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Oh Canada

Canada Day is around the corner. Am wondering what is an iconic Canadian recipe to you, where did your recipe originate from, and when and for what occasion do you make it?
I had a lobster roll in PEI and think this is quite an iconic Canadian recipe.

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  1. Back bacon on a bun with maple mustard. If made with good quality peameal and a fresh kaiser, it's delicious.

    1 Reply
    1. Well, I think that the people in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and the US North Atlantic coast might debate whether the PEI lobster roll is iconically Canadian.

      Our cuisine is very regional and I really can't think of something that would be embraced across the country, though I'm certain someone will nominate Nanaimo bars, poutine, back/peameal bacon, tourtiere, smoked meat, bagels, Saskatoon berry products, the donut, and butter tarts.

      You also appear to be in Montreal, so what are we known for? Smoked meat, foie gras, poutine, tourtiere, syrup products, drinking…

      2 Replies
      1. re: wattacetti

        What is Montreal known for? Montreal bagels for one, and for me the smoked meat and great restaurant food.
        My family is from Newfoundland so a boiled dinner, including the pudding represents that part of the country.

        1. re: wattacetti

          I had many of the same in mind

          Also: tarte au sucre, Sucre à la Crème, bison meat. bannock, maple planked west coast salmon, caesars, ginger beef (haha), Arctic char, ice wine, pickerel, elk...

        2. Back bacon then donuts and a rack of beers while watching a "Strange Brew" marathon!! Beauty, eh?

          3 Replies
          1. re: PotatoHouse

            That's quite a combo...they all seem to pair well together.

            1. For me, it's cretons, that pork laden spread that my nana and mom would serve to me on good crackers or bread. Because of their Canadian origins (QC and Tignish, PEI), a lot of French Canadian foods are "it" for me. So cretons would be followed by tourtiere, and boudin (their term for "black pudding" or blood sausage).

              Very simple, rich, homey and lovely fare.

              5 Replies
              1. re: pinehurst

                My husband is French Canadian. His Mom would make a traditional reveillon, pea soup, was always on the menu. Do you make your own cretons, I use a recipe from Jehane Benoit.

                1. re: Ruthie789

                  You know what, I don't, and shame on me. My nana and mom did, but I buy it from a market in Methuen, Massachusetts called Thwaites. They have mostly British specialties (ironically :-) like pot pies and bangers) but also boudin, cretons, tourtiere, etc.

                  I should really try making it from scratch.

                  And yes, pea soup!! Sadly, I am the only one in my entire family that will eat it now. Such unadventurous eaters, my in-laws.

                  1. re: pinehurst

                    Pinehurst the cretons are so easy, meat, diced onion, spices and breadcrumbs boiled together and potted. I will post the recipe for you later tonight.

                2. re: pinehurst

                  pinehurst, boudin is the normal name in French for black pudding, whether in France, Québec, Acadia and elsewhere, though the more hot-country varieties in Louisiana and the French+Créole speaking Caribbean (Haiti, and the French départements of Martinique and Guadeloupe) are somewhat different.

                  1. re: pinehurst

                    Tignish!?? We just got back from vacationing there. Some of the local stuff we ate this trip:
                    -Lobster paste
                    -Bottled lobster (basically preserved in brine in a mason jar, delicious)
                    -Galettes with wild strawberry jam
                    -Tourtiere

                    My mom and grandmother used to make rapure and fricot a lot, and it's still popular in that region.

                  2. Poutine? I'm not Canadian and I've never made it, but when I think of "canadian food" that's the first thing I think of.

                    And, now I have the Canadian National Anthem in my head. They sing it at hockey games if the visiting team is from Canada so now I know it.

                    34 Replies
                    1. re: juliejulez

                      Poutine reminds me of something we get in the fish n chip shops back home (UK), except in Canada they use cheese curds and the UK is usually cheddar. Not that I care for it in either country.

                      1. re: Musie

                        The bar we go to here in Colorado makes it with cheddar, and I actually like it after I've had a beer or two :)

                        1. re: juliejulez

                          It must be good with beer. Our local hotdog stands sell it with a combo, hot dog, and drink. I would only recommend this on a Friday for lunch, lethargy sets in afterwards.

                        2. re: Musie

                          I'm trying to think of what might be available in a UK chippy that might resemble poutine. Gravy, yes. But with cheese?? Certainly nothing I've ever come across in eating in north west England chippies for nigh on 55 years. Maybe something from a specific UK region, Musie?

                          (EDIT: I see Google turns up "chips, cheese and gravy" as being popular in the Isle of Man)

                          1. re: Harters

                            I've seen chips with gravy and cheese on the menu in a few Southwest chippy's. One place was a chip shop tucked away in Plymouth along a residential street. And I think I've seen it up in Leicester too (but I'm fuzzy on that since it was quite a few years ago).

                            1. re: Harters

                              My son had a Canadian party a few years ago in London. Made the chips and gravy, as usual. Then used very coarsely shredded young cheddar to top. Cheese curds are the most rubbery, unaged stage of cheddar cheese so if you can find a cheddar or some other type of mild cheese, it would do the trick.

