There are cuisines that are well-known to everybody, like French or Chinese. Canadian cuisine isn’t among them – in other countries you will rarely see a place where you can taste authentic Canadian food. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a lot to offer to those who are willing to taste it.
Poutine is the iconic Canadian dish, consisting of French fries and cheese curds topped with gravy. Despite being relatively young (it appeared back in 1950s), nobody really knows for sure where it comes from and who invented it. Several regions in Canada claim this honor, while some scholars believe that it came from the northern UK, where a dish known as “chips, cheese and gravy” has been known since 1900s. The etymology of the name is unclear as well: it may be a gallicization of the English word “pudding”, a derivation from a slang word meaning “mess”, with half a dozen other theories going around.
Maple leaf on Canada’s flag is not a coincidence – not only does the tree symbolize Canadian landscape, but also serves as a source of a typically Canadian foodstuff – maple syrup. Widely used in culinary, eaten with pancakes, waffles, added to oatmeal, it is praised by chefs all over the world for its unique flavor – which is all the more interesting because there is no clear explanation of the chemistry behind it.
Who would have thought? Canadians are perceived as a more of a beer-swigging nation, yet it didn’t prevent them from creating a delicious ice wine of their own. Unlike most other wine-growing regions, Canada freezes in winter, which is perfect for production of this particular beverage. By law, Canadian winemakers aren’t allowed to call their product ice-wine unless grapes for it were picked at a temperature higher than −8 °C and pressed shortly afterwards.
Well, not exactly. ‘Beaver Tails’ is the name of a fried pastry fashioned after the tail of the iconic Canadian animal. These are accompanied by an insane range of different toppings, such as candy, fruit, bananas, chocolate, cinnamon and many others. They are served warm and are sold in more than 80 locations across the country.
Cod tongue (or, rather, a gelatinous piece of flesh from the fish’s throat) possesses a unique appeal for the residents of Newfoundland. Like so many other delicacies, it was first eaten out of necessity – anybody willing to sift through the piles of discarded cod heads could have any number of their ‘tongues’ for free, and collecting them was a common job for kids willing to earn an extra buck. Today, however, they are now longer discarded, but considered to be a valuable foodstuff in their own right, cooked in a number of different ways and served even in upscale restaurants.
Long before the concept was developed by the food industry, the First Nations of North America have created energy bars of their own. Pemmican consists of dried meat pounded into powder and then mixed with cranberries, Saskatoon berries, blueberries, chokecherries and melted fat. The resulting mixture can be stored for long periods of time, doesn’t take up much space and provides an excellent source of fats and protein. Although the procedure of its preparation has been perfected in modern times, the recipe remains virtually unchanged since the time it first appeared.
A butter tart is a dessert that follows the general trends of Canadian cuisine – in the sense that its list of ingredients would give any proponent of healthy eating a heart attack. Your typical butter tart is a small buttery pastry crust filled to the brim with butter, syrup, sugar and egg with an addition of raisins and/or nuts. It is a sweet dish universally loved throughout the country, especially in the eastern provinces.
In Canada it is called pea meal bacon, but the rest of the world call this variety Canadian bacon. In fact, it is simply lean pork loin without bones brined and rolled in cornmeal. In the past it was rolled in ground yellow peas to extend its shelf life, and the name didn’t change since then.
Beer has for a long time been one of the most widespread alcoholic beverages in Canada, but local breweries didn’t do much in a way of direct innovation. One notable exception is the so-called ice beer. It is prepared using a special technology that includes freezing of each batch of beer and skimming the layer of ice, which allows for higher alcohol content while retaining the beverage’s peculiar taste.
Popular mostly in French-influenced areas of the country, the recipe of tourtiere has been perfected for generations since its appearance in 1600s. It is a peculiar meat pie, consisting of a crust filled with meat mixed with spices usually associated with desserts, like clove and allspice. Usually it is cooked for Christmas, but in the recent years it more and more commonly turns into an all-year staple.
Canadian cuisine may not be the most exquisite and health-oriented out there, but it still has a lot of charm and perfectly expresses the national character. And for those willing to go deeper, it has a lot of surprises. If you need to write in this field, we have ready-made topics on Canadian food and writing guide on descriptive essays. Using them you’ll be able to create a great piece of academic essay writing.
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Dojny, Brooke. New England Home Cooking: 350 recipes from town and country, land and sea, hearth and home. Boston, Mass: Harvard Common Press, 1999. Print
Eagleson, Janet, Rosemary Hasner. The Maple Syrup Book. Erin, Canada: Boston Mills Press, 2006. Print
Krauss, Clifford. “Quebec Finds Pride in Greasy Favorite.” The New York Times. Apr. 26 2004
Lawlor, Julia. “Frozen Vines (and Fingers) Yield a Sweet Reward.” The New York Times Feb. 25 2010
Morton, Mark. Cupboard Love: A Dictionary of Culinary Curiosities. Toronto, Canada: Insomniac Press, 2004. Print
Sekukles, Kate. “A Staple from Quebec, Embarrassing but Adored.” The New York Times May. 23 2007