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- The Indigenous Peoples.
The French and English introduced more ingredients. They also brought new ways of cooking.Canada’s traditional dishes have Indigenous, French, and English influences.
- They are Canada’s first cooks.
- They used more than 500 plant types for food.
- They grew and looked for many plants.
- They hunted animals in the air, water, and land.
- They used tools to boil, smoke/preserve, and roast their food.
Characteristics of Canadian cuisine:
- Canadian cuisine is not so distinct (distinguishable).
A Canadian prime minister described it as “a smorgasbord (variety) of other cuisines”. This is because Canada is one of the most multicultural countries in the world.Canadian food is Canadian because of its historical background. They are known by the local ingredients used to make them.Jennifer Cochrall-King, an award-winning Canadian writer and author said that:
- Indian food has a unique blend of spices and smells.
- Chinese food is known for its savoury goodness.
- Canadian cuisine does not have a singular flavour, texture or characteristic.
- “There is no single definition of Canadian cuisine.”
- “It starts with ingredients that spring from the landscape and with traditional dishes steeped in the region’s history and culture.” (As quoted from Herch, J. 2009).
Canadian dishes from coast to coast:
- Poutine is french fries with gravy and cheese curds.
- It came from Quebec in the 1950s.
- It is a double-crusted meat pie.
- It is made of pork, veal and beef. They use just pork in Montreal.
- This pie is always part of the Christmas feast (réveillon) of Québécois settlers. (The Great Canadian Cookbook)
- Some tourtiere contain meat or fish.
- Authentic tourtiere has cinnamon, clove, allspice and nutmeg.
Butter tarts (Ontario)
- This is a kind of dessert.
- It is made of:
It was made by the pioneers in the 1600s.People add raisins and chopped nuts like pecan to butter tarts today.
- pastry shell
Nanaimo bars (Quebec/BC)
- These are dessert bars.
- They are made of:
It has been popular since the 1950s. These can now be found all over Canada.Nanaimo bars came from England. Many people came to Nanaimo to work as coal miners in the late 1900s. English families sent these bars to their relatives living in the settlement.
- wafer crumb base
- custard-flavoured centre
- chocolate on top
Devon Scoble, The History of Nanaimo bars: A beloved treat).
Bannock – (Scottish origins, adopted by Indigenous Peoples)
- Bannock is a circular flatbread.
- It may be cut into wedges. The wedges are called scones.
- It is Indigenous peoples’ staple food.
- Hunters bring flour in their travels. They cooked it in an open fire.
- Bannock is eaten with various fillings like meats or jam.
- The beavertail is a flat donut.
- It shares its history with the bannock (Culture Trip Toronto).
- Early settlers began to cook bread in an open fire. It is the same way Indigenous people cooked the tails of beavers.
- They stretched the bannock dough mixture over one or two sticks. It had the shape of a beaver’s tail.
- Today, beavertails are deep-fried.
- They are topped with sweet spreads like Nutella, peanut butter, whipped cream and berries.
- Where to buy in MB:
- A store in Clear Lake
- Festival du Voyageur
- Winnipeg Folk Festival
Saskatoon berry pie (Saskatoon, the prairie provinces)
- Saskatoons or “prairie berry” look like blueberries.
- They have a sweet, nutty almond flavour.
- They are the sweet and nutritious filling for this crusty, flaky pie.
- Indigenous Peoples and early settlers ate Saskatoons.
- The berries can be enjoyed fresh.
- They can be preserved into “berry-bricks”. They chip a piece off for cooking. They are enjoyed over long winters (The traditional Canadian prairie Wild Saskatoon berry pie, Valerie Lugonja).
Canadian bacon (Ontario)
- It is also known as “peameal bacon”.
- It is known only in Ontario.
- Canadian bacon is a leaner version of regular bacon. It is made from a cut of pork trimmed of fat.
- It is rolled in cornmeal to preserve it.
- It was originally rolled in crushed yellow peas. This is why it is called peameal bacon.
- Peameal sandwiches are popular in Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market.
Split pea soup (French Canadian)
- It is made of:
Those in Quebec and Newfoundland cook the peas together with meat, carrots, and turnips.It was first made by voyagers. They always took dried peas with them because it does not spoil.
- yellow split peas
- soup made from ham bone or ham hock
Fish and brewis (Newfoundland)
- It is made with salted cod and hard bread (also called hard tack).
- The fish and bread are soaked overnight and mixed together.
- It is traditionally topped with scrunchions. These are fried, salted pork fat cut into small pieces.
- Sailors made this dish for breakfast. They used ingredients that could last weeks of travel.
Figgy Duff (Newfoundland)
- Figgy duff does not contain figs.
- It contains raisins. Raisins are called “figgy” in old Cornish (English).
- Figgy duff is a pudding. It is made of:
The first British settlers of Newfoundland and Labrador in the 1600s made this pudding.
- brown sugar
- It is a circular bread with a hole in the middle.
- Montreal bagels are fresh, handmade, and baked in a wood-fired oven.
- Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe made it popular in Montréal in the 1900s.
- The bagels were exclusively baked and sold within Jewish communities at first.
- They began to sell it in non-kosher grocery stores in the 1950s. (Montreal Bagels, Jules Lewis).
- Fans of the bagel eat it with cream cheese and smoked salmon (cream cheese and lox).
- They also use other fillings.
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Learn more about healthy food in Canada! Immigrant Centre has free nutrition classes .They teach cooking and nutrition for all English levels.
Food Matters Manitoba has newcomer nutrition classes, cultural food skills program, kids cooking club, and newcomer gardening projects.
Go to your Neighbourhood Immigrant Settlement Worker to know other free programs for you.
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