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SimonThibault.com

Journalist. Food Writer. Producer.

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Out like a lion, in like a well-seasoned lamb.

As someone who makes a living by recording other people’s voices, I am often told, “I sound so different.” No, I think you sound exactly as I know you.

But waking up this morning on this first Monday of the new year, I experienced a bit of that.  I was listening to my local morning show on CBC Radio, and I heard my name being called. It was an interview I had recorded with the host, chatting about food trends and topics for 2016. 

To be honest, I am used to hearing my own voice on the radio. I have recorded, edited, and heard my own voice quite a lot over the past few years, so it doesn’t phase me. Maybe it was because I wasn’t awake, but I listened to myself chatting away with the host, and thought, “I should be doing more of this.”

So that’s my resolution. To tell more stories that I am proud of. Stories like that of the Chen family, and how tofu was more than food, it was a way of life. Stories like that of Alexandra Mansour, and how an immigrant housewife came to change the palate of an entire community of rural Nova Scotians.  Stories that speak close to home, whether home is in Nova Scotia, or 2000 miles away. Like the story I told in Gravy, the Southern Foodways Alliance’s podcast. 

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I've already started on things for the new year. New radio pieces. More stories. And most importantly,  I'm working on a book project, one that will take me throughout Atlantic Canada, and through decades of dishes. Dishes likes the ones detailed in these recipe. But more on that later. Stay tuned.

They say years come in like a lamb, and out like a lion. I say this year went out with a roar, but this new one is coming in like a well-seasoned lamb. Tasty, indeed. 

 

Old stomping grounds, new foraging grounds.

It can be complicated to explain where I grew up. 

I was raised in a village in Nova Scotia, called Pointe-de-l'Église. But it's also known as Church Point. You see, I grew up in a french-speaking community, in an anglophone province, hence the two names.  The community is called Clare, which is also its municipal designation. It's also known as la Baie Sainte-Marie, or the french shore, which is the name given to the series of french-speaking Acadian villages that dot the shoreline in the area between Digby and Yarmouth.  

Is that as clear as mud? Good. I'll just call it home for now. 

Participants in the  Tintamarre , an Acadian tradition where participants gather together to make as much noise as possible, to remind the rest of the world that Acadians are still here. 

Participants in the Tintamarre, an Acadian tradition where participants gather together to make as much noise as possible, to remind the rest of the world that Acadians are still here. 

Suffice to say, I recently went home to visit my family, participate in the 60th anniversary of the Festival acadien de Clare, which is the oldest Acadian festival in the world. I had the chance to go picking fruit in my parents' orchard, and even go fishing for mackerel. You can see the best bits of the trip over on Steller. 

A crab apple tree in my parent's orchard.

A crab apple tree in my parent's orchard.

But I also went there to do some work for an upcoming project, an audio documentary that will be podcast in the next few months. I can't say much more than that, but stay tuned. I'll keep you posted.

I also had the chance to visit my old alma mater, Université Sainte-Anne, Nova Scotia's only francophone university. It was there that I ran into Sébastien Dol. Sébastien and I were both students at Ste-Anne, and his father was a professor in the science department at the time. When I ran into him, he suggested he take me out to go foraging for mushrooms on the campus, a habit he picked up from his father.

You can hear more about Sébastien in this episode of Assis Toi, which you can listen to via streaming over at CBC, or you can download the podcast on iTunes.