The foods we enjoy have a global flavour

When I think about what are truly Canadian foods, I usually find myself at a loss.
“Tourtiere,” a dish we often associate with Quebec, comes to mind. It is common to both Quebec and the bordering New England states, and often is associated with Christmas.
It is made with finely-diced pork, veal, or beef. Wild game often was added, as was fish and seafood in communities found along the coast. It is a meat pie cooked with cubed potatoes and often shredded onion and carrots.
Within the province of Quebec, regions often have their own special recipes.
Besides “tourtiere,” the other dish that I think of as Canadian is baked beans. But even that traditional dish finds its roots in Ireland, England, and France.
The British distributed their version of baked beans to all the Commonwealth countries.
One might think that “bannock” is a truly Canadian dish but, in fact, early writings from the year 1000 referred to the flat barley or oat cakes in Ireland, Scotland, and northern England.
Bannock probably found its way to Canada through the fur trade and spread across the nation. In North America, bannock traditionally is made with flour and a leavening agent.
What we consider as indigenous bannock was made with flour from maize roots.
In the southern U.S., “grits” are a staple. Similar to red river cereal, or oatmeal porridge, grits find its origins with native Americans. Often eaten with breakfast, it also is enhanced with butter and cheese to add to its flavour.
“Shrimp and grits” are a favourite throughout the southern U.S.
Grits often are cooked to make grit cakes similar in style to biscuits, bannock, or scones. Grit cakes are flat bread and are very similar to the oatcakes of Scotland.
I mention all of this from my travels to the Carolinas this past week. The Carolinas were settled by the British, as was much of Canada.
Scottish Highlanders chose the Carolinas instead of hanging following Culloden. Those early settlers to North America adopted local grains to imitate their traditional foods from the countries they had left.
Eating at small restaurants provides a glimpse into the foods of the regions. Just as you might take in a baked bean supper in Quebec or New England, you also will find beans part of the traditional southern fare.
As part of its history, the rice plantations of South Carolina were the major providers of export rice in the 1700s. Today, common dishes include red beans and rice.
Many of the dishes served as traditionally southern fare find their roots in the slaves that arrived from Africa.
In some cases, European nations imported back to their countries species from North America. The turkey is one such animal that was imported back to England in 1550.
Earlier in that century, Spanish conquistadors had brought back turkeys to Spain and had begun domesticating the animals.
Here in Canada, various ethnic groups arriving to our country have expanded the choices we find in our diets. For instance, we have adopted cabbage rolls and perogies from the people arriving from eastern Europe.
We enjoy the pot stickers who brought their cooking from Asia.
Today, the foods we eat and enjoy come from across the globe, and we have adopted vegetables and fruits that our ancestors never had encountered.

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