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Jun 22, 2011 04:23 PM

Canadians--tell me your favourite recipe from Mom or Grandma

I am wondering what you all ate growing up, and if you have a recipe for it. I am interested to see what Canadians ate when they were children, and what ethnicities are represented.
I grew up Mennonite, so we had alot of sweet borscht, kielke and ham with cream gravy, and homemade chicken noodle soup.. YUM!

Kielke is a simple rolled dough cut into strips and boiled in salted water, then pan-fried Then thick ham slices were fried, and removed from the pan and we added heavy cream and lots of salt and pepper. We poured the cream gravu over the kielke and served it with fried ham.

The Chicken Noodle Soup is stilll something my father makes for me when I visit.
Homemade Chicken broth made with an old hen and water to cover. Salt, peppercorns, star anise and root parsley. Simmer. Remove the chicken, cut into bite size pieces (or shred it) and return to broth.
Homemade noodles thinly sliced and boiled in salted water.
They put the cooked noodles into a big bowl, pour the steaming hot broth over, and add butter.
So good.

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  1. I love this thread already. Born and raised in London, Ont.

    Here's my mom's recipe for butter tarts - she was a demon butter tart maker...

    The tarts are baked in standard 12 unit muffin pans lined with thickish pie pastry - make your standard (my mom's was the one on the Tenderflake lard box) and roll it out a bit thicker than you would for a pie crust; cut out circles using a saucer or other 5" round item as a guide; spray the muffin tin with vegetable spray and fit the circles into the muffin cups (OK if the pastry pleats a bit, this isn't patisserie school).

    You can stick the prepared pan in the fridge while you make the filling - my mom didn't (pastry was made, rolled out, and baked - only chilled if the batch was too big for immediate use).

    Filling: beat 2 eggs, 1 cup loosely packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup corn syrup (either light or dark for US bakers, the standard one in Canada is golden in colour), a pinch to 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 cup soft butter (always salted in our house, some always kept at room temp for spreading and such recipes as this), 1/2 cup or so dark raisins or preferably currants, and 1 tsp vanilla. Mom also sometimes added a tsp of cider vinegar "to cut the sweetness".

    Fill the tart shells with this - the amount makes 12 tarts - and bake at 400 deg F for 14 to 18 mins. We like them just barely set, some people prefer them firmer.

    Cool in the pan on a rack and serve in twos with a good strong cup of tea (one is never enough).

    Some people add chocolate chips to these - but really some things are not meant to be chocolate as far as I'm concerned.

    22 Replies
    1. re: buttertart

      Not wishing to intrude from across the Pond too long, I see you mention cup measurements. Is that common in Canada, as well as America?

      1. re: Harters

        Well its common in America, we don't go by scale weight too often. I assume (perhaps incorrectly) that across the Pond you measure by weight? or is it by liters?

        1. re: ROCKLES

          Litres only for liquids. Kilos for weight.

          1. re: Harters

            We are in cups, teaspoons and once in awhile pounds/ounces

            1. re: ROCKLES

              I always look at metric recipes and think to myself, hey I'm cooking not doing a science experiment. ;-)

        2. re: Harters

          This recipe is from pre-metric conversion days. The Canadian books I own that were published since then show measures in cups and millilitres, not grams. Scales are still not common (at least in my family).
          You might like the website, their recipes work very well.

          1. re: Harters

            Canada shares the US habit of having recipes in volume rather than weight. We
            went to metric in 1979, and recipes are one of the hold-overs. They'll usually be in cups and tablespoons, but you will rarely see ounces as a liquid measurement.

            The other holdover is height and weight of people.

            1. re: Harters

              Canada is supposed to use metric. However we are still using cups, and pounds for baking. We often see recipes with both measures.

            2. re: buttertart

              This sounds great, I am going to make them this weekend.
              Thanks buttertart

              1. re: buttertart

                I'm in SW Ontario and this recipe looks exactly like the one my great grandmother always used, except she used plain white vinegar or lemon juice. Funnily enough, all of the women known for baking in my family also swear by the pie crust recipe on the Tenderflake Lard box, and wouldn't dream of using any other!

                1. re: elysabeth

                  Absolutely, it was always in our house. Shortening too, but NOT! for pastry. Happy Canada Day tomorrow!

                  1. re: buttertart

                    LOL! In our family it was LARD and BUTTER, not shortening, but especially NEVER in pastries. Even in the low fat craze, my baking demon aunts said they would rather fall down dead than eat bad pastry. :)

                    1. re: elysabeth

                      Butter for shortbread and Christmas stuff, margarine or shortening for some other things. Your aunts sound like my family! Happy Canada Day!

                      1. re: buttertart

                        Thank you! Happy Canada Day

                        I'm going to make Butter Tart Squares to celebrate, because all of these posts gave me a wicked craving. It's the same yummy filling but I just don't feel like fiddling with tart shells today.

                        1. re: elysabeth

                          That's what I usually do, to tell the truth!

