Eating my way through the Canadian Frontier

Just a quick post to discuss, the new things I have experienced (or decided to avoid) so far this year.

Beaver’s tails, poutine and s’mores. Any ideas?! Believe it or not, food items! Beaver’s tails you shout, ‘Are you kidding me? An actual beaver’s tail?! As in this little guy’s tail?’

That is exactly what I thought too and most of all, ‘Argh, no I’m not eating that’ but a Beaver’s Tail is an Ottawa delicacy and actually looks like this:

It’s a culinary fried dough wonder in the shape of the Canadian national animal’s tail; the hardworking beaver.  These treats are stretched and pulled to look like a beaver’s tail before being fried with toppings added. Sugar and cinnamon are among the most common toppings but really, there aren’t many limits to the imagination here and can be savoury or sweet.

Next Poutine:

Another fried wonder! This may look vaguely familiar if you are a northerner. Basically cheese, chips and gravy. But the twist here, is cheese curds, fries and a thick sauce ladelled over the top. A sure way to add that much needed extra padding and insulation against the -28 degree temperatures.  This little delicacy originated in Quebec, spread to Montreal and versions are now available all over Canada.

S’mores anyone?

Experienced when camping out in the Candian wilderness at Charleston Lake, about an hour north of Kingston.  The s’mores are a typical campside treat and consist of graham crackers toasted on the roaring outdoor fire, with a heap of chocolate chips (chipbits, as they are known) or a few squares of choc melted on top. To finish, find any good twig, skewer with a marshmallow and toast on the fire until soft, place between the chocolate covered crackers and munch! Apparently they are called s’mores because the term derives from the contraction “some more”, evident from the way in which the campers devoured them like a hungry pack of wolves!

Butter Tarts: pretty much what the name says, a pastry tart case filled with, you guessed it, butter, sugar and eggs. Very sweet and available everywhere.

And the number one fuel for Canadian students?! Just as eponymous as pot noodle?  . . .  Kraft Dinner.  Ingredients? you ask. Hmmm . . . . best not to ask and I don’t think anyone could guess but this:

magically transforms into this, with the addition of water:

Behold, the paleness, the plastic texture, the strong smell of sweaty changing rooms. The time-honoured and adored Canadian go-to dinner for convenience. Fuelling the future generations of Canada.  Ahh.. doesn’t it make you proud!

This concoction is macaroni, powdered cheese, dried milk and a few chemicals for taste all beautifully packaged in a shiny, bright box. Don’t miss out on the Deluxe version (for those who are posh), which swaps the powdered processed cheese with a prepared processed cheese which arrives in a shiny foil pouch, allowing the sauce to be added to the cooked pasta at a later stage – marvellous!

Also, Ontario is the land of bagged milk. Milk does not come in a glass or plastic bottle but bags. I have to say, I found very confusing at first but once you have a jug (pitcher) you’re successfully on your way!

Common in Ontario is the beloved fry truck. There are two on campus which I am yet to try but I hope to rectify this failing in the next week and do a taste test! The smell wafting down the uni campus on a cold day can not be beaten. “More grease?” I hear you cry. Oh yes, the extra padding saves putting on extra layers of clothes to battle against the freezing temperatures. These trucks look  like our ice-cream vans, though they don’t play music sadly and instead of a line of small children desperate for a cold sweet treat, you usually find a scrum of 30+ students scrambling to obtain a burger and fries, for the bargain price of $3 before class starts. Many people then bring their well-fought lunch into class and needless to say the next an hour and a half you can’t concentrate because your stomach is grumbling from the tantalising aroma of fried goods.

To conclude on this whistle-stop tour of Canadian delicacies, I’ll tell you about a great Canadian hero.  Mr Tim Horton.  Boldly and bravely supplying the nation with coffee and doughnuts or timbits (bite-size doughnut balls).

His name is now so interwoven with the idea of getting coffee that people ask you, “Do you fancy grabbing a Timmy’s?”. Which at first was baffling but now like a true local I can reply, “yer, that would be awesome man!”

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