Chowing down our heritage
By: Anna Borowiecki
| Posted: Saturday, Jul 21, 2012 06:00 am
Sarah Shaughnessy loves the peaceful site at Father Lacombe Chapel just above Seven Hills. The view is magnificent and if the rocks and trees could speak, what stories they would tell.
Drawn to this oasis of tranquillity, Shaughnessy started volunteering at the chapel when she was 15.
This year, as a graduate of the University of Alberta French language and literature program, she has picked up work as tour guide at the chapel and is one of the key organizers for Taste of the Past running this Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
It’s a light-hearted, fun-filled day that dusts off traditional games as folks nosh on pioneer fare, including homemade ice cream, baked beans, corn bread, bannock and Bishop’s Pudding.
“This is a chance to interact with history through the senses. We serve history as old-fashioned food. And it’s a chance to see the chapel in a different light,” Shaughnessy said.
One foodstuff that tops her list is the traditional fried bannock and blueberries.
“It’s delicious. The way we do it, it tastes like a mini-doughnut or a scone.”
And then there’s corn bread and the muffin-like Bishop’s Pudding adapted from an early 1900’s cookbook.
Underneath the froth, this one-day local festival gives us a glimpse into the simple, hardy lives of the area’s early Métis and francophone settlers.
Visitors will also have the opportunity to make homemade ice cream and churn butter. And the Edmonton Weavers’ Guild drops by for a spinning demonstration revealing how settlers made clothes, coats and household necessities.
“People will have an opportunity to try it, but it’s a skill that takes a while to master. It’s like a lost art and not a lot of people know how to do it,” Shaughnessy said.
In addition, 40-minute tours of the chapel, grotto, cemetery and burial crypt of Father Lacombe, Bishop Grandin and Father Leduc are being hosted on the hour until 4 p.m.
“It will be an afternoon full of fun. It’s laid-back and easy for families to drop in. If you haven’t been here before, it’s a good introduction. And tasting the food is a good way of getting in touch with the past and taking it with you.”
Father Lacombe Chapel is at 7 St. Vital Avenue just off St. Albert Trail. Admission to Taste of the Past is a donation to the St. Albert Food Bank.