Canadian Food

As we get ready to celebrate Canada 150 it is time to find out what is Canadian food. A few items on the list surprised even me. 

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/06/28/canadian-food_n_2869764.html
I used to live abroad and had Coffee crisp bars sent to me. I didn’t know they were only in Canada, eh?  Also liked Kitkats for dipping in tea and coffee. But they were more international. 

I ‘ve made Nanaimo bars and like extra butter in the second layer. 


Of course there are pancakes with maple syrup but I didn’t know butter tarts were Canadian. 


I have seen Canadian pizza on the menu even abroad.  It is often pepperoni, bacon, mushrooms and cheese. 

There is also Hawaiian pizza invented by a man in Ontario. It has tomato, ham, pineapple and cheese. Some people add green peppers and mushrooms. 


And California maki rolls may be Canadian too I read.  They have avocado, cucumber and imitation crab.  Guess we often don’t name things after ourselves. 

Our Chinese restaurants have plum sauce for egg rolls.  Not sure what others have.  It is not made from plums though.  Pumpkin I believe. 

The above Canadian food link mentions many foods from Nova Scotia though I would add we have one of the biggest blueberry crops. Also shrimps and scallops though they seem to be exported a lot.  Smoked mackerel is nice.  Australian  and B.C. visitors have raved about pan-fried haddock.  

I like Canadian wine and cheese too.   There are lots of craft beer and I saw people buying Canadian Iceberg Vodka for Caesar day today.  See a previous post to understand this yummy drink. I just found out that this vodka is actually made from pure iceberg water in Newfoundland. 

We try any foreign thing we can as well.  After all we have many immigrants and many people love to travel. Many cities have large communities of people from elsewhere and sometimes they create fusions or twists on things. 

But when I think of Canadian food I think of fresh and simple ingredients.  We used to have clam bakes and corn or lobster boils on the beach. All you needed was butter and salt to season.  Vinegar for lobster.   Mussels have replaced clams and are done in a broth but can still be dipped in butter or vinegar. There are seafood chowders preferably with fish, seafood and potatoes with a roll. 

Also when you get fresh beets, corn, potatoes or green beans you just add butter and enjoy.  Love fresh strawberries or peaches. 

This is why you won’t ever see Canadian restaurants abroad.  It is mostly fresh local food done simply. You have to be there to enjoy it and relax in the wilderness or small town or city preferably. You may even see some wildlife. 

See you for Canada 150 this year!

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Spring in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia 


      It was yet another warm spring day and I was taking a hike with my Jamaican friend who is still experiencing her first year in Canada. 


      It was nearly 20 degrees and she had fleece lined tights, boots and a heavy hoodie. I was hot in lighter, looser lounge pants and a light cotton cardigan and breathable sneakers. 


      It has been a nice April and things are budding. We spent nearly 3 hours walking, talking and sitting on benches.   

      My friend is petrified of animals, especially dogs.  Everyone and their dog was out that day with a dog or three. In some countries dogs are not so often kept as pets. 

      She’s even afraid of chickens which no doubt roam Jamaica more than Canada. She did grab my arm when she saw a ring necked pheasant running away. I had already mentioned hear their screeching call. I said that no one had ever been hurt by a pheasant. 


      I spotted this cute carving from a distance.  My friend also climbed the tree.

      She touched the North Atlantic for the first time and said it was freezing in April. I thought it was cold. Perspective. 


      A great time was had. She really enjoyed getting out of the city though luckily it doesn’t take long here and that’s one thing people like. 


      I’ve met other newcomers here from Syria, Iran, Turkey, Jordan, Colombia, Cuba, Nepal, Russia, Eritrea, China, Korea, India, Egypt, Vietnam, Germany, Britain and the list goes on. 

      At this time of year I salute new beginnings. 

      Check This Blog 

      The other night I saw Ryan Barry talk about his new book on 25 daytrips from Halifax.

      He also runs Great Earth Expeditions which does tours in Nova Scotia for now but will also go abroad.

      See also his blog: runningdownadream.ca

      There are many places that I haven’t seen nor even heard of.

      He said he had a client from New Zealand who was a geologist and came here due to the similar shape which means lots of diversity.  

