The Canadian Experience

Ojibwe woman tapping for maple syrup

Ojibwe woman tapping for maple syrup

Canadian cuisine varies widely across the country, the earliest foods having First Nations, English, Scottish and French roots. Subsequent waves of immigration from Central, Southern, and Eastern Europe, South Asia, East Asia during the 19th and 20th centuries profitably augmented these earlier roots.

Shoulder Of MuttonBut many believe that, like America, there is no exact definition of Canadian cuisine, that it is more of a smorgasbord than a stew pot of all the immigrant cuisines.

Dishes may be identified as Canadian due to the ingredients used or the origin of their inception but the actual style is more difficult to define due to the large numbers of cultures that have influenced it.

Party SandwichOthers believe that Canadian cuisine should reflect Canadian ingredients, locally sourced, that thrive in the Canadian climate and that though shaped and impacted by extensive immigration, with the types of foods and from different regions and periods of Canada reflecting this immigration.

The traditional aboriginal cuisine of Canada was based on a mixture of PS1wild game, foraged foods, and farmed agricultural products.

401px-Canadian_WhiteEach region of Canada with its own First Nations and Inuit people used their local resources and own food preparation techniques for their cuisines.

PancakesPS2Maple syrup (see above) is one of the most commonly eaten Canadian foods of Aboriginal origins.

Tuna FrittersTurkeyIn most of the Canadian West Coast and Pacific Northwest, Pacific salmon was an important food resource to the First Nations peoples, along with certain marine mammals.

Salmon were consumed fresh when spawning or smoked dry to create a jerky-like food that can being stored year-round.

The latter food is commonly known and sold as salmon jerky

Meat & PoultryIn the arctic, Inuit traditionally survived on a diet consisting of land and marine mammals, fish, and foraged plant products. Meats were consumed fresh but also often prepared, cached, and allowed to fermented into igunaq or kiviak.


Muktuk / Mattak

These fermented meats have the consistency and smell of certain soft aged cheeses. Snacks such as muktuk, which consist of whale skin and blubber is eaten plain, though sometimes dipped in soy sauce.

Chunks of muktuk are sliced with an ulu prior to or during consumption.

Foods such as bannock, popular with First Nations and Inuit, reflect the historic exchange of these cultures with Scottish fur traders, who brought with them new ingredients and foods.

Salads800px-Inuit_bannockCommon contemporary consumption of bannock (left), powdered milk, and bologna by aboriginal Canadians reflects the legacy of Canadian colonialism in the prohibition of hunting and fishing, and the institutional food rations provided to Indian reserves

Coconut PieDue to similarities in treatment under colonialism, many Native American communities throughout the continent consume similar food items with some emphasis on local ingredients.

A bit harsh on the Brits, the French, the Germans and the Scandinavians as a whole but in many ways we do deserve it.

But did it really do any lasting harm? Best ask the Americans I suppose!

Nanaimo Bar

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