It’s Canada Day tomorrow and I am celebrating in British Columbia, camping in the bush on a lake; eating and drinking lots, canoeing and fishing and just enjoying my Canadian life. When I thought about writing this post for Canada Day I tried to think about what being Canadian means to me.
As a food blogger, obviously this post will be heavy on the food and I am rounding up some of my very own blog posts, mostly Canadian recipes of course!
But what does being Canadian to me?
Space. Canada is full of space that is green with trees and grass, or blue with lakes, rivers and waterfalls, or grey and white with snow capped Rocky Mountains. My favourite place to be is somewhere enjoying all this beautiful space.
As a Canadian, I must embrace winter with a smile on my face. If I hated the cold and hated the snow, I would be very miserable for about half the year! We do get cold, long winters and the best way to overcome the long winters, with shortened days, is to find activities you can enjoy with family and friends! It can be something outside like snowshoeing or skiing, or indoors like having a dinner party with warm, comforting dishes and spiced or boozy cocktails; take the opportunity to enjoy everything there is about winter.
Summers in Canada aren’t long, but they are full of festivals and activities. I try not to take for granted the nice days we have by camping and hiking a lot in the Rocky Mountains; or by going to the festivals or outdoor Farmer’s Markets looking for new local produce and products to use.
Being Canadian means being a part of multiple cultures, religions and traditions. And the best way I can celebrate Canada’s multiculturalism is through food, of course!! I am going to highlight some of my recent blog posts below; some of them are Canadian and some are other cultures, but foods I enjoy a lot in Canada, and first tried in Canada!
Happy 149th birthday Canada!
Caesars, that is vodka, spice and Clamato juice, originated in Calgary, Alberta. It is a cocktail that I have made twice here on Chews and Brews – once for last Canada Day, and another time for Matt and Steve’s Extreme Beans – because a major part of a Caesar, is the food that goes inside – like pickled beans, pickled asparagus, pepperoni sticks, crispy bacon slice, or a slider on a stick!!
Poutine is a French Canadian dish, from Quebec. It has been done many ways over the years, but the original way is with hand cut French fries, fresh cheese curds and hot, savoury gravy drizzled all over. It’s amazing and as a foodie, I have loved playing around with the ingredients and made a prime rib poutine last year! Poutine would be a great way to celebrate Canada Day!
Another French Canadian dish, this is basically a pork meat pie. Every Christmas I would have this alongside the turkey and the ham, and all the other fixings. I made it last Christmas for my family in bite sized portions as an appetizer to the Christmas dinner – they turned out amazing!
Rhubarb did not originate in Canada; it seems to have come from China, actually, and has been used in their medicine for years and years. But it is something I grew up eating a lot of, and have posted a couple recipes, including Alberta Rhubarb Cake and Greek Yogurt Rhubarb Muffins.
Coming up later this summer, I will be sharing with you a couple cocktails: one using a homemade rhubarb shrub and the other a rhubarb simple syrup.
Borscht is from Eastern Europe, not Canada, but it highlights how the different cultures of Canada build a variety of foods as well. We had borscht growing up all the time and I still make it all the time now!
Summer Salad Rolls
A lot of foods influenced by Asia can be found anywhere in Canada. Canadian Chinese cuisine was the first form of Chinese food available in Canada, where immigrants altered their recipes to Western tastes as well as using the ingredients available in Canada. These restaurants were especially popular in small towns – there is even a book about it! These Summer Salad Rolls are the easiest Asian cuisine that I love making for lunch or supper!
Alberta Beef is a bit of a big deal, here in Alberta. Although the idea of smoking a brisket I think probably came from the Southern USA, barbecuing and smoking meat is something Canadian’s love doing all summer long. My husband and I recently smoked a brisket and I posted the steps in this huge, but worthwhile, process.
I could literally go on and on about Canadian food because the variety is endless, but I will leave off here with this final note…and it’s a bit of a mushy one… being Canadian mostly to me is about sharing your favourite things (mine is food!) with your favourite people. It is about being compassionate, caring and understanding for one another. It is about loving and embracing nature in all it’s seasons. And most importantly it’s about being yourself and accepting everyone as themselves.
Happy Canada Day!!