      • NS has lots more than I knew.
      • Both places are interesting and very relaxed I can say.

      In the Greening

      Most recent trip to the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia where I saw my final uncommoncommonart.  Another great day.  If the summer hadn’t have been so dry the rush of water in the stream would have increased the full sensual experience.  

      The location was perfect and a wonderful end to the art and nature treasure hunt.


      This could be haunting at dusk and closer to Halloween.  It looked and felt  like an abandoned civilization.


      The above photos are of Gaspereau Vineyards first as seen after the gloaming. 

      Then Luckett’s Vineyards with their wonder views of the sacred Cape Blomidon.  They also have a British red phone box in the vineyard and you can call anywhere in North America for free.  Look for it in the first photo.

      It was too crowded for lunch that day but I instead went to Troy in Wolfville and forgot to take a picture of the vegetarian platter until it was too late.  Oops!  Yum and very shareable.

      See resto below-nice Turkish decor.   



      Luckett Vineyards.  There is some green in this pic.  

      Sand Dollar Beach, Nova Scotia


        A lovely day at this beach which is meant to be visited at low tide.  It is very shallow and warm.  I didn’t find any sand dollars this year but did last year.  The water feels soft. The place other worldly.

         Nearby is the awesome Rose Bay General Store which is store, restaurant,liquor store and bookstore.

        Uncommon Common Art 2016

        “Hunting for art in nature in beautiful, inspiring surroundings.  It doesn’t get much better than that.”

        Last year was the first time I found out about Uncommon Common Art and I was hooked from the start.  This is my kind of thing. Art and nature-yes.  Art in nature, nature in art-better yet.  The treasure hunt aspect makes it better yet.. A low tech to no tech version of Pokemon Go.  There is GPS and geo-caching but I just get the pamphlet from the local tourist bureau in Wolfville or Kentville, N.S. Canada and go.  They are available around town too and of course there is a website-uncommoncommonart.ca.

        I posted my finds last year in previous posts but I didn’t show you all of them as time flew and they were gone and I didn’t see the point of posting them after the fact.  They say they will be there from about June 21st until the end of October but I am not sure about the end date as I went looking on a cool late afternoon at the end of October for something and found nothing but a scary bird that flapped its wings and seemed about to attack me in the woods just a few days before Halloween.  I never did see what bird it was as I ducked and screamed.  So I would try to see most before mid-October just to be sure they are there.  The sound of crackling dead leaves underfoot added to my terror.  There’s a reason for the timing of Halloween.  A bridge between life and death.  Harvest of life and the end of all most of nature for months on end except the evergreens and year round creatures.

        This year I got a good start and by the end of July I ‘d seen more than half.  They have  been many hot and humid days this year but it has been fun.  Here’s what I’ve found so far.  It is fun to search and explore.  I love finding areas I haven’t seen before but some are in the same place as last year which made it easy.  It feels great when you find them.  A few times the pamphlet is a bit off and one doesn’t have sign but I found them regardless.  Enjoy!

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        As for food in Wolfville I have been going a lot to Troy lately which serves Turkish and Mediterranean food in authentic surroundings with a large patio.  I especially like the mixed mezze platter with lots of dips and pita bread which is easily shared to keep costs down.

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        To ring this bell you walk up a hill behind a house and get the added bonus of reading this poem.  Do you recognize it?  It was a hot humid day as they all have been this summer when I went on this treasure hunt.   The produce has been great.  I just bought some amazing corn, tomatoes, strawberries and blueberries.

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        I have seen most of the art by now.  This one didn’t have the usual blue sign at the site.  Luckily it was low tide as it is only visible then and a long drive to this one and the previous one.

         

          


         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

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        Rail Trail – Chester to Chester Basin

        I realized it had been six months somehow since I’d made any progress on my goal to hike the rail trail from Hubbards to at least Mahone Bay.  I had cycled it from Halifax to Hubbards.  But hiking it gave me much more time to savour things en route as long as those things weren’t insects which so far this summer haven’t been an issue.  It’s been pure bliss with interesting sightings mixed with just trees but time to think.  This section had some rocky sections which were tiring as my sneakers are thinly soled.  I came home exhausted this day though I had done over four hours and it was quite hot and months since my  last long hike.  I have already made Lunenburg though the last stretch was done by bike which was so fast with few photos.  I may do a bit more if I have time but I have covered a lot of ground recently.  It’s easy to do.

