MaDaI - Interkulturelles Training

Gilles tells us the deep meaning of the number plate in Quebec


In 1978, the motto for the province of Quebec found on the vehicle license
plates changed from “la belle province” [the beautiful province] to “je me
souviens” [I remember]. What does “I remember” means? The actual saying
originated within the Quebec government in 1883 but had no clear explanation to
the meaning. One interpretation means “remember your lineage”. However, some
Quebecers understand it to mean “remember that the French have lost to the
English back in the 18th century” as a bitter reminder of a conquered people.
This may not be true but this interpretation gained traction when the Quebec
population elected a separatist party (called the Parti Quebecois) in 1976, and
two years later the motto on the license plates changed as described above.

The French and English in Canada for the most part get along very well. Indeed,
they have collaborated over the centuries to gain independence from Britain, and to stop an American invasion during the war of 1812-14. This history of collaboration may have helped shape the Canadian identity where Canadians are now typically known to be calm people, good listeners and compromisers. However, it is still better to avoid the topic on Quebec separatism when you have English and French speaking Canadians together for a beer, as there is a potential for the discussion to become very lively!

The French Canadians still retain their Latin roots as they are more lively and
emotional than their English counterparts. The Quebecers are also predominantly catholic. Up to WWII, it was not unusual for the French Quebec family in the small villages to have more than 10 children. In my case, both sets of grandparents had 18 and 14 children which makes for a lot of uncles, aunts and cousins! Of course in the
modern realities of today, families are down to 1-3 children.

Quebec home cuisine for the most part is not considered sophisticated. Many
recipes comes from the “old” world of centuries ago. However, one unique thing
that has developed in Quebec is the use of sugar in many recipes and deserts.
One reason could possibly be that during the 17th and 18th century, trade with
the French Caribbean colonies brought sugar to Quebec and its use in their cuisine, and has evolved from there. The fudge, or “sucre a crème” recipe is an example. “Sucre a crème” is commonly found in Quebec homes, and can even be found in some restaurants. However, outside Quebec, nobody would know about this desert.

Fudge, basically a mixture of caramelized sugar and milk (or cream) is served in Great Britain as a sweet after afternoon tea or in the early evening rather than as a desert. In the USA where it probably originated it is sometimes included as pieces in ice cream. It can be flavoured with chocolate, coffee, mint…once the basic technique has been learnt the variations are limitless.

 Marchese Daniela - Ma.Da.I

     Intercultural Management