Happy Quebec Day! Bonne St-Jean-Baptiste!

Today is one of my favorite days of the year! A day when I get to celebrate my Quebec heritage, even if I’m far far away from home.  As early as I can remember, Quebec National Day has been a very important event. When I was little, I would walk with my parents to the big park in my hometown where thousands of people would assemble to celebrate. Traditional music (and well-known songs) was played, a giant bonfire was lit up and the evening would end with the best fireworks of the year.

My earliest St-Jean
My earliest St-Jean photo…mini “fireworks” for my cousins and I before the real celebration in the park! (1990)

When I got to secondary school, I started going to the same park with my best friends. Boy, it was a blast!

My first St-Jean without my parents! I had (still have) such a great group of friends!
St-Jean without parents! I had (still have) such a great group of friends! (2003)

In college, we dropped the local celebrations to attend THE event of the province: the Quebec show on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec city. Those will always be some of the best memories of my teenage/young adult life.

Vincent Vallières in Quebec City
Vincent Vallières in Quebec City (check him out here) (2004)

Being in Virginia instead of Quebec on June 24 used to be depressing but, in the past few years, I’ve learned to make the best of it. Of course, I won’t be able to go on the Plains of Abraham to listen to my favorite artists but, hey, I have an iPod filled with all of them! Although the parties have evolved throughout the years, the main goal has stayed the same, Quebec Day in America is an opportunity to share my culture with my new friends. Each year, I made a playlist of my favorite traditional and latest Quebec songs, made different dishes and decorated the house in blue and white, with flags of all sizes flying all over the place.

The house decoration evolved too...this little magnifying glass man was made years ago for one of our yearly party. And it's still around!
The house decoration evolved too…this little magnifying glass man was made years ago for one of our yearly party. And it’s still around!
A glimpse at our first Quebec Day party in America (2009)
A glimpse at our first Quebec Day party in America (2009)

Unfortunately this year, conflicting schedule made it impossible to have our usual party. But that doesn’t mean I can’t celebrate with my summer camp kiddos! On Sunday, I made pouding chômeur (poor man’s pudding) a simple dessert known by everyone back home. I also found Whippet cookies (originally created in Quebec) for the children (and teachers) to try out.

The pudding/cake recipe is super simple and incredibly tasty.

Pouding Chômeur à l’Érable (Poorman’s Maple Pudding)


  • 1.75 cups of flour
  • 1.5 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 0.5 teaspoon of salt
  • 8 tablespoons of butter
  • 0.5 cup of granulated sugar
  • 0.75 cup of milk
  • (For the sauce): 1.5 cup of maple syrup and 1.5 cup of water

What’s Next?

  1. In a saucepan, bring the maple syrup and water to a boil.
  2. Sift the flour,baking powder and salt into a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the butter, sugar and milk.
  4. Mix together the dry ingredients and the butter mixture.
  5. In a greased baking dish (mine was 8X8), spread the dough.
  6. Pour the maple syrup over the dough (be careful, the syrup will be very hot!) and let sit for 10 minutes.
  7. Bake at 350°F for 35 to 40 minutes.
Pouding chômeur with maple syrup...yum!
Pouding chômeur with maple syrup…yum!

So for my 2013 St-Jean-Baptiste, there will be music, food and decorations. I will talk to the children and my fellow teachers about my culture and what makes it so special. And in the end, that’s really all I need to be a happy camper on June 24. 🙂

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