In the land of "Neuve-France", the rules for fasting and abstinence were specified both in the Catéchisme du diocèse de Québec published in 1702 by Monseigneur de Saint-Vallier and in his Rituel published the following year. During the four weeks before Christmas and the forty days before Easter, the believers had to fast or refrain from consuming meat. The liturgical calendar included a total of 145 days of renunciation or food deprivation from food. Besides these days of interdicts, the people of New France could rely on an abundant and varied diet. Culinary joie de vivre spread throughout the colony, hearty meals and feasts were the order of the day!

Fait de bois, de fer et de laiton, le fusil se compose d'une crosse, d'un pontet, d'un chien, d'une platine, d'un long canon effilé, de grenadières et d'un embouchoir. / This rifle is made of wood, iron and brass. It is composed of a stock, trigger guard, hammer, lock and a long tapering cannon with a barrel band and forward band.

Trade rifle, circa 1735

Great Britain
Musée de la civilisation, 89-13552

Lors d'une somptueuse réception, des officiers sont attablés et écoutent dignement le toast porté par un des leurs. / At a sumptuous reception, officers sit around the table, listening respectfully to the toast proposed by one of their peers.

The Dinner of Ceremony at the Château, undated

Louis Rossi
in Francis Parkman, Count Frontenac and New France under Louis XIV, 1897
Musée de la civilisation, Séminaire de Québec Library, 289.7.1

Victuailles, chants, danses et convivialité autour d'une table dans une maison bourgeoise au temps des fêtes! / Victuals, songs, dances and conviviality around a table in a bourgeois home during the holiday season!

Le temps des fêtes en Nouvelle-France, undated

in Le Samedi, 1941
Musée de la civilisation, Séminaire de Québec Library, 505.6

Habilement déposés sur une table, bouteille, cruche, volailles, pains, carottes et cerises composent cette nature morte. / Carefully arranged on a table, a bottle, a jug, fowl, loaves of bread, carrots and cherries make up this still life.

Nature morte, undated

Juan de Hermida
Musée de la civilisation, Séminaire de Québec Collection, 1991.314

Au sol, un lièvre abattu est déposé devant une cruche, des oiseaux et un panier d'oeufs frais. Des tomates rouges rehaussent la composition. / On the ground, a dead hare lies in front of a jug, birds and a basket of fresh eggs. Red tomatoes enhance the composition.

Nature morte, undated

Juan de Hermida
Musée de la civilisation, Séminaire de Québec Collection, 1991.315

Un serviteur remplit le gobelet d'un jeune bourgeois assis et légèrement dénudé, pendant qu'un autre tient une torche qui éclaire la scène. / A servant fills the goblet of his young master, seated and lightly clothed, while another holds a torch illuminating the scene.

La Gourmandise, undated

Gerrit Van Honthorst
Musée de la civilisation, Séminaire de Québec Collection, 1991.513

Dans son opulente résidence, un seigneur reçoit des convives autour de sa table, où discussion, vin et nourriture sont à l'honneur. / In a sumptuous residence, a seigneur entertains guests at his table, where the conversation, wine and food are sure to be excellent.

Un souper chez un seigneur canadien, undated

in Philippe Aubert de Gaspé, Les Anciens canadiens, 1925
Musée de la civilisation, Séminaire de Québec Library, 648.5

Supper with a Canadian Seigneur

"The menu included an excellent soup ... and a cold dish called "Easter Pie" ... and would have been the envy of even so consummate a gourmand as Brillat Savarin, for it consisted of a turkey, two chickens, two partridges, two pigeons, and the saddle and haunches of two hares, all covered with thick strips of lard. ... Ground spices and large onions, stuffed in here and there, completed the whole ... the bottom crust, which rose to a height of three inches about the flanks of this culinary monster, was at least an inch thick. Indeed, this crust was a delicious part of this incomparable dish, for it was saturated with the juices of all the meats."

The Feast

"When our Lord the Governor and our Lady the Governor's wife honour some person with their presence at his house, it is convenient that the invitation be for dinner and not supper, so as to preclude in that manner the late hours, the dangerous pastimes and other unfortunate consequences that customarily occur at evening feasts and gatherings".