                  2. re: elysabeth

                    My Mom the masterpie baker would only use Tenderflake.

                  3. re: buttertart

                    Butter Tarts - Ottawa Citizen newspaper 1943

                    Butter Tarts - Ottawa Citizen newspaper 1952

                    Syrupy Butter Tarts - Ottawa Citizen newspaper 1956

                    1. re: buttertart

                      Hi, It's been a while, but I thank you for the recipe and will give it a try. It sound very easy, which is wonderful.

                      1. re: buttertart

                        I have always wanted to ask you about a buttertart recipe. And here we are. Thank you neighbor to my N.

                        1. re: Sal Vanilla

                          More than welcome, but probably not as far N as you may think, since I've lived in the States for a million years.

                      2. My parents are from Laos. I loved chicken noodle soup growing up or rice porridge. Its base is in boiling a generous amount of minced garlic and sliced ginger together and salting the water. Once it comes to a boil add chicken. Once the chicken is cooked, season again and then add noodles or rice. Then garnish with chili oil, garlic oil, chopped swordgrass aka culantro aka sawtooth herb, chopped cilantro and chopped green onion. It's so easy and I find it so comforting. I like adding a lot of chicken so that when the broth is cooled, it's almost gelatinous.

                        Pat's family is Chilean so their favourite is empanadas. I'm still learning about that since my mother in law makes killer dough but doesn't measure. I took notes, but once I am successful in my own experiments then I will share!

                        13 Replies
                        1. re: S_K

                          I remember the date squares/matrimonial cake (same thing)

                          way back when-there was no extra money

                          date squares were used as the wedding cake. (Joy of Cooking recipe)

                          otherwise it was the roast beef, the chicken, the pork hocks, the meat loaf,the left-overs

                          you can tell I'm Anglo

                          I'll eat "ethnic" other than my own background any day of the week!

                          mind you my maternal "greats" were German so there was always that influence.

                          1. re: 001mum

                            Yeah, I grew up eating alot of my Russian/German Grandmothers yummy Mennonite food.
                            My paternal Grandmother cooked, I am sure, but I never grew up with hers. Too sad actually. I also grew up "Anglo", and we never had alot of money, so it was alot of spaghetti and sauce, roast beef, hamburgers and beans, and soup.

                            1. re: Godslamb

                              Traditional Canadian recipes for picnics - Montreal Gazette 1983

                              Mennonite Recipes - Ottawa Citizen newspaper 1983 - Part 1

                              Mennonite Recipes - Ottawa Citizen newspaper 1983 - Part 2

                            2. re: 001mum

                              I wondered where the matrimonial cake name came from. Maritimes? I'm from London, ON originally, English and Irish heritage (first generation on the English, at least 5th on the Irish).

                              1. re: buttertart

                                Matrimonial cake was from Western Canada, 1930's
                                but my family is from New Brunswick and there was always date squares at a gathering
                                Tea loaves are the only other baking I can do
                                orange loaf,an amazing cherry loaf, cranberry orange-these for the most part I learned from my mum (all those cup and sauces showers when i was a girl!)
                                but i use the recipes from Company's Coming "Muffins & More" 1983 version
                                they freeze well, travel well,and look pretty!

                                1. re: 001mum

                                  Although they're still called Matrimonial Bars throughout my 1970s community cookbooks from southern Saskatchewan, I've never seen any served at any Prairie weddings, at least not in the last 30 years. That being said, they seem to show up at every Sask family reunion or gettogether I've attended, along with other slices.

                                  What I do remember from the Prairie weddings well into the late 1980s are fingers of fruitcake, wrapped in foil, then a paper doily, handed to guests as bonbonnieres. Haven't seen any fruitcake at any of the Prairie weddings I've attended in the 21st Century.

                                  One Canadian sweet I remember growing up with, that is relatively difficult to find east of the Red River these days, are butterhorns.

                                  1. re: prima

                                    Growing up in Ontario in the 60's and early 70s fruitcake was the norm, with almond paste and royal frosting. A layer would get cut up and distributed as you note - or sometimes wrapped like that and in little paper boxes with a bridal motif and the couple's names and date (we had them at our wedding).

                                    1. re: buttertart

                                      The fruitcake must be taken from the British tradition - it's still what we do.

                                      Here's one made recently for a couple of well connected folk

                                      1. re: Harters

                                        Isn't that something? Well-connected indeed.

                                      2. re: buttertart

                                        And the top layer was saved for the future. We used ours for a Christening, and 15 years later out of the freezer it was still good. All the almond paste and royal frosting protected it.

                                        1. re: Ruthie789

                                          I'm sure. In my family it was first anniversary or first christening, whichever came first.

                                  2. re: buttertart

                                    Matrimonial Cake recipe - Vancouver Sun newspaper 1951

                                    Matrimonial Cake recipe - Vancouver Sun newspaper 1962

                                2. re: S_K

                                  Would love some ideas for empanadas

                                3. I'm still trying to master my mom's stove top pork roast with carrots and star anise and rock sugar (I'm chinese). I also loved her barley casserole with chicken, chestnuts, shitake mushrooms and chinese sausage (lap cheung).

