Taste Canada

Taste Canada (image © domesticgoddess.ca) Jennifer (Domestic Goddess) and Lyn (Lex Culinaria), two other Canadian bloggers, thought of this lovely idea to celebrate this year’s Canada Day. Here is my entry:

One of the things I love about living in Toronto is that it is filled with different ethnic neighbourhoods. The neighbourhood I live in was largely settled by Polish immigrants and there are several Polish delis on the high street nearby. We love to go into the various shops and be the only ones speaking English. If we travel just a little south, there are suddenly several Jamaican and Caribbean shops. A short bicycle ride away from us was settled by Portuguese immigrants, many of whom have opened churrasqueiras that serve THE best grilled food.

And not far away is a Korean neighbourhood with a wonderful Korean supermarket and several restaurants that serve absolutely delicious food, including my favourite: pork bone soup. A little further on is Greektown, Chinatown and Indiatown. Kensington Market houses many South Americans. There is Jamaican and African. And of course, there is Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese food available not far from us as well. In fact, cuisine of the whole world is pretty much available to us.

What we like to do on Canada Day is take a bike ride through the neighbourhoods. One year, we headed towards City Hall to watch buskers and join in the festivities at Nathan Philips Square. There were hotdog vendors galore and a French fry truck and soft ice cream. But I have to say, this is NOT my favourite kind of food. We continued riding and suddenly came upon one of the many neighbourhood parks absolutely teeming with people. There was an accordion playing European-sounding folk music and some people were dancing – nothing formal – just regular folk. There were old men dancing with their granddaughters; couples of all ages swaying to the music. And the food!! A charcoal grill had been set up and men were grilling whole sardines! The sardines were served with cornbread – Portuguese style that is dense and white and wonderful – I keep meaning to try to make that kind of bread! Those who weren’t dancing were happily stuffing their faces.

We got a plate of sardines and some of that wonderful Portuguese corn bread. We found two places at a communal picnic table; the couple sitting near us smiled and the woman asked if we knew how to eat the fish by placing it on the bread to make sure that all the oil would get soaked up instead of being lost… it was fabulous.

On the 1st of July , I will be working (!) in the afternoon, so we won’t be able to ride our bicycles around the world in one day to see, smell and taste what it has to offer. However, I will be home in time for dinner and we have decided that T will get some sardines on the 30th and we will have Portugese style grilled sardines and a big leafy salad to celebrate this year’s Canada Day.

And fresh strawberries with creamy sweet cream cheese (local, of course!) for dessert….

Happy Canada Day!

Other Canadian foods I thought of featuring: maple syrup, mustard, cheddar cheese, Macintosh apples…

edit 2 July: We used lump charcoal to grill the sardines last night. They were fantastic with a side of grilled red, yellow, green peppers and red onion. And a red leaf lettuce salad with simple vinaigrette and Portuguese corn bread lightly grilled made the dinner. I suppose we SHOULD have had Canadian wine but we chose our favourite Italian Sangiovese, “Farnese”. Local strawberries to finish the feast, of course. Jealous??

Read what other Canadians have written by going to the Taste Canada – round up
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  • Ana

    Well, I’m glad you liked sardines, Elizabeth. I love them too, in the any kind of Portuguese bread, not just cornbread, as I mentioned in my blog. This is a beautiful post.

  • ejm

    Thank you for dropping by and for your kind words, Ana.

    Yes, sardines are pretty wonderful, aren’t they?

  • Christine

    I don’t think I have ever eaten a sardine that didnt come from a can. You have made me all curious now.

    I miss living in Toronto. London doesnt have any of those great ethnic neighborhoods.

  • ejm

    Sardines in a can and fresh sardines for barbecuing are almost like two different species! The canned sardines are much much smaller and much more oily and fishy tasting, as I dimly recall. (It has been eons since I ate canned sardines. They aren’t really my favourite thing.)

    The sardines we bought are about 8 inches long. They are very easy to clean – it can be done with one’s thumb. I wonder if there isn’t a decent fish monger in London who would sell sardines, Christine.

    For barbecuing the sardines: we rinsed them off in cold water when we brought them home and then about an hour before turning the barbecue on, we salted them liberally with sea salt and laid them out on a tray and put them back in the fridge. There was no fishy smell at all – they just smelled fresh.

    We put them into one of those barbecue racks that can fastened and barbecued them over hot lump charcoal – about two or three minutes a side.