Our Maine Street's Aroostook Issue 1 : Summer 2009 - Page 35

Creating the World’s Largest Ploye during The Ploye Festival which is held each year in Fort Kent, Maine. Janice’s and Rita’s new cookbook will be another means for preserving the Acadian cultural traditions. Still in the planning stages, the cookbook will have many of the simple and elegant recipes that have been served with ployes for generations. There will be a recipe for the small white baked beans that are often served at family meals, as well as chicken stew simmered with onions and dried summer savory. The cookbook will also have recipes for soupe au pois, or pea soup; tortiere, or pork pie; sauce au salmon, or salmon and white sauce; and pot en pot, a layered meat dish traditionally served at large family gatherings around the holidays. Dessert recipes will also be included, showcasing the versatility of ployes, which were eaten at three meals a day in Fort Kent until the 1950’s, when packaged breads and desserts started to become more common. Janice is also planning a section of gluten-free recipes. And as the Ployes mix helped to save the family farm twenty-five years ago, the cookbook will serve as a reminder of Maine’s creative economy, helping to preserve a way of life as well as the cultural folkways of Maine. The annual Ployes Festival, held at the same time as the Muskie Fishing Derby, will take place in Fort Kent on August 7-8. As with the Maine Potato Blossom Festival in Fort Fairfield and other summer festivals in Aroostook County, it’s a family time of homecoming, class reunions, and informal backyard get-togethers. On Friday night, the Bouchard family and friends will make the 12-foot ployes, which takes 10 people just to pull it off, typically with a crowd of 200 or more watching. Just before that, it’s the ployes-eating contest, and later on in the festival, the Street Dance on Saturday night. For further information about Aroostook County’s summer festivals and fairs, see the Fort Kent Chamber of Commerce [link] the Maine Potato Blossom Festival site [link] and Visit Aroostook.com, part of the region’s economic development efforts to bring tourism to the vast, unspoiled region of northern Maine. Images in the article courtesy the Bouchard family collection, Kelsy Bouchard and Fort Kent Video. SUMMER & FALL 09 Bouchard Family 33