We will share some of the highlights of a rich and diversified culinary culture, located at the end of America. Apart from a few well worn clichés it is, in its essence, unknown to most of its people. What is known, however, is that culture is like jam and the less you have, the more you spread it.

It is in this frame of mind that B School Notebook was launched in the autumn of 2019, led by Alex Cruz & Cyril Gonzales, and illustrated by Matthieu Goyer.

Each week, with a small dose of irreverence but a huge dose of enthusiasm, our team will publish capsules on Quebec culinary culture. You are already told it will break some myths, throw some stones into the pond, and hopefully open up new culinary horizons.⠀

The gull

Iconic bird of picnic areas and those holidays spent building sand castles on North American beaches, the Gull is certainly part of groups of birds relatively present in our daily life; those you recognize at first glance.

How would you react to the idea of adding a seagull leg to the menu?

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Spring asparagus

Growing in Quebec gardens since the 17th century.

Let us remember in the 1800s, Île d’Orléans and Côte-du-Sud represented places of Asparagus cultivation, important enough to be sold on the Quebec and Montreal markets.

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The headrope

It (“La ralingue”) is used to strengthen the sails of a boat.

In Quebec, it is also said of the headrope that it is a strap of little value, it was applied in particular to a narrow strip of leather in shoemaking. Within the Old North American Maritime World, this term earlier defined a highly esteemed cut among former Acadian fishermen…

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Round-leaved sundew

With well-rounded leaves giving the impression they are pricked with fluorescent tentacles, the round-leaved sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) is one of the rare carnivorous plants present in Quebec. 

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Liar's soup

Well-preserved secret of Quebec gastronomy, and an extraordinary nod to what we describe today as fake news.

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Harden up / Loosen up

The period of Lent has represented a period of collective deprivation in Quebec; hence the existence of the following two Quebecisms: hardening up then loosening up

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Like the hyssop and the bugloss, the burnet is part of this initial cohort of aromatic plants brought over then propagated bythe first French colonists in Quebec, during the 17th century. 

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"Chaud" Boy

The “chaud” boy was the assistant to the Cook

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A little-known term in the French-speaking food heritage of North America.

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Rouyn fried rice & toast

The improbable duo of this column combines a dish of Cantonese fried rice served with a “side” of toast, which, as usual, is seen de facto associated with an unpretentious breakfast plate of 2 eggs and bacon.  

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Berta's grocery store

In 1954, like so many other Portuguese of her generation, Berta Reis left Europe to join her family recently arrived in Montreal.

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1865 - Dunham

Although cow’s milk has been transformed into cheese since the 17th century in Quebec, we note that this practice was reserved for the domestic family economy.

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Armand Savignac

Precursors are said to sow seeds (often against the tide), which will eventually reappear further in the garden of modern thought; and speaking of garden, it is also often said of the botanical one, that it shelters under its open roof, an invaluable collection of plants. Now let’s get to know the gardener and the forerunner of this column: Brother Armand Savignac.

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Ketchup mine of Padoue

The Ketchup mine is the product of an unusual legend which originates from the community of Padoue in Quebec.

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Roasted chestnuts

Rarely, a link seems to have been established between the consumption of roasted chestnuts and the deep history of North-East America, and yet …

In Quebec at least, we generally seem to link this consumption to European customs. But is this entirely the case? 

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Pronounced wishbone, this Quebecism drawn directly from the English name furcula: a small V-shaped bone from the chest belt of some birds including the hen.

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Giant fir

November 25, 1974

A cargo plane departing earlier from Montreal lands at Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle airport in France.

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Quebec’s Al Capone

It was in an early 20th century North America, lifting the elbow under the yoke of prohibition, that a young baker by the name of Conrad Labelle would trade his modest livelihood for the mess of the underworld. A new universe which in less than 4 years will crown him forever as the king of Quebec bootleggers.

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Snow Crepe

Probably dating back to the late 1800s, the snow crepe recipe proposes to add some well packed loose snow on a list of ingredients.

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Originally, the sagamité of America

Practice of pre-Columbian origin, become a proven dish of North American indigenous cuisine. Sagamité consisted of thickening a broth with cornmeal. 

There is so much to say about this revealing practice of America, but let us linger for a few lines on the name itself: sagamité.

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Anne Lamarque known as the Folleville

A businesswoman living outside standards, Anne Lamarque, known as la Folleville, held the reins of her cabaret with an iron fist.  

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A water rush

A curious race for mineral spring water deposits has already taken place in the St. Lawrence Lowlands; a playground exceptionally rich in minerals, which, remember, was previously none other than the bed of the postglacial Goldwaith and De Champlain seas, over 10,000 years ago.

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The Victory Gardens

In the uncertain tumult of the 1st and 2nd World Wars, government propaganda campaigns were conducted to encourage the people of Quebec and Canada to engage in the patriotic leisure of war gardening.

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Household bread

With its light weight made of white flour and its rectangular profile straight out of a mold, the household bread will have been able to mark popular tradition in Quebec.

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Black mittens

Apparently drawing on this superstition from Acadian folklore, it was, it seems, a bad omen to don black mittens when fishing in the Magdalen Islands.

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A very interesting symbol of Quebec’s rural life, a Catalonia is a type of bedspread and floor mat, whose coloured strips are randomly shaped. 

Traditionally, they were made – family budget obliged – of scraps of recycled fabrics and rags.

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Sweet garlic

We called American erythrone “sweet garlic”.

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Murray Bay Turkey

For our very first capsule, we decided to talk to you about a name that, without anyone knowing why, faded into American history.

It is the early 1900s, and a variety of specialty turkeys are flowing at a high price in New York City.

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