Rubaboo Stew Was Grandpa’s Favorite

As the weather gets cooler, the “comfort” food that I cook leans more towards soups and stews. I distinctly remember the smile on my Grampa Pete’s face (above) when he’d smack his lips and say “If we’re lucky, maybe Grandma will make us some rrrubabboooo”! When he’d roll his r’s and stretch out the ‘boo” it sounded magical and mysterious – like there was nothing better in this world! Auntie (Lilly) says that Grandma (Ida) might use a rabbit or duck and add some salt pork (when they had it). They broke their galette into small pieces to soak up the broth.

Rubaboo is a stew or porridge that nourished early French fur traders and Métis people of North America. The word “rubaboo” is a blend of the French word “roux” (flour thickener) and the Ojibwe word for soup (“naboob”). This dish is traditionally made of small game. Pemmican and maple sugar were sometimes added to the mixture, as well as wild parsnip (li navoo) onion, and prairie turnips.

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