The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 12.13.04


All I want for Christmas

Lets speak of a Quebec product hitherto unknown in the rest of Canada. This product has potential, let me tell you. Indeed, Quebec has its proprietary attributes and we could use a little bargaining power wherever we can get it.

It's not enough to provide North America with a potentially unlimited supply of fresh water for free, and it's not sufficient to be known primarily for the national dish of Poutine.

We may be famous for ridiculous sign laws, language police, bad drivers and potholes, but we have more to offer. Much more.

What's needed here is true leadership and marketing wizardry to finally place us foremost in the minds of culinary experts globally.

You know the mantra… Think global, act local… or is the other way around?

I am prepared to carry the torch proudly for all Quebecois and present one of our best food products to the world.

That's right folks -- I'm going to be the King of Cretons.

What other Quebec food is so under-represented in culinary circles across the continents? How is it possible that we have overlooked our provinces' most important resource?

If Wisconsin can claim rights to cheese and be known as cheese-heads, why then can we not brand our product to new heights? Donald would be proud and I would not be fired, as they say.

The premise is simple and we know everyone eats toast. A necessity like toilet paper and the light bulb, families rely heavily on any and everything that can be spread on toast or crackers.

This practice is most useful around holidays and as such creates demand for innovative products beyond traditional cheese balls and clam dip. The French from France lay claim to paté and yet their expatriate kin have no bragging rights. People need to know that nothing goes better with a bottle of cheap corner store plonk then Cretons.

This unmatched beautiful pairing of like-minded products at common and affordable price makes Cretons the ideal food for the masses. Mind you, al-Quaeda may not have nice things to say about this concept. If it were up to me I'd put the stuff in tubes for easy traffi -jam consumption.

Bring on the trans fats, salt, and meat. Please my tongue with delicious velvety goodness and shield my sin from Atkins zealots and vegetarians. Let us rejoice in simple spreads and become rich in flavor and pocket.

This, Santa, is all I want for Christmas and I've been very, very good this year. Sorry about that little incident with the neighbors dog.

Worlds Best Cretons

1 1/4 lbs ground pork
3/4 cup finely chopped yellow onions
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1-teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/2-teaspoon ground cloves
1/4-teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4-teaspoon ground ginger
1/ 4-teaspoon nutmeg
3/4-cup whole milk
1/4-cup fine breadcrumbs

In a large sauté pan, add the pork and cook until no longer pink, about 3 minutes.

Add the onions and garlic, and cook for 1 minute.

Add the salt, pepper, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and cook for 1 minute.

Add the milk and breadcrumbs and cook for 3 minutes over medium heat, stirring to break up the meat.

Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pork is very tender and most of the liquid is evaporated, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Remove the lid and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick and all the liquid is evaporated, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste.

Transfer to a decorative bowl or several smaller ramekins, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled and firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Serve with thinly sliced French bread or toasted French bread croutons.