Baking in Saskatoon is back and it’s back with a bang. I will participate in the
The Canadian Food Experience Project
which was started by Valerie from A Canadian Foodie. Each month participating bloggers will write about a specific topic and post their thoughts and recipes on the 7th of each month. On the 15th of each month Valerie will post a recap of all posts for people to have easy access. I encourage you to chime in and post your thoughts as well. Either here, or on A Canadian Foodie or on the The Canadian Food Experience Project Facebook page as well as on Twitter with #CanadianFood.
We start out our Canadian Food Adventure with the First Authentic Canadian Food Memory. I knew the line up for the next year and already thought a lot about this post. But I had some issues because I was wondering “What is Canadian Food?” I have no answer as of right now to be honest with you. As a German I can tell you pretty much what German food is but Canadian food still eludes me. I asked on my Facebook page and here are some answers:
– maple syrup
– butter tarts
– Nanaimo bars- beavertails
When thinking back on my first visit I can’t recall that I had anything specific Canada. Frankly, it seems all very North American to me. Although I admit that maple syrup counts as very Canadian and is probably the first thing people from around the globe will name when asked about Canadian food.
Poutine is another one. My husband is a avid lover of poutine, even better if it’s sweet potato poutine. I has issues with it and only eat a little bit because I like my fries with ketchup and not soaked in gravy, I am not a big lover of North American gravy in general and I don’t like cheese (mostly).
So, then what to say about my Authentic Canadian Food? I guess I can’t even say it’s a memory because I didn’t grow up with it. But the other day at the Farmers Market I came across something that I count as just that: fiddleheads. This discovery just happened recently but I would say that it is, for me, authentic Canadians.
I knew about edible flowers and other plants such as dandelions (leaves for salad, flowers for honey) but edible fern was new to me. Someone at the farmers market suggested it and so I went ahead and bought them. This is different and unique and though some suggested local, I know that other Canadian bloggers have had them too.
A quick read on Wikipedia told me that you can find fiddleheads in northern North American, Asia and France. Who would have known? It seems to be something similar to our German asparagus, which also has a short season and is eaten with a hollandaise sauce.
Here is how I went about the fiddleheads:
I washed them in cold water to remove the brown husks and cleaned them as best as possible without unrolling them. Then I just tossed them into the frying pan with some oil and fried them. I added some balsamic vinegar at the end as it was suggested by a reader on Facebook. It did give the vegetable an interesting taste. However, it was fairly bitter. I also tempura fried some of the fiddleheads, which made them taste much better.
In hindsight, I should have read more about them before making them. According to both Wikipedia and Health Canada I should have boiled them, twice, before frying. The boiling removes the bitter taste of fiddleheads. Boiling is highly recommended because it could lead otherwise to some food borne illnesses. Luckily, we did not notice anything, so I assume I fried them long enough.
The lesson we learn here is that one should read about unknown vegetables before preparing them. Although, in my defense, I asked the farmer about them and he did not tell me that I have to boil them, even though I mentioned that I never had them before. Maybe a little note would be helpful?!
Next year I will be on the look out again and use them correctly because even though I made a mistake this time, I find them interesting and worthy of a second try.
Time to chime in: What is our first Authentic Canadian Food Experience? Something you grew up with or maybe something you encountered the first time you visited/moved to Canada. Let me know in the comments, on Facebook or Twitter.
The Canadian Food Experience Project began June 7 2013. As we (participants) share our collective stories across the vastness of our Canadian landscape through our regional food experiences, we hope to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity through the cadence of our concerted Canadian voice. Please join us.