Canada is a multi-ethnic, restaurant-heavy country and to define typical Canadian food can be a challenge. The diet of many Canadians focuses on processed grain and dairy products, farm-grown beef and chicken, bacon, eggs, veggies, fruit. Canadians consume a large amount of salt and sugar. You will find a variation of cuisine when you travel around the country. Whether you’re craving a humongous burger and fries, a juicy steak, Oriental stir-fry, fresh seafood or even a German bratwurst; there are many restaurants to satisfy your appetite.
More and more Canadians are concerned about GMO (genetically modified organism), hormones and additives. Lots of people try to buy organic whenever possible. Vegetarian and vegan are on the rise. British Columbia is the most vegetarian-friendly province, with Ontario and Quebec not far behind.
Homesick for Canada? Visit Country Cooking and try out some of the recipes.
The 100-Mile Diet
Since “The 100-Mile Diet” was published, everybody started to talk about it and the local eating movement began. To follow this diet is basically eating local food that is in season, and give up processed food like factory-made snacks and sweets. Local eating requires shopping at farmers markets and at local farms for local produce. More people are starting to grow their own food and preserve fresh produce during the summer months.
Many people in Canada live off the grid and a long way from civilization. The climate varies between areas and the amount of gardening you can do, it depends on where you live. The growing season is very short in most parts of the country, so having a greenhouse to start the plants is a good thing. A garden area requires at least a two-meter-high fence to keep the deer out.
I always had a garden at my ranch, complementing my country kitchen, growing potatoes, bush beans, carrots, kale, a variety of lettuce and the like. We have raspberry bushes, black and red currants, rhubarb, herbs, plum, apple and cherry trees. No poison has ever been sprayed on my land.
I make my own jam and jellies, dill pickle, elderberry syrup and I dehydrate herbs, leaves, and flowers for teas. Kefir and yogurt are home made and used instead of sour cream.
Buying food in season is normal for me and I have the habit to read labels on food I buy.
No grapes and strawberries are served at my table during winter. Processed food and cans are used to a minimum. Our winters can be severe and often we are snowed in for days and we can’t get to a store. To have a large amount of stored food is a necessity.
When it comes to cooking, the Dutch oven is one of the main appliances in my kitchen, just after my Thermomix. What is a Dutch oven? It is a large and heavy cast iron pot, sometimes with legs, suitable for stovetop or oven use. It can be used for campfire cooking and is the perfect tool for slow-simmered soups or to bake a cake in. The new versions of the original cast iron are enamelled pots brands like Le Creuset and Staub. These pots don’t need to be seasoned first and are easier to maintain.
I am a fan of cast iron and I owe two different size cast iron frying pans, the ones made in the US, are the best and worth the investment.
Unique Canadian Food
The real, authentic Poutine comes from the province of Quebec. French fries with gravy and lumps of white cheese curd, the perfect unhealthy Canadian food choice.
Timbits are the mini donuts at Tim Horton’s and they come in many flavours. Take them out in a box of ten or twenty and enjoy!
Is there anything more Canadian than maple syrup? Canada is home to all kind of maple-flavoured candies, cookies and treats.
Kraft Dinner (KD)
There is no other packaged Canadian food better known then our orange flavored Kraft Dinner. Kraft Macaroni and cheese is somewhat of a Canadian national dish under children and young adults.
Small flaky pastry shells filled with a rich, sugary mixture of buttery. sweet baked cream and raisins. Yummy!
Originated in British Columbia’s town Nanaimo, these treats are made with a thick, buttery cream sandwiched between two layers of chocolate.
Coffee Crisps are unique to Canada. It consists of alternating layers of vanilla wafer and a foamed coffee-flavoured soft candy, covered with a milk chocolate outer layer.
Alberta is the country’s thriving capital of cattle ranching which leaves Canada with an ample domestic beef supply. Alberta-fresh steaks and burgers are often bragged upon. Canadian food at its best!
Rye is a grain that grows well in cold temperatures, making it a natural Canadian crop. The bread made with rye which you find in the stores tends to be light and fluffy, not the heavy kind you bake at home.
Don’t miss out on enjoying some traditionally smoked salmon. The salmon is cooked for hours in a special wood-burning “smoke oven”, just like the aboriginal people have done it for decades.
Canadian Beef Jerky
Jerky dates right back as far as ancient Egypt. In America’s Wild West, cowboys would cut strips of meat from a bear, buffalo, or whale, and hang them up to dry in the sun. The sun drying process preserved the meat and so allowed the cowboys to carry the strips in their saddle bags to chew on for many weeks while they were on long cattle trails.
Today, Beef Jerky is still a very desirable, traditional snack, that’s hard to resist.
Potatoes is another crop that grows well in winter climates and we have lots of potato farms across the country. Steak and potatoes is a popular Canadian dish. Potatoes are an important Canadian food supply and cooked in many different ways, fries probably the most popular.
Most Canadians (including me) consume apples more often than any other fruit
What About Canadian Drinks?
Canada seems to be more famous for its drinks than its food. Canadians love their juices but they also like their beer, wine, and liqueur.
The large selection of juices and soda drinks you find in the supermarkets will blow your mind. And there is the bottled water which can be found just about everywhere. Not every Canadian has access to a natural spring like I have. Water in the cities is treated and tastes awful and who wants to drink that, therefore people are forced to buy bottled water. And then there is the recycling… but this will be on another page.
Home brewing wine and beer are common in Canada. The wine supply is sold in kits and wildly available. In many Canadian cities, they have “On-premises wine making stores“. You order a batch of wine from a large selection. The wine is made out of grape juice and after four or six weeks (depending on the type of wine) you get called to the wine store and bottle and cork your wine supply.
With the high government taxes on wine and liqueur, this is an affordable way or wine drinking. And what’s better than a glass of wine with some real Canadian food!
Canada has a big market for domestic beer. Molson and Labatt dominate a large part of the market, (both foreign owned), but most major cities have their own local breweries as well. The largest Canadian-owned brewer, Moosehead Brewery, controls about 5.5% of the Canadian market.
Most of the Canadian wine is produced in the Okanagan Valley and in the Niagara region of Ontario. Chardonnay, Cabernet and Pinot noir seem to be most common here.
Ice wine is a delicacy and a delicacy in cold countries. The grapes are being pressed while they’re still frozen, which results in a very sweet wine, which is usually drunk for desert.
Bloody Caesar is a cocktail created and primarily consumed in Canada. The Ceasar is a mix of Vodka and Clamato juice, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce, garnished with a celery stick.
Rye whisky has long been the most popular hard liquor in Canada, with Canadian club and Crown Royal. being among the most well-known brands.
Ginger ale is a bitter, ginger-flavoured soda drink invented by a Toronto pharmacist in 1919. Canada Dry™ is the most well-known brand.
Milk In A Plastic Bag
This might sound wired to you, to buy milk in a bag. In eastern Canada, bagged milk is the norm, but not so out west, where we buy the milk in plastic jugs or cartons. Out east, the milk is sold in a large bag, which contains three smaller bags packed full of milk. All three bags together equal four litres of milk. When you want to use it, you insert the bag into a pitcher and snip off the corner of the bag.
Try out the Canadian food collection and special drinks when you visit us.
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