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Public Invited to UMaine Franco American Centre Mardi Gras Celebration of Traditional Food, Culture

February 18th, 2004

Media contact: George Manlove at (207) 581-3756

ORONO – Mouth-watering aromas of North American French cuisine – including succulent tourtière (meat pie), chicken stew, salmon pie and desserts – will permeate the atmosphere in the UMaine Franco-American Centre at Crossland Hall Feb. 24, as the centre invites the public to help celebrate Mardi Gras from noon to 3 p.m. The event is free.

For students, staff, faculty and members of the public, the afternoon will be an unusual opportunity to sample a buffet of traditional North American French cooking. For people who have never tried French-Canadian tourtière or cretons/cortons, a popular paté or pork spread, this is the time to try it, says Lisa Desjardins Michaud, the Franco-American Centre’s communications coordinator. The afternoon also will feature the traditional and easy-to-prepare pancake-like Acadian ployes, and traditional home-style baked beans. Desserts include molasses cookies, mini cream puffs, mini éclairs, and date squares. The event also is a time to learn about Mardi Gras from the Franco-American perspective, according to Michaud, and to experience the raison d’être of the Franco-American Centre. “This is an opportunity for people in the area who are of French-Canadian descent to taste and experience la culture des ancêtres, in a friendly, casual, warm ambiance,” says Michaud. “This is a celebration.” Mardi Gras at the Franco-American Centre will bring French tradition to the campus, she adds. “It’s important to celebrate and to create awareness of our culture at the University of Maine.”

Mardi Gras, translated, means Fat Tuesday. It is a day of feasting and celebration before Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent, the traditional Catholic period of abstinence and fasting. Mardi Gras is celebrated 47 days before Easter. Michaud, who personally will contribute food to the feast, is working with a team of volunteers from the community and the university, in addition to the University of Maine campus catering service, which will prepare some of the food in the North-American French tradition.

And for a literary pièce de résistance, which will provide a taste of Franco-American culture, Kristin Langellier and Eric Peterson, of the UMaine Communications & Journalism Department, will sign copies of their new book “Storytelling in Daily Life,” which explores various forms of narratives and storytelling, including Maine Franco-Americans’ personal histories as preserved through family storytelling.

For additional information, Michaud is available by telephone at (207) 581-3789. The Franco-American Centre, located in Crossland Hall next to Alfond Arena, is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Posted in News
Franco American Studies
5742 Little Hall, Room 213
Orono, Maine 04469-5742
Phone: (207) 581-3791 | Fax: (207) 581- 1832
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469