(pronounced and sometimes spelled: ploye)
plogue (pronounced 'ploye' and sometimes spelled this way as well) is the
staple of any meal along the St-John River in Maine and New Brunswick.
Many claim it to be an Acadian food as opposed to a French-Canadian food.
But I asked about plogues in the Baie Ste-Marie area of Nova Scotia, and
the Acadians there have never heard of it. At least the few that we questioned. But
the plogue is highly representative of the Acadian life-style. It is simple
and easy to make and it is very nutritious and very delicious. It's main
ingredient is buckwheat flour which is a hardy grain. It grows easily in
most soils and does not require a long growing season. Typically, buckwheat
is ready to harvest in ten to twelve weeks. It was an essential crop for
The plogue is different from a crepe or pancake, because there is no milk or egg involved. It is cooked on one side only, on a very hot skillet called a 'poëlonne'. Air holes form in the ploye as it cooks. When the batter on top of the pancake is cooked but still moist, it is ready to serve. Plogues are served rolled or folded as a substitute for bread. They make a good addition to any meal. For breakfast, serve ployes with cretons. For the noon meal, serve with butter and, after supper, serve with molasses or maple syrup, as a dessert.
We must note as well that the plogue is well represented on the Internet. A quick search for the word 'ploye' immediately brought up several sites, one of which is the Bouchard Family site which produces and offers a ploye mix on its website (Bouchard Family Farm). The photo is compliment of the Bouchard Family website.
We recently inquired with the Acadian Archives at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, Maine, about the history of plogues/ployes. We received a very nice response from the Archives' Director, Lisa Ornstein. Here is her response:
Dear Mr. Theriault:
from Fort Kent. In response to your query concerning research into Acadian
traditional foods, the best published work I know of has been by ethnographer
Marielle Cormier Boudreau:
I am doing some research on the provenance of the "plogue/ploye." I have enlisted the help of linguists at Laval Univeristy's "Trésor de la langue française" research division, and have also asked for help from the Archives de la Côte-du-Sud in Ste-Anne-de-la-Pocatière. The term "plug" is identified in the Glossaire du parler français au Canada as a "galette à la farine de sarrazin" (buckwheat pancake); I rather suspect that the term itself was brought to the St. John Valley from Quebec, but am reserving judgement pending news from Laval University.
The French love their crepes and pancakes, and it is probable that buckwheat cakes were eaten both in pre-Deportation Acadie and Quebec. However, the strain of buckwheat that is commonly used in this region is quite different from that commonly cultivated for domestic consumption in Quebec. I've put in a call to our Cooperative Extension Service to see what I can find out on that score.
Voila pour le moment. I'll send you more information as soon as I receive it.
Serve on warm platter, cover with napkins.