My Flavors of Canada - A Blog in Honor of Canada Day
Every good cook knows that great food is a complex intermingling of flavors and textures, of hot and cold, of spices like coriander, fennel or rosemary, of sweet vanilla or tangy ginger. Outstanding chefs paint intricate pictures on the taster’s palate, with flavors moving in and out of focus - now squash; for a brief moment, cardamom; finishing with a lingering creaminess.
Canada, too, is a complex intermingling – of East Indian curries and chutneys; rich French sauces and cheeses; Norwegian Smorbrod, gjetost and lutefisk; Italian pastas and gelati; Dim Sum; Jerk and Jerky; chilies; empanadas; perogies and cabbage rolls. The list seems endless.
Canada tastes like the heritage of a hundred cultures, come together in one land, bringing with them their culinary traditions. Sometimes these foods stay true to their native lands but as often as not, they gradually change, using local ingredients and melding with local tastes to become uniquely Canadian variations. The Bannock of the Scottish “courier du bois” becomes the fireside treat of a thousand campers. The French pie made from squab becomes the Quebecois Tortiere.
Don’t forget, also, even before the arrival of Europeans and other cultures, the Native Americans had a rich bounty of foods – bison, deer, partridge, the native turkey, pike, pickerel, sage, rice, corn, cranberries, blueberries, Saskatoon berries (in Newfoundland they are called Chuckley Pears) and a myriad of other ingredients.
Like the Story of Stone Soup, each culture has contributed its tradition to make a hearty broth that feeds the soul of Canada.
For more Taste Canada articles, visit http://www.domesticgoddess.ca/jul05/01.html.