Flavours of New Brunswick
Author: Karen Powell
Publisher: Nimbus Publishing
A review by Karl Wells
(First published by http://atlanticbookstoday.ca/)
As a child, I made summer visits to rural New Brunswick. A favourite aunt and uncle lived just outside Fredericton. They were avid gardeners and grew so many vegetables in New Brunswick’s rich soil that they could can much of their harvest for year-round consumption.
My aunt would prise the lids off Mason jars containing everything from rhubarb chutney to runner beans, usually to augment a buffet laid on for visiting relatives or neighbours.
I cherish those taste memories, of the preserves, newly harvested vegetables, fresh pork, plump chickens, rich seafood and baked delicacies – like wild blueberry pie.
Many of the recipes in Flavours of New Brunswick, by Karen Powell, might have been made by my aunt Mabel, or the thousands of other cooks who’ve made their own versions of the book’s Fundy Fog Pea Soup, Hearty Lobster Chowder, and Fricot à la Poulet since that first cooking kettle hissed over the dancing yellow flames of a crackling fire on the St. John River shore.
Ninety-five percent of the dishes in Flavours of New Brunswick will appeal to most palates. A handful, specifically several mixing seafood and berries, may not be your cup of tea. One, for example, involved cooking cod in a strained sauce dominated by two cups of blueberries.
Still, it’s gems like the warming Winter Corn Chowder, Stuffed BBQ Salmon and Autumn Apple Crisp that will win over most. Some, like me, may even confess a weakness for the unconventional Apple Oatmeal Deep Dish Pie (with Skor bars).
Flavours of New Brunswick serves as a useful resource for newly minted home cooks, especially ones with an interest in honest, traditional New Brunswick dishes. Powell’s book is a road map, taking the culinary traveller on a trip through junctures in time when home cooking was practiced three times a day, seven days a week, and when food was unabashedly tempting, always delicious, and guilt free.