"Canadian" seems to be a confusing category of food to define. This was brought to my attention last night at Taste Canada's Food Writing Awards and Reception. What was also brought to my attention was the appreciation towards it.
From the guests that attended, writers in the food writing community, to the chefs, influential personalities, and students, so many nationalities and cultures were there representing Canadian Cuisine.
Bacon, Maple Syrup, Salmon and Poutine probably come to mind when someone suggests "Canadian" for dinner, but in reality, over time Canadian Cuisine has been influenced by so many cultures.
"Canadian cuisine dates back 18,000 years -- the age of the oldest salmon fossil found in Kamloops, British Columbia. About 10,000 years ago, Canadian cuisine consisted of what could be hunted, gathered and grown."
Anita Stewart described on CBC's Homestretch
She also notes that immigration has had a significant influence on Canadian Foods. The result is a cultural integration called "fusion" cooking that is communicated through a multicultural array of cook books and blogs to teach and share recipes creating a strong and diverse food community.
Native to Canada: beans, corn and squash were able to survive Canadian winters.
Apples and potatoes were brought over to also withstand Canadian winters.
Immigration brought with it new ingredients, recipes and cooking techniques.
We learn to appreciate our heritage through many means. The variety of approaches to food preparation showcases Canada in a delicious, peaceful and appreciative way. The more Canadian culture we build the more beautiful the ingredients become.
Taste Canada Winner of Regional/Cultural Cookbook:
The SoBo Cookbook: Recipes from the Tofino Restaurant at the End of the Canadian Road
Lisa Ahier and Andrew Morrison
Appetite by Random House, Vancouver