        Here are some highlights from this section of the trail in late June.

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        Duck  family.

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        This looks like an alien.

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        Lady  Slippers.  I saw many.  I haven’t seen them much for years.  Relative of orchids and supposedly don’t grow back for seven years if you pick them or so I was told as a child after I picked one.  Oh the shame.

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        Look for the noisy guy who gave himself away.  There were a few but I only found this one.

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        Loving the lupine takeover.  Everything has its time in the sun.

         

         

         

         

        June

        And what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days. James Russell Lowell
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        It’s June in Northeastern North America and this year we have had some warm and hot days before official summer begins.  It is hit and miss depending on the whims of the North Atlantic.  There will always be random clouds darkening the sky and fog mystifying everything just when you thought it was safe to sit outside.  The wind whistles at will and blows your books, newspapers and drinks right off of the table at times.  There will always be the weather and its whimsical ways.  Recently I have noticed multi-cloud days.  Skies with ribbons and reams of clouds floating off to nowhere.  Thousands of them it seems.  One riffing off the other.  These clouds above are far less foreboding than some I’ve seen.  Under a mackerel sky.  A sign of good times to come.

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        If you are one to challenge ominous weather you might just find you may win as the huff and puff often turns out to be nothing much but the sky doesn’t make you feel like being outside.  Just when it seems gathering clouds will yield up rain, the sun shines through   I should go out more often.  That said with official summer less than a week away it promises to warm up and be sunny soon.  That is when the Atlantic stops her fretting.

        Beyond that we are in the midst of the June bug infestation.  From time to time you will hear a twang on the screen or a bang on the window as one tries to see the light.  Open your window as I have finally done and hear one buzzing to get in.  No make that ten.  Seems to be a bumper crop this year (2015).  My camera seems to not be working or there would be pictures.   They are very similar to flying cockroaches.  Or beetles.  I didn’t think I would get a picture because of their nighttime routine and my fear of them but but I found one in the garage.  I wish I had pushed it out but due to what happened in the past I may have done something different.  This year which is a year since I first wrote the above we haven’t had so many and in fact many came early in May.

        Open the door and beware of being hit in the face with a buzzing brown bug.  Everyone’s nightmare.  Let’s go back to an earlier time.  I’m not sure how old I was but let’s say sixteen.  By then I had heard the urban legend of the girl who had gotten a bat stuck in here hair.  It was June and I had made the mistake of going outside for a while.  I came in to watch TV or something and it seemed to be at least a half hour later that I touched my hair and finally realized that one had become stuck there.  They can be motionless and sticky too.  I was instantly repulsed and fought it off.  Somehow I finally got rid of it as the whole incident was a blur that still creeps me out to this day.

        As I write they are buzzing at the screen and I pray for no entrance points.  I wonder how I will shut the window.   I turned out the light.  They are still there.  Why would anyone choose to have a June wedding?

        But let’s not forget the forget-me-nots that I saw  blooming on a recent walk in Reservoir Park in Wolfville. While most are light blue, some are also pink and white  There are many theories on their name.  In Greece they begged God not to forget them as they didn’t have a name yet.  In Germany they were worn so as not to be forgotten by their beloved.

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        There are also the lilacs.  Oh the lovely lilacs.  Many are purple but in my childhood backyard we had the white ones.  What white flowers lack in color they generally make up for in scent.  Mainly I see the purple ones and lately they have been ready to break out.  A backyard wedding with the sweet mellow scent of lilacs makes sense.  Just get away before the June bugs appear.  Lilacs come early to mid June.

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        This year there have been some very warm days but you never know with June  You can always count on June bugs, lilacs and black flies when the wind dies down.  It is tricky to get the right combination of elements.  What you can love is that it is only the beginning of great things to come.  It is a Thursday.  Sometimes when I used to go out I would pick Thursday night.   Busy but not too busy.  A decent crowd with a life who were just getting a jump on the weekend and were not out nearly every night.  You could beat the crowds and get a little pre-weekend cheer.  You look out and everything is lush and fresh.  Let’s not also forget lupines with their purple, pink and white stalks of buds designing the roadsides.

