Acorn Press, which has been experiencing renewed energy for some time, has given proof of this by publishing two small beautifully produced books on widely different subjects.
One is Ni’n na L’nu: the Mi’kmaq of Prince Edward Island by A.J.B. Johnston and Jesse Francis. The other is Maritime Seafood: Chowders, Soups and More by chef Paul Lucas. They are both under 100 pages and sell for $19.95 each.
Ni’n na L’nu is a valuable contribution to Island history. No one, to our knowledge, has written any book exclusively devoted to the subject previously. Starting in the period the Mi’kmaq call “since before long ago”, the authors describe their world-view, where they live and why.
In round figures there are about 40,000 Mi’kmaq in the entire world, most of them living in the same general region as their ancestors.
An analysis of the developing relationship between the Mi’kmaq and the French, and later the British follows.
Later chapters tell of quillwork, service in the two World Wars, and even sport. Throughout the book, there are short biographies of remarkable men and women, and quotations from other writers, especially the late Rita Joe, a well-known Mi’kmaq poet from Nova Scotia. In short, the book is full of information clearly conveyed and illustrated with photographs, maps, and paintings.
Maritime Seafood, on the other hand, will probably have a more limited appeal, though all those who like to try new recipes may be eager to try the 65-odd ones outlined here. However these recipes are not for the beginner.
They contain products, which are not obtainable everywhere, such as brunoise peppers, mango juice and Arborio rice.
On the bonus side, the instructions are very complete. The quantities are huge, 500 ml of whipping cream for a cream soup for example.
And the recipes are not suitable for anyone on a restricted diet. Somewhere in the middle of the book, the author tells us recipes are meant for 8-12 to persons. (Some recipes are for four to six people.)
The author is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of Canada, and works as executive chef of the Lobster on the Wharf restaurant in Charlottetown.
Beautiful photography of finished dishes, places and things connected with cooking — lobster traps, rocky and sandy shores — appear on many pages of Maritime Seafood.
These two books show something of the range of Acorn Press’s ambitions.
Elizabeth Cran is a freelance writer who writes a book review column for The Guardian. To comment or to send her books to review, write her at 111 Sydney St., Apt. 17, Saint John, N.B., E2L 2L8, or call her at 506-693-5498.