Sunday, May 23, 2010

Corton: It's What's for Breakfast

It doesn’t rhyme with Morton (sigh, Morton), or Gordon.  The nearest way I can describe how to pronounce it is cau’-tauhn.  It’s French Canadian for the pure delight that is yummy pork fat spread.
I was recently reminded of its delicious goodness on Friday when talking to my mother-in-law.  For a portion of her young life, she grew up in the exact same 12-house neighborhood that I did prior to the age of nine! Now that’s a little weird if you think about it too hard – so don’t– but this connection allows us to enjoy reminiscing about the oddities particular to these early influences.
We discussed the houses: she lived in the one with the biggest yard at the far end of the street and I lived in the one with the barroom parking lot for a backyard on the main street.  We discussed the neighborhood: generations of family from her youth who were still there in mine.  And we discussed the area: the market on the corner of our neighborhood and the main street that moved twelve lots down the main street, but it might have well as been to another time zone.
We talked about how no one had any money; how when coming home from a trip visiting family with her mother, her father had moved them into the house in this neighborhood.  How they never owned anything, and yet, once in a while, her mother would manage to give each of the kids 5¢ to buy ice cream cones at the corner store. 
We talked about how exciting it was when the bar next to our house paved their parking lot and put down some asphalt behind our house so it covered the dust/dirt that was previously our backyard.  How, happily, this didn’t kill the one huge maple tree that lived there surrounded by pavement. We talked about how the old market was the last place that sold the good recipe of French Canadian corton made by the Italian woman who grew up between our houses, but married the nice French man a half-mile down the main street.
I wish I had some pictures of the disgusting-looking, grey, globular, thick meat spread that is corton to share with you, but I can only offer you this recipe. 

Since I found it on the internet, I can only guess this recipe couldn’t hold a candle to Mrs. Fontaine’s corton (because it would melt). And I’m also pretty sure, her recipe used pork butt because it was cheaper and fatter.  
I have to find some of that tasty meat spread made locally, or learn to make it myself.  Despite its hideous description, corton is good food.

Update: I found this picture of our neighborhood market, Fontaine's for Fine Foods, grand opening in 1954. Wow. The internet is a fabulous place.

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