Tourtière (Meat Pie)

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Around 1920 my Pépère (grandfather), Josepha, left Canada and trekked south to the United States. Many industries in Western Massachusetts advertised for laborers. Pépère went to work at Berkshire Cotton Mfg. Co. in Adams. He met and married a local farm girl, Caroline, who would become my Mémère (grandmother). They had six children, one my father: Norman. Pépère loved America and eventually fulfilled his long-time dream and became a citizen. Some of Pépère’s family also immigrated to the Berkshires. Each Christmas holiday, Pépère’s family would take the bus to North Adams to visit his sister, my Dad’s Tante (Aunt). The cousins would play while adults would visit, drink homemade applejack (an alcoholic beverage consisting of the unfrozen liquid that remains after freezing fermented cider) and of course, eat. Many dishes reflected their French Canadian heritage, but Dad’s favorite was Tourtière (meat pie). As elders passed away, the younger folk began new American traditions, Dad’s Tourtière eating days became history. One year when telling my adult sisters and I about his childhood memories, Dad’s love of Tourtière became apparent. So I researched recipes and as a special Christmas gift I made him a Tourtière. I will never forget the look of delight on his face. Tourtière has become an old “new” tradition for my Dad and I. Making this aromatic meat pie gives me a wonderful feeling of connection to my father and our French Canadian heritage.

Year: 1920

– Maryellen Daigneault Martin

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