was homework- catch-up- day for me, as is everyday in University. I had planned on staying in the night and getting a few things out of the way before the week rolled in.
As I was getting into the groove of things, I received a call from a cyclist and friend named Phil. He asked if I’d like to come to a Sugar Shack with him and a bunch of his family… I jokingly said, “what the hell is that!?” he sort of laughed and replied “You’ve been living in Quebec for almost 4 years now, and you don’t know what a sugar shack is!?”.. I thought to myself for a split second, connected some dots, and replied.. “actually, of course I do, how could I not know! WHEN ARE WE LEAVING?!”
And then my veins started zapping with the anticipated high doses of maple syrup to come. I was only a kid but I still have memories of my frost bitten-sticky fingers.
I was 12 years old and I was on a school trip to Quebec City and then to the famed Sugar Shack in Tadoussac, QC
The memories started to come back vague and positive. We had a lot of fun there.
At least for me, living in the city, with no car, and a non-Quebecois doesn’t allow me to have such easy access to traditional outings like a “Sugar Shacks” in the country. For those of you who don’t know what a Sugar Shack is, here you go.
It is a very special part of the Quebec Folkloric Tradition and I was very happy to be a part of that.
I could tell that Phil was brought back to his Quebecois roots and that he was really taking in the whole ordeal, I think everyone was! The place was jammed with Quebecois families and also a few M’ikmaq families, who would have shared some of the same music and facilities in the 17-1800′s. Everyone seemed to be reconnected.
I liked the traditional folk music although a little cheesy at sometimes. It was nice to see all the families there and little kids enjoying themselves. It was definitely a reminder of how beautiful the country is, and how people don’t really need anything but some good food, shelter, and each-other. I think this is a commonality in most traditions. It’s too bad we as a common society have gone the way we have.
The meal started off with a fresh pea soup and some home made bread. Followed with sausages, mashed potatoes, beats, “pig ear”, some sort of shepherds pie and an omelet. Pancakes were served for the first dessert and then we went outside by the fire to make maple syrup Popsicle type things on a stick as the second dessert. Keep in mind that you add maple syrup to absolutely everything, including your coffee. All of the maple syrup is harvested on the property.
Hope you enjoyed my blurb about a personal quebec experience.