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Pictou County chef has hand in creating book of recipes drawn from heritage

Eighteen Nova Scotian chefs helped create the recipes for Nova Scotia Cookery: Then and Now.
Eighteen Nova Scotian chefs helped create the recipes for Nova Scotia Cookery: Then and Now. - Submitted

A chef from Pictou County is one of 18 from across the province who gave fresh life to recipes stretching back to the dawn of Nova Scotia’s history in a groundbreaking new cookbook.

Alain Bossé helped cook dishes including an old-style fish chowder, traditional salted herbs, onion sauce and various sweet treats as recipes for Nova Scotia Cookery: Then and Now, which officially launched Thursday evening in Halifax.

“We were allowed to play with the recipes, but they were all sent to us on a PDF of the original hand-written recipes, so they were really hard to read,” said Bossé, who lives on the Northumberland Strait.

The recipes were a collection of old Mi’kmaq, Acadian and other early European recipes stored in provincial archives, many of them handwritten, while others had been published in local newspapers across the province.

For Bossé, who cooked dishes inspired by his Acadian heritage, one of the most interesting recipes was a molasses cookie that included dates.

Another was an ultra-sweet sugar cookie featuring butter icing with rhubarb, berries and lemon.

Meantime, the traditional onion sauce recipe was upgraded for 21st Century palates with a helping of cream and whisky.

“We doctored that one quite a bit,” recalled Bossé.

Often known as the ‘Kilted Chef’ Alain Bossé is currently president of Alain Bossé Consulting Ltd, a food editor for Saltscapes Magazine and is past president of Taste of Nova Scotia and culinary ambassador for Atlantic Canada.

Bossé and his fellow chefs received their recipes earlier this year and the cookbook is a small but important part of Nova Scotia’s Canada 150 celebrations.

Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage Leo Glavine said that Taste of Nova Scotia chose the 18 chefs earlier this year. They were given creative licence to use ingredients and techniques that may not have been available in the 18th or 19th centuries.

“This cookbook in fact is the epitome of our province as locally sourced ingredients are the highlight of the recipes,” said Glavine.

The cookbook was launched at the Nova Scotia Archives building on 6016 University Ave. in Halifax.

His department has supported close to 400 Canada 150 project province-wide

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