I was taken aback when I first saw the recipe for galettes au petit-lard de loup marin in the cookbook, A Taste of Acadie, by Marielle Cormier-Boudreau and Melvin Gallant. Seal fat cookies? The description of the recipe notes that they are popular on the Magdalen Islands, as well as in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
Acadians in the Maritimes have been hunting seals for centuries, having learned it from the native peoples. It's an unbroken tradition in the Magdalen Islands, whose Acadians were not dispersed in 1755. My great-great-great grandparents, Hilaire Gautrot and Domithilde LeBlanc, lived there for awhile, but that's the only family connection I know of.
Why is this on my mind? It's the peak time for the annual seal hunt--and for protests by PETA and other animal rights organizations.
And this year there has been a human tragedy--a boating accident yesterday that left four fishermen dead. A boat based in the Magdalen Islands, L'Acadien II, lost its rudder, and overturned while being towed back. The government is investigating. The families are mourning
--and are angry at the Coast Guard, and demanding explanation.