Our family has embarked on virtual travels to various countries and regions. To explore these countries and their cultures, we have followed along with the festivals, cooked and eaten traditional foods, learned of traditional handicrafts with hands on exploration, along with many activities to immerse ourselves. Chronicled here are some of these activities.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Our French Canadian Roots: Recipe for Cretons | A Quebecois meat spread

Sharing our French Canadian heritage with a monthly recipe from our childhood, hoping to inspire similar traditions and memories for our daughters

If I hadn't grown up with cretons, I can't say this photo would appeal to me. Nor the term "meat spread" (although, isn't paté meat spread?) But this is tasty stuff, spread on toast, and a classic Quebecois breakfast that has made its way in the Acadian food culture as well. Hubby and I both grew up with cretons placed at the kitchen table with breakfast, and he has been hankering for a recipe close to the one his grandmother used to make for years.

This was the first time I've made cretons myself. I've eaten it home made when visiting my extended family, but that hasn't been in many years, and the girls have only ever tried store bought versions. Hubby's parents who live in an Acadian area often buy us some to take home when we visit, and occasionally we find a container of it at a local grocery store. We buy lots, and freeze it. So I was a little nervous about following my grandmother's recipe - and had to keep reminding hubby I didn't know what his grandmother's recipe was like, worried it would disappoint. Despite my misgivings about the spices (cloves, really?) this was a success - and hubby loves it! This means of course, that I'll have to make it fresh from now on.

Cretons is made with ground pork, onions and spices, and simmered for hours. It also needs to be refrigerated before eating - and the best way to eat it is with toast. Most people in Quebec like to spread a bit of mustard over it on their toast, but we like to eat with freshly ground pepper and some sharp cheddar on the side. 


  • 1 1/2 lbs ground pork
  • 1 cup 18% cream
  • 1 large onion, pureed
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp salt
Combine all the ingredients into a large pot, and break up the ground pork. Bring to a simmer on medium heat, then let simmer, covered, on low for 6 hours, checking occasionally to stir. About halfway through, mash the meat a little bit with a potato masher. When it's done simmering, let cool then refrigerate overnight. 

This is what it looks like after simmering for about 5 hours - I realize it's not too appetizing looking :)

Serve cretons by spreading it over toast. Enjoy!

Find our other French Canadian recipes here.


  1. That looks really tasty! Is the clove strong? It seems unusual to put cloves into a meat pate but I bet it tastes good!

    1. I was so surprised to find out there was clove and nutmeg - and rather wary of it! But you can't tell once you're eating it - unless you have a very skilled palate!


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