                                  10 Replies
                                  1. re: rtms

                                    Oh my, this sounds amazing. Let us know when you come close to mastering! :)

                                    1. re: Godslamb

                                      I made po'k roast (say it with a Chinese accent) : ) this weekend. I trimmed some fat off a boneless pork loin and browned it in an dutch oven. With the pork loin, goes peeled some carrots and cut up some onions, about 1/4 cup brown sugar and 3 star anise and a couple pieces of dried licorice root with about 1 cup of liquid - stock or water and a spoon of hoisin sauce or Lee Kum ground black bean sauce. Braise until tender. It tasted like home.

                                    2. re: rtms

                                      tell me about star anise
                                      I've read about it a lot lately.

                                      1. re: 001mum

                                        Used in Chinese and Southeast Asian cooking, it's very strong so sometimes you break up the pretty star because the whole star may be too much and use it in soups, roasts, it's part of the five spice blend and here's what it looks like:

                                        Other noted foods you will find it in is red cooked pork, BBQ pork (through five spice powder), and pho. It is strong and so helps to hide or remove "gamey" meat smells or strong meat smells so that it is why it is often paired with pork.

                                        The least expensive places to buy it are Asian grocery stores, they are sold in little packets in the spice or spice/noodle aisle (if it's set up that way) often for $1 or less. If you buy it in the bulk food store or a gourmet store, the price can often be a lot more.

                                        So...I hope this is what you would want to know and not what you already know! :D

                                        1. re: S_K

                                          I have no idea where the Mennonites would have first used it or why they would have chosen to use it, but it has a bit of a licorice taste to it, and it adds a wonderful dimension to the chicken soup. I think I may have to do some research on this! :)
                                          Like S_K said, it appears a lot in Asian coking.

                                          1. re: Godslamb

                                            Maybe back in Germany? I don't know of any German recipes with star anise specifically in them offhand, but there are a lot of baking recipes that use anise.

                                            1. re: buttertart

                                              It's could be the Russian connection being near China. There are lots of Russian, German Mennonites I notice. More so German, but some of the cultural things are shared.

                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                I actually read somewhere that it comes from the Mennonites being in the Netherlands. Not sure of the authenticity of this. I may have to talk to my Dad about this.

                                                1. re: Godslamb

                                                  The Netherlands were one of the hubs of the spice trade, as was Luebeck in Germany.

                                            2. re: S_K

                                              Thank-you, your information is perfect.
                                              I have seen it @ Asian stores & will try it sometime.

                                              I have been using a lot of fennel/anise (I like it raw in salads) this summer.

                                        2. Not necessarily ethnic, nor favorites, but I grew up in the 70s eating my mom's cooking, which seemed to be the same stuff all my friends were eating.
                                          Shepherds Pie (AKA Chinese Pie or Pate Chinois): browned ground beef topped with canned kernel corn, topped with mashed potatoes and baked.
                                          Razose (bastardization of French "la sauce"): a half cup of flour is browned in a dry pan, add water and ground beef, simmer awhile. I came to learn that this may be called chipped beef (on toast) AKA "shit on a shingle" with no shingle (toast).
                                          Stringy Meat (my name anyway). My mom would buy a blade roast (probably one of the cheapest cuts), plop it in a roasting pan along with potatoes, carrots, and celery, a bit of water, and bake.
                                          "Fast Macaroni" (this one I actually liked). Place a can (or 2) of chopped tomatoes in a pot, simmer with chopped onions, salt&pepper. Toss with cooked macaroni noodles, serve.
                                          "Baked Macaroni" (liked this one more...). Take fast macaroni, add grated yellow cheddar, place in baking dish, bake (also good fried the next day).

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: porker

                                            That reminded me of "Swiss Steak"
                                            inexpensive beef slices with gravy-served with mashed potatoes and carrots.One year when i went to camp in northern New Brunswick, the regular "chef" suddenly quit- and we had that SWISS STEAK FOR 5 NIGHTS IN A ROW!

                                            1. re: 001mum

                                              Growing up, some of my friends would have "quick steak" for dinner; trying to stretch a buck and still putting "meat" on the table, their folks would buy balogna, sliced about 1/4" thick and fry it up crisp.

                                              1. re: porker

                                                I grew up eating fried bologna - fried crisp.

                                              2. re: 001mum

                                                Not so inexpensive anymore, trying finding the large sirloin cut they used to make this cheap recipe. It is not available anymore.

                                            2. I am not Canadian, but apparently the raspberry cheese bar cookies I made are an old Maritimes favorite:

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                At times, it's hard to differentiate Canadian from Americian. My ancestors, father's side came to Ontario from Germany (1827) some moved to North Dakota date unknown, and from North Dakota to Saskatchewan around 1912.
                                                My mothers side came from Germany and Minnesota to Saskatchewan around 1912. Some moved back to the USA during the dirty 30s, finally settling in Florida.