“Canadian Cuisine is an amalgamation of ethnic cuisines and their cooking techniques. Canadian produce coupled with techniques drawn from different cultures defines what we do. We are at the whim of the four seasons which forces us to plan ahead in preparation for the loss of product at its peak. Using different preservation techniques from different cultures lets us learn and inspires us with new flavours that invigorate our palates”
“I think that the best way to learn about another culture is through food. To me, Canadian food means a new challenge, a journey through a multicultural country.”
“Canadian food, to me, is represented by rumtopf.
Rumtopf is a traditional German preserve. Its name literally means “rum pot”, it is a mixture of various fruits, sugar, and strong rum ( Stroh’s 54 is best).
To me, Canadian food is about Canadians adapting their backgrounds and traditional cuisines to the landscape, seasons, and produce of the country. In My Family, that idea is typified by rumtopf.
My grandparents immigrated from Germany after WWII and made their lives here. This included a hobby farm in Waterford, ON. They grew lots of vegetables and many fruits. My Grandma (Oma) makes rumtopf by adding different ripe fruit to the rum pot over the months of the year as everything comes into season and is at its’ best. I think this preserve shows what Canadian food is about: immigration, tradition, Cultural Influence, sustainability/self-sufficiency, amazing local produce, and seasonality”
“Canadian food for me is rooted in nostalgia - the change of season, history and it’s relation to the land, and my earliest memories of family. I think of the long drives my family took in the summer, past fields of golden corn, grains and patches of mustard waving in the wind, small road-side stalls selling fresh corn and berries bursting with the warmth of the sun. Summers consisted of discovery, walking with my family picking wild raspberries taking them home and making jam with my mum. Food for me is the coming together of the places I have been and the people I love.”
“Multiculturalism is integral to the culture we know and love in Canada. Why wouldn’t the diversity seen in our population apply to our cuisine?
To me, Canadian food involves drawing on the cultural influences from the people around us, while using ingredients from our surroundings and supporting our community.
Foraging and preserving with the seasons, and constantly learning - not restricting what we create so long as we are cooking tasty food that excites us”
“The freedom to express our own cultural identity and heritage though cuisine utilizing our local farmers and purveyors that represent the terroir and the best each season has to offer”
"I’ve thought a lot about what I think Canadian cuisine should be, but when I consider what dish should represent Canadian cooking it can only be one thing: pemmican. For me this choice is as political as it is gustatory since it provides a lens through which to view our country from a variety of perspectives.
Canada belongs to the First Nations of this place; it is by acts of violent colonialism that this is not so. Remembering the fact that our country was, and is, stolen from a multitude of distinct nations is paramount to understanding the nation that was built on the remains. Pemmican is a part of that heritage of oppression.
Although the dish is by most accounts Cree in origin, it is largely important for Canadian history, which is most often a very white history, because of its importance to the fur trade. There’s a long and sordid tale to be told about Bison in North America, but the take away for Pemmican is this: fur traders needed a stable high energy food that was portable In order to supply Europe with animal pelts. This need for preserved protein contributed to the near extinction of Bison in Canada, which in turn further impoverished First Nations communities that had become economically dependent on the pemmican trade, and could no longer turn to bison herds for nourishment.
Understood in this way it’s easier to see pemmican as a parable for the way that Canada has treated its natural resources and the First Nations communities that are the rightful owners of this land. Economic greed led to the collapse of a formerly well-managed ecological resource.
Pemmican is a simple dish meant to sustain rather than delight: A bison is killed and butchered, and then its flesh is hung over a low fire to dry until the meat is brittle. The meat is then ground into a rough powder and mixed with rendered fat, berries, and occasionally aromatic botanicals. This is a food that will last for a very long time, and as it is slowly consumed those eating can consider the process by which Canada came to be, and how we might better respect our natural resources and the First Nations of this place in the future."