Monday, February 14, 2011

Memere, Pepere, Ployes & Love

I distinctly remember the days Mom would bundle Jodie and I into the Toyota 4-Runner and navigate four hours north from Massachusetts to Memere and Pepere’s house in Maine. It happened so often that even as children we had landmarks vividly burned into our memory, knowing that once we passed the funny looking tree it was only a short-while longer to the Augusta exit.

We spent summer breaks and Christmas vacations enjoying the raspberries, fighting the cheers at family card parities, and watching Pepere comb and shape his land with his “toys” – or tractors. 

Memere and Pepere were a classic couple. They liked to dance, Memere liked to sing and Pepere always said Grace before every family meal. They met a bowling alley, had six kids, worked hard and managed to enjoy the outside when the snow melted and summer shown through. I even remember how Memere’s deep sun-crisped skin would shine as she picked homegrown green beans in the garden.

When my mother was growing up Memere would make baked beans, hot dogs and ployes as the family meal every weekend. Ployes, a crepe-like food, was a tradition taken from my Pepere’s mother in Clair, New Brunswick. Consequently, when deciding to accept Pepere’s marriage proposal, Memere picked up the recipe and made it her own, combining different types of flour, baking powder and water.

Memere made the family accustomed to ployes and passed along the tradition to her children, along with many other recipes including Tourtiere pie and Memere’s Peanut Butter Fudge, (which I’ve still not managed to master as a vegan recipe).

Now my mother and I make our ployes using Bouchard’s Family Farm ployes mix, found at the grocery store and made in Fort Kent, Maine. The ingredients include buckwheat flour, wheat flour, aluminum-free baking powder and salt. It’s completely delicious and completely vegan friendly.

When I was in fourth grade the family dynamic changed drastically, as Memere’s chair was empty at the next Christmas and the unmistakable pitch that sang through during Silver Bells was silenced due to cancer. She was gone.

So as the days go by, hopefully not just on Valentine’s Day, let’s tell the people we love how much we love them, enjoy the recipes that are passed through tradition and remember those that are in a better place.

Mem & Pep at Christmas
Mem & Me Rocking The Lobsters



  1. Your post reminds me of my dad's side of the family. We're Jersey folks, but after raising their family, my grandparents moved back to Auburn/Lewiston, Maine. We spent Thanksgiving up there every year and I have so many memories that remind me of those times and my French Canadian roots. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Yum Danie! I'm officially nostalgic and hungry ;-) Love the pics.

  3. Really brings back memories for me too. My favorite thing your Memere use to make was the cinnamon rolls. I was soooo happy when I had a chance for one of those! Loved your pictures.

  4. Thank you for sharing your beautiful talented gifts of writing and photography. This was priceless!!!

  5. Is a vegan tourtiere even possible? Good luck!