THE RECIPE BOX - Meat pie is a French Canadian favorite

THE RECIPE BOX - Meat pie is a French Canadian favorite

CUMBERLAND - It was an idea for an "International Night" themed dinner that set Aimee Angus to looking through her grandmother's recipes. "There is a lot of diversity at my workplace," she said. Represented are Liberia, Puerto Rico, Asia, the Dominican and French Canadian nationalities, she said.

Aimee is a microbiologist working in a lab at Rhode Island Hospital growing cultures and bacterias for medical testing purposes. Her coworkers are a "fun group" she said, they enjoyed sharing a green banana dish, Asian egg rolls, lamb and rice in cream sauce and the French Meat pie that she made.

Aimee thought that an appropriate family recipe - and one that her grandmother has made for more than 50 years - would be the French Meat Pie because it's been such a staple in the family.

Said Joan Angus, Aimee's mom; "She (her mother-in-law) has been making them for Christmas as long as I've been in the family." Joan is married to Jeff, Gloria's second youngest son of four boys and one daughter.

Gloria Angus-Strycharz, Aimee's grandma, is now residing at Emerald Bay, in Cumberland, since she had a nasty fall on some stairs last February.

Gloria was invited to the family home to share some of her insights about her recipe on the day that Aimee made the meat pie for The Breeze.

One of Gloria's favorite pastimes is knitting little warming hats for newborns, which she donates to Women & Infants Hospital. Watching the Boston Red Sox play ball is another favorite for Gloria as is watching "Wheel of Fortune."

Jeff fondly recalls his mom taking him and his three brothers for their annual summer haircut at Stanley the Barbers on Smithfield Avenue. "It meant summertime was here when we went to get the buzz cuts," he said. Also a rite of passage was the hand-me-down cut-off jeans shorts Gloria made for them. Each younger brother received a pair along with a T-shirt and a new pair of sneakers from Ann & Hope.

Gloria did not have trouble with discipline even as a single mother who lost her husband unexpectedly at a very early age. "They just knew they had to listen and they were very good kids," she shared.

Gloria has 11 grandchildren, five great-grandchildren with a sixth due soon, and she still makes a hand-knitted giant Christmas stocking for each new member of the family that includes their name on it. The family numbers about 35 strong now.

Aimee enjoys hanging out with her friends and traveling to California where she visits with family. She said working out, taking spin classes and going to the gym are her favorite activities. A passion of hers is working on "Team Linda" in honor of her aunt Linda who passed away in January 2013 from pancreatic cancer.

There will be a walk in October held in Braintree, Mass. to raise awareness and funds for the disease. As a way to honor her, Aimee is currently helping to make T-shirts that she designed for the team. More information is available at promisesforpurple.org.

There was a sad quiet lull in the conversation, the same one that happens when you suddenly focus on someone your family has lost, but there was no mistaking the enjoyment Aimee derived from making her grandmother's meat pie recipe and being able to present it to her for dinner this night.

Rhonda's Note: I met Jeff Angus at Four Corners Community Chapel. One Sunday our Pastor Jeff Craw decided that we (the congregation) should greet someone whom we did not know. I approached Jeff Angus, we introduced ourselves and he happened to mention The Valley Breeze Recipe column. Hmmm... that was my cue, and you know the rest!


"Holiday" Meat Pies

Ingredients: Makes two meat pies

1&1/2 lbs. lean ground pork

¬? lb. lean ground beef

4 potatoes (med. size)

2 onions (med. size)

poultry seasoning (Bell's)

salt & pepper to taste

2 two-crust pie shells

Directions:

1. Boil potatoes until fork-tender. Drain, set aside.

2. Break up and saut?© the pork and beef along with finely chopped onions.

3. Mash the cooked potatoes and combine with pork, beef and onion mixture. Add poultry seasoning, salt and pepper to taste.

4. Place meat filling in bottom crust of two pie shells, top with cover. Flute edges to seal. Cut slits in top crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, or until crust is light brown.

Note: These pork pies freeze very well. Some folks like to add a dash of either cinnamon or nutmeg to the meat filling.