April 9, 2012

Cabane à Sucre or Sugar Shack

A couple of weeks ago we were invited to a Cabane à Sucre or Sugar Shack party. I have had the pleasure of going to several in  Quebec and it is an experience one does not want to miss.

 For those of you that don't know what that is, here is a brief description from Wiki.
A sugar house, also known as sap house, sugar shack, sugar shanty or sugar cabin (French: cabane à sucre) is a semi-commercial establishment, prominent mainly in Eastern Canada (although in some of New England's territory which is today part of the United States old sugar cabins can be found on properties belonging to the first settler families). Like the name implies, sugar houses are small cabins or series of cabins, originally destined to belong to certain private or farm estates, and where sap collected from sugar maple trees is boiled into maple syrup. Often found on the same territory is the sugar bush, that is intended for cultivation and production of maple syrup by way of craftsmanship (as opposed to global mass production factories build for that purpose in course of the 20th century).
Historically, sugar houses were a tradition introduced to New France by settlers of Swiss and Normand origin throughout the 17th century. Their purpose was the production of warming and delicious syrup for trade or sale, and for personal use during the cold months of Winter. After the British conquest of 1763, the tradition carried along to the provinces of Ontario and New Brunswick, but remained the only family-related tradition (such as patriarchal crafts) in Quebec.
Today many sugar houses are commercially-run and many also offer reception halls and outdoor activities open to the general public during certain months. Many of these activities include sleigh-riding, tours of the grounds, and eating maple toffee made in the house often in front of the clientele. The reception halls cater to large groups offering many varied dishes complemented by maple syrup. These dishes range from ham, bacon, sausages, baked beans, scrambled eggs, pork rinds, and pancakes to many other breakfast type dishes. There are also specialties like homemade pickles, homemade breads, followed by desserts like sugar pie and maple taffy on the snow.
The utmost exploitation of sugar shacks roughly covers the period from late October to early April, when maple sap becomes available. However, at temperatures below 0 Celsius, it is practically impossible to extract the sap, and therefore all efforts are mainly put in the thawing period of early Spring. The activity is usually performed during the two first weeks of April, and has since become both an annual celebration of Spring and the connotation of the upcoming Easter (which can sometimes coincide with the said dates).
On top of the is being a Cabane à Sucre or Sugar Shack party, it was also the hostess's hubby surprise birthday party and she was pulling out all the stops for it.

Here is the authentic menu she had planned for the evening, right down to the Maple Taffy! Mind you since we were in Oklahoma, it was going to be made on shaved ice instead of the traditional snow.
Cabane à Sucre
Menu (approximatif) :
Soupe aux pois
Petits pains
Marinades (betteraves, cornichons, ketchup aux fruits)
Saucisses dans le sirop
Fêves au Lard
Omelette au four
Oreilles de criss
Patates rissolées
Crêpes maison
Tarte au sirop d’Érable
Grands-pères dans le sirop

Bière, vin, café, thé, boissons gazeuses, etc.

Sugar Shack
Menu (subject to change) :
French canadian pea soup
Homemade buns
« Cretons »
Pickled beets, dill pickles, fruit ketchup
Hot dogs in syrup
Baked omelet
« Oreilles de criss »
Roasted potatoes
Maple Syrup pie
Dumplings in syrup

Beer, wine, coffee, tea, pop, etc.

Is your mouth watering yet? Needless to say it was delicious and we had a terrific time. So now that you have a had a brief history lesson, I'll share the card that I made.
For the card, I used images of the Cricut cartridge Go Canada! To be honest, I didn't even realize that these images were on the cartridge, as I had bought the cartridge when it came out and on a shelf it has sat since...little time to craft. I had the cartridge out as I was looking for another image for something else I was working on and when I saw these images I knew that it would make a perfect birthday card. I used the CCR to arrange and get the size of my images ready.
 I layed out my paper on my mat and sent the images to my I to be cut.
Here are some close-ups of the card.

Supplies Used
Tim Holtz Alterations Woodgrain Embossing Folder
CC Go Canada!
Cricut Imagine

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