Local News

December 21, 2011

Meat-pie tradition ushers in Christmastime

MORRISONVILLE — One North Country family is consuming 45 pounds of hamburger prepared a special way this Christmas season, thanks to Rose Furnia.

At 93, she still makes her loved ones the same French-Canadian meat pies — tourtières — that her mother, Florence Robatoy, once cooked.

"Our mother always made meat pies every Christmas." Rose said. "It's a tradition in our family."

She said the original recipe calls for pork, but she prefers using hamburger in her recipe, the way her mother did.


Rose grew up in AuSable Forks with her sister, Lena Bruce, 89, who now lives next door to Rose at Roderick Rock Apartments in Morrisonville.

This year, she planned to make at least 30 of the traditional pies, picking up her ground beef at ALDI in Plattsburgh, where she found the best price.

She'd already baked 15 pies by the end of last week.

"My son (Dana Poirier) came down and brought them to the grandchildren and everyone else," said Rose's daughter Jean Marchiano, who lives near Redford.

About 15 more awaited delivery to other family members, and Rose baked another six to share with her neighbors in the apartment building.


The tradition is one that brings Marchiano close in memory to her grandmother, Rose's mom.

Florence, who died at 95, "was just like my mom," Jean said, "just oh, so spunky.

"We loved her to death."

As a little girl, Jean marveled at her Meme's pie production, mouth watering for the delicious dish that was served up on Christmas Eve — and only Christmas Eve.

The waiting only made the eating all the more scrumptious.

Nowadays, Jean said, "it kind of drifted into when you got (the pies), you ate them."

They just taste too good to wait, she said, laughing.

Lena baked the pies, too, until her health got in the way.

Jean knows how, and she will take up the tradition one day.

"It's going to be carried on."

— News Editor Suzanne Moore contributed to this report

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