Invitation: Mmm…Canada – The Savory Edition

In early June I was invited by Jasmine (Confessions of a Cardamon Addict) to blog about “which savory dishes or drinks tastes like Canada to you?” This invitation was in anticipation of July 1st, Canada’s official birthday. It certainly was an interesting question, one I had often thought about, but usually in the context of: Does Canada really have a distinctive culture? Food is definitely part of a culture, I think. But as difficult it is to answer the culture question, the food angle is no easier.

I was born and raised in Québec, predominantly in the french-canadian culture. I now live on the West Coast of Canada, in Vancouver, a city with distinct Asian and East-Asian culinary influences.  Though I absolutely love that cuisine, and consider it part of my heritage now, I have to admit the first thought and taste that came to me when I received the invitation was my mom’s meat pie (tourtière). I also “smelled” maple sap reducing in a cabane à sucre (sugar shack), and felt the soft, sweet texture of maple taffee on my tongue. All, really, childhood memories.

Christmas time is a big cooking and baking period pretty much around the world. It’s no exception in Québec. Though my mom now lives in Toronto, I was really happy last Christmas to finally help her prepare a traditional dish, usually served in the winter: Ragoût de pâte de cochon (Pigs feet stew). I blogged about this here. Another traditional fare at that time of year is a type of quick paté called cretons.  It’s a nice little appetizer. Here’s the recipe:

Cretons à l’ancienne

Source : Jehane Benoît

1 lb minced pork, lean
1 cup milk
1 cup bread crumbs (or dried bread, finely chopped)
1 onion, finely chopped
to taste, Salt
to taste, Pepper
to taste, cloves, grounded
to taste, cinnamon, grounded

Instructions :Mix all ingredients in a saucepan. Cover and cook for 1 hour on low heat. Stir once or twice during cooking time. Store in containers. Can be frozen.

Thanks again, Jasmine, for this thought-provoking subject. Now, I wonder, to which cuisine will I turn to celebrate this July 1st?…

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