Mention the term Canadian food and things that might come immediately to mind are maple syrup, poutine, and butter tarts.
Obviously, there’s a whole lot more to it than that, as Vancouver residents Lindsay Anderson and Dana VanVeller discovered for themselves on a 37,000-kilometre culinary road trip through 10 provinces and three territories back in 2013.
Funding their adventure (and misadventures) via an Indiegogo campaign, the friends—who met around a campfire in Squamish two years earlier—tented it and blogged along the way, documenting all the meals and fun they had from Galiano Island to Fogo Island.
They lived to tell the tale, and they do so with warmth and LOL humour in the just-published Feast: Recipes and Stories from a Canadian Road Trip.
The co-authors recall being “screeched in” in Newfoundland (which involves kissing a cod) and sampling narwhal and paqquut—a nutritious delicacy made from caribou stomach—in Nunavut. They drank coffee sweetened with birch syrup in Manitoba, discovered a Prince Edward Island farmer’s black garlic, and fell in love with apple-butter sorbet in Ottawa. Through their memories, you get the sense that they’d be fun guests to have over for a dinner party.
Ninety of the book’s 110-plus recipes come from people the two met during (or as a result of) their journey, while the others are the pair’s own creations.
Saskatoon chef Renee Kohlman shares a recipe for sour-cherry-and-ricotta perogies; Bryan Picard, of Baddeck, Cape Breton Island, contributes one for spicy haddock-and-snow-crab cakes.
The folks from Tall Grass Prairie Bread Company in Manitoba divulge how to pickle pumpkin, while the team at Lake of the Woods Brewing Company offer up their recipe for sweet-and-smoky blueberry-ale barbecue sauce.
Anderson and VanVeller, meanwhile, created dishes such as Eggs Galliano (their own spin on shakshuka, baked eggs in tomato sauce) and Red Fife crepes with sautéed plums. (Anderson wrote her Master’s thesis on Red Fife flour, the heritage grains being one of the country’s original varieties, now experiencing a revival.)
Feast is an entertaining read and a great way to get a taste of the nation without leaving your own kitchen. Even if you never end up making the chocolate ravioli with cider-braised oxtail yourself, it’s a valuable addition to any proud Canadian’s cookbook collection.