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        July and August are like Friday night and Saturday.  In somewhere like Europe many would tell you to avoid it during these months though I have been there then.  The last time I was mostly in Eastern Europe during those months so maybe that was a good plan that only happened by chance.  September in Italy wasn’t too bad and the pool at the hostel was already empty just like it would be in Canada.  In southern Spain the hostel was closing October 1st even though I had just gone swimming at the beach the day before.  Weather or not it is time to move on by then.

        Since crowds aren’t too bad and weather is at a premium I would definitely recommend July and August here.  There will be festivals and things.  You can still have beaches almost to yourself if you choose wisely.  Depending on the current you may even be able to get in to the water.  June is nice on the good days.  I saw people swimming in May though I’ve never gone in before June.

        But in June or late May you will also see apple blossoms which I finally saw at the end of my hike in Reservoir Park.  Around this time there is the Apple Blossom Festival complete with parade and a crowned princess.  This is a time full of hope and promise.

        But here Sunday which is September in my example is often quite nice with that melancholy feel of that day as you have peace and quiet and slanting sun but the sense that the weekend(summer) is nearly over and some things are closed or limited.  You can have a nice harvest meal at that time.  Let your weekend linger and savor the changing leaves and cool air signalling the end of it all and back to work and regular life.  October will be more chill and darker earlier yet with a smorgasbord of color surrounded by the constancy of evergreens.  The end has happened but it is pretty, spectacular and bittersweet.

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        I’ve been trying more Nova Scotian wines lately and I am usually quite impressed.  Many types are specific to this area only though they are beginning to plant more European varieties like Riesling or Chardonnay.  I personally am a big fan of New World wines.  Nova Scotia, South America and South Africa specifically.

         

        Annapolis Royal – Beginning of Us All

        http://samueldechamplain.ca/index.html#about

        See the above link about the Order of Good Cheer started by Champlain and the alcohol it has spawned.  I have never noticed it in stores but wasn’t looking.  I like the idea of the Order and how it started things off on a positive note.

        Port Royal began here in 1605. But many died from the conditions in winter when they stayed on a nearby island the year before.  Samuel de Champlain was here and founded one of the first settlements in North America.  As said he started L’Ordre De Bon Temps which consisted  of celebrating and feasting which helped them make it through the hard times.  Later he went on to discover Quebec.

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        Years later many are enamoured of the place. Engish, Germans, Americans and other Canadians have gone there on vacation and come back to live there full or part time.

        Today, May 11th there was a story in the Chronicle Herald about Tina Taylor who was brought up in Hollywood by a mother who was in Elvis Presley films. She found this place by chance and she and her daughter are touched by the place. Tina finds herself drawn there more and more.  She got it in the divorce.  Nova Scotia is like that. There have been other stories in the paper especially about this place causing people to pick up and move there.  People will say they have travelled a lot but this place has a special magic.  I could say the same.

        I haven’t been to Annapolis Royal for a few years but remember going in June when they have a festival of short plays. Many things were closed on Sunday but I had a memorable feta and watermelon salad at a corner restaurant that I have since recreated.  It was here and the menu board even advertises it with a raspberry balsamic reduction.IMGP1328

        There was bakery owned by Germans with many sports cars in the parking lot for some reason.001

        I saw Fort Anne but didn’t go there.

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        I did visit the garden. This area has a very good growing climate which is better than the rest of the province.

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        I also investigated Port Royal in nearby Granville Ferry the following year in July and saw  the conditions the original settlers had to endure.

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        People from everywhere have come here.

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        This is so how we picture early Canada.  So rustic and simple yet with a hint of romanticism.  The bare essentials and so esoteric.  It will be hard to pare down the photos.

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        I see things like Rhubarb Syrup written on those jars.  We have lost some of these recipes.

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        Some had a very simple life here.

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        Great light.

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        Go ahead and fall for the place like many have.  Nova Scotia has magic.

        Tina Taylor who was mentioned above said she has travelled a lot but Annapolis Royal really has her heart.

        Nearby is Bear River which is a small artsy place that has buildings on stilts. There are two vineyards in this area which I haven’t yet visited but hopefully will this summer. So much to see.

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