Soupe de Pois Cassés Jaune
This year marks the 350th anniversary of the founding of Sault St. Marie. The Culinary Historians of Ann Arbor reached out to me regarding French Food Ways of the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes. French Canadian cuisine played a significant role in the history and development of Sault Ste. Marie and given my French Canadian heritage and culinary interests, I welcomed the opportunity to write this article on my version of traditional French Canadian Yellow Split Pea Soup.
French Canadian Yellow Split Pea Soup was a staple food and has its Sault Ste. Marie roots established in the voyageur trading routes, which extended from Montreal through the Great Lakes all the way through to the Grande Portage. Peas were a crop easily grown at trading posts such as Sault Ste. Marie and this made restocking of supplies possible. During the fur-trading era, the waterways were the roads and canoes were the means of transport. The Voyageurs (the French word for travellers) made the difficult 12 to 16-week journey to deliver their trading goods. One needs to understand the physical characteristics and demands on these men, and why their diet was so important. Voyageurs were required to be short in stature (approximately 5’, 4”) because the space in the canoe was needed for cargo. They had to be young, strong and healthy to endure the very fast-paced paddling, harsh conditions related to the weather or the terrain and their dawn-to-dusk workday….