Traditional French Food
Besides climbing I have many other passions. One of which I am well known for amongst my circle of friends and family – cooking. I love to cook. Well, to be honest I love to eat. Therefore I must learn the secrets of the kitchen so that I can recreate things my palate need.
The most recent thing I craved and fell in love with is a tradition fresh cold creamy pork spread. This is called Creton. I guess it’s considered a kind of a pate. Either way it’s delicious. Many different cultures have their own version of a pork pate but in this case I’m showcasing the french version.
The first time I had Creton was a couple years ago at a breakfast chain called Cora’s. I wasn’t sure what it was on the sides sections of the menu so obviously I said “I’ll have that please.” It turned out I really liked it. Since then I’ve had various versions of it, usually commercially produced and in tubs of plastic.
Then… one day, this summer actually, when I was travelling with Woods Canada as an outdoor ambassador they sent out to Ile De Coudres, QC to learn how to kite board with Suroit Aventures. In the nature of indulging in local cuisine, our amazing instructor and international kite board champion, Catherine Du Four showed us this wonderful bakery Boulangerie Bouchard. Here they had FRESH homemade Creton in a mason jar… it was crazy expensive but I never let money hold my palate back.
Needless to say, this was the best Creton I had ever had. And like all things that taste wonderful, it is not within my reach to be able to stock it in my kitchen on a regular basis, so I must learn to create once again. This is why I cook, because I would hate to eat something someday in a corner of the world from a street vendor that relocates daily to never be able to taste that morsel again. It has happened before and it is a life long mission for me to develop such a palate that when I taste something I love, I will be able to recreate it. Like, those who can play by ear? I endeavour to cook by palate.
I spoke to one of my good friends today – a french dentist that I work with – and I told her casually that I was making Creton today because being kindred foodies, I knew she would appreciate gourmet cooking. Her jaw dropped and she said “REALLY? How do you know what that is? I can’t believe you know how to make that?!”
I don’t have to tell you that I blushed at that comment, I didn’t realize it was a big deal. But now I feel special. My friends continues to explain to me that it’s actually very rare to find homemade Creton. It’s something that was done in the past and has become kind of like a grandmother thing. You really can only buy Creton from commercially packaged producers.
That’s another thing about me. I tend to have this innate calling to maintain tradition and seek out food that is slowly being lost. I’m nostalgic like that. Or perhaps there’s something very powerful about food as being a indication of culture and legacy and something I feel very strongly about. Even in my own culture I am the only one in my family that makes certain things that only my grandmother makes. Even OTHER grandmothers don’t make. I put a lot of value into that. I mean when she passes on, I feel like the only thing I have to carry on her legacy and our heritage is our food.
Continuing on, as that is a story for another day. I have loosely below outline a recipe for those of you who wish to try this amazing treat!
To accompany my homemade Creton, I have also made a loaf of fresh beer and cheese bread as well as a fresh cream of mushroom soup.
Please keep in mind I cook with my heart and I encourage other chefs to be creative and have faith in their own palate when applying seasonings. Especially since I never measure, these are all rough estimates of amounts.
Melba’s Creton Recipe
Goes great with Melba Toast ^.~
Makes 6 x 500ml mason jars. Prep Time 20 min. Cook Time 4-5Hrs.
- 2 lbs of Pork Butt (Coasely ground if desired but I didn’t because I forgot.)
- 1lb of Ground Pork
- 3/4 C water
- 1/2 C Milk
- 1 Small Onion Chopped
- 1 Tsp Chopped Ginger
- 2 Cloves Chopped Garlic
- 1 Tsp Sugar
- 1 Tbsp Salt
- 1 Tsp Pepper
- 5 Whole Cloves
- 1 Tsp Cinnamon
- 1 Tsp Nutmeg
- Sear the pork butt on all sides, until browned, on a medium pan on high with olive oil. Remove and set aside.
- Using the same pan, brown the ground pork with a touch of salt and pepper and set aside.
- Sauteed the onions and ginger and set aside.
- Place all ingredients in a crock pot and cook for 5 hrs, stirring every 30 minutes. OR put all ingredients in a pot on the stove and bring to a boil and let simmer for 5 hours.
- Transfer into sanitized mason jars and boiled with enough water to cover for 30 min.
- Let cool. Keep chilled in refridgerator. Serve on toast, bread, or Melba Toast…
- And let me know what you think!