This morning on social media I found a great article about the Franco-American history of Salem, Mass that I thought’d I’d share.
It was in the very neighborhood, “La Pointe”, that is featured in this article, that “Caramels de Bouchard” took its roots (we actually lived on Perkins St, if you can find it on the map, and my grandmother lived on and around Lafayette St). Many residents will remember our grandfather’s pharmacies, “Poussards Pharmacy”. One was the corner of Lafayette and Harbor St, the other the corner of Lafayette and West.) In fact, many locals who try the caramels for the first time, are instantaneously reminded of the caramels their grandmothers made. When I ask them where they lived, they all will say “The Point!”. I often think of these ladies as I stir and wonder if they might have made them all together, as they are such a time-consuming enterprise. I can imagine the scene, it’s Christmas, and aside from knitting items for the St Josephs Christmas Fair, they would be making caramels to give friends or, frankly, just leave in candy jars around their own houses. Somebody would be cutting the wax paper to wrap, somebody cutting, somebody wrapping, somebody stirring… everybody speaking French. 🙂 It would be a very familiar scene…except in recent years we were definitely (and sadly) speaking less French.
The caramels only came out at Christmas though, and all the Franco-American families seemed to make them, at least from what I have heard from others who also lived in La Pointe. As a family, we’ve been continuing this tradition for decades up until now, and I have to admit – it is a but odd smelling the buttery rich smell of caramel in July!
It is in fact my favorite moment, when somebody tries them for the first time, and they close their eyes and exclaim “This reminds me of my youth!!!”
Here’s the article: http://salem.wickedlocal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?Start=1 I look forward to finding the stories these ladies are documenting!