                              1. re: Nyleve

                                I am astounded how poutine has made it across the pond. The curds are unripened cheese perhaps that might also help with an equivalent.

                                1. re: Ruthie789

                                  Makes me wonder if it's going to be an entirely co-incidental British creation or if there's a Canadian influence - perhaps dating back to troops being stationed in the UK during one or both of the World Wars.

                                  1. re: Harters

                                    The poutine-making son is Canadian, and was just visiting London. I can't remember what the occasion was that they decided to celebrate - two Canadians and umpteen Londoners - but they also made apple pie and something else that I can't remember. One of the natives has spent a good bit of time in Canada so was already inducted into the secret poutine society prior to this party.

                                    1. re: Harters

                                      Poutine in Canada from my understanding started in the Saguenay region of Quebec. It is known to be of Quebec origin dating back to what year I am not sure.

                                      1. re: Ruthie789

                                        My dad brought cheese curds home from Sprouts all excited and said " Iook i can make poutine" He had it as a kid every summer when his family vacationed in Canada.. now I do not know how authentic his was... but ohhhhhh it was yummmmmy

                                        1. re: girloftheworld

                                          Cheese curds are the best option for poutine. Other cheeses get to stringy or the fat separates out of them when combined with the gravy and hot fries.

                                        2. re: Ruthie789

                                          Tell that to people in Drummondville or victoriaville. They both claim poutine and they are far away from the Saguenay. Stands to reason...cheese curds are more of a Coeur de Quebec thing than in the Sagenuay.

                                          1. re: williej

                                            You are probably right about the origin williej. I had seen a show about poutine years ago I may have gotten confused about place of origin.

                                          2. re: Ruthie789

                                            It wasn't known at all in most parts of Canada until quite recently. Chips with gravy, yes. It drives me crazy when Americans think it's the be-all and end-all of Canadian food.

                                            1. re: buttertart

                                              I agree with you the best of Canadian food equated to Poutine. Martin Picard is to blame, serving it up with foie gras! So BT what is the best Canadian food?

                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                Yes, I don't remember it when I was growing up in Wpg in the 80s and 90s..

                                                1. re: rstuart

                                                  It was definitely around -- at least in Ontario and Quebec -- in the 1990s.

                                              2. re: Ruthie789

                                                No, it comes from a region between Québec City and Montréal, on the south shore of the St-Lawrence. And is fairly recent, and "snack-bar"ish in origin.

                                                The Saguenay and Lac St-Jean have a lot more wild game.

                                              3. re: Harters

                                                According to several sources, poutine was invented only in the late 1950s.

                                                1. re: Harters

                                                  Here is a Canadian perspective on the poutine or chips and curds trend in England:
                                                  http://www.montrealgazette.com/travel...

                                        3. re: juliejulez

                                          I'm from Montréal and hate poutine. Waste of good frites! Though fine if people like it.

                                          1. re: lagatta

                                            As a fellow poutine hater, I think you might enjoy "The Embarrassment of Poutine" on this page:
                                            http://www.montrealpoutine.com/histor...

                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                Yes, it was good, and also well-researched. Though I don't hate poutine because it is downmarket; I hate it because I absolutely love good frites and rarely indulge in them, and to my mind poutine wastes them, as they are no longer crisp.

                                                Occasionally I'd indulge in a cone of Frite Alors! frites from Jean-Talon Market, but now their stand has closed, because there is a full-service branch on rue Villeray a couple of streets north of the Market, but too far to get the frites home hot, as I now live south of JTM. But they are very close to Parc Jarry, so I'll get some when I want a treat and go eat them in the Park...

                                                1. re: lagatta

                                                  That's my issue, I hate anything deep-fried that has wet ingredients on top of it.

                                                  1. re: lagatta

                                                    All these threads on frites makes me think of an article that I read on PEI potato farmers and their present plight article below:
                                                    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/n...

                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                        Yes it is horrible, I try to buy PEI potatoes but they are not always the star in the grocery aisle anymore.

                                                        1. re: Ruthie789

                                                          Please don't tell me that US spuds are on sale there...there's nothing like a PEI or NB potato.

                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                            Well we are seeing all sorts of potatoes. Quebec potatoes promoting the buy local movement and Idaho potatoes and various types of potatoes from all over the place. I've been to PEI and just remember the potato stands with payment stands based on trust, take a bag, leave the money. I feel sad and sorry for the plight of these dedicated farmers.

                                                      2. re: Ruthie789

                                                        It is shocking. This winter IGA here had a promotion on 10lb of excellent-quality PEI potatoes for $1.99. It seemed clear to me that this was below cost. (I bought them anyway, because not buying them certainly wouldn't have helped the farmer).

                                                        There is a similar problem with lobster and crab fishermen. Those have become absurdly cheap.

                                                      3. re: lagatta

                                                        Gravy on fries has been an American diner thing for decades. I too prefer my fries without gravy.