It was difficult to figure out what I wanted to write about for this round of the Canadian Food Experience Project; My Canadian Love Affair. I could not pinpoint a single recipe or ingredient to feature. Sure, I love chocolate, but last time I checked, cocoa beans do not thrive in our climate. Then there are apples, which BC has an abundance of, but that still felt like a superficial angle to take. I realized that showcasing a single item that I love takes away from the fact that I love just about everything when it comes to our amazing country. I won’t deny that a statement like that sounds incredibly cheesy, yet I am sure you would be hard-pressed to find any Canadian who does not feel the same way.
It’s hard not to love a place where you are free to live your life as you please and not be persecuted for it. Equality, democracy, free health care – what more can you ask for? Don’t worry, I am not going to start singing “Kumbaya” on you, I know it’s not a perfect utopia. The point is, we are incredibly lucky to have the freedom and opportunities we do. All too often, we take it for granted. So I decided that the best way to express my Canadian love affair is to highlight some of the things I love most about the country I am fortunate enough to live in.
To start it off, I love the mountains. I have lived by the ocean and as beautiful as it is on the coast, it just did not feel right without the towering peaks of the Rockies. The more I travel, the more I realize that one of my favourite places in the world is right in my own backyard.
I love the people. Cliche? Perhaps, but when travellers from other countries stick our flag on their backpacks, just so people think they are Canadian, that says something. Yes there are jerks (mainly Justin Bieber) but all in all, Canadians are about as thoughtful, courteous and humorous as it gets.
I love the restaurant scene. At one point in my life, I was dead-set on getting out of Canada so I could become a famous chef in the States. Needless to say, I have changed my tune just a tad. Although we don’t have as much to offer, the quality of what we do have is pretty impressive. Maybe it says something that we have not bought into the Michelin system and all of the other “best of the best” lists. Canadians are supposed to be humble, right? We are just doing our own thing – and rocking it.
I love Calgary. Again, it took moving away to realize how much I appreciate the city I was born and raised in. The Flames though, that’s a whole different story.
I love the sports. And not just hockey. But if we are talking about hockey, go Bruins! Seriously though, when I say “sports”, I am really referring to all of the different activities Canadians embrace. Skiing, snowboarding, skating, hiking and whatever else you do to both stay in shape and enjoy the outdoors. Let’s not forget the mountains that make so many of these activities possible!
Because of the nature of this project, I cannot end things without mentioning the recipes and ingredients that Canadians know and love. Here are some of my top Canadian recipes and/or recipes utilizing Canadian ingredients:
- Vegan Breakfast Cookies (using Highwood Crossing oats)
- Mini Egg Cheesecake (correct me if I am wrong but I believe Mini Eggs are a Canadian thing by way of Cadbury in Britain)
- Apple Cinnamon Blondies (with BC Honeycrisp apples)
- Canada Cornstarch Shortbread Cookies (right off the back of the box)
- Vegan Apple Pear Streusel Bars (with BC fruit and Highwood Crossing oats)
- Camelina Hemp Bran Muffins (using Camelina oil from Saskatchewan)
- Apple Cheddar Salad with Camelina Vinaigrette (BC apples and Camelina oil)
- Pickled Carrots (with baby carrots from the Hutterites)
Oh and considering that the Olympics are starting, I should probably throw a “Go Canada!” in there while I am at it!