From being the home of Justin Bieber to doling out neon colored currency, it’s not totally surprising that Canada is often considered the “Miranda” of North American countries.
For those unfamiliar with the Sex and the City reference, our northern neighbor is one that lacks the respect it deserves. Americans are quick to note the differences between themselves and their Canadian counterparts, while identifying, with hubris, the benefits of living just south of the International Boundary.
However, in many regards, I find we are too quick to judge. The bright Canadian dollar is reminiscent of a simpler time (think Monopoly) and the Biebs has made a stellar comeback. Though it may be “too late to say sorry” for our past Canadian criticisms, we should move forward by recognizing all the good things Canada has to offer.
For just as Miranda had an underrated wit and strong sense of self, Canada has poutine and maple syrup. Beyond those, here’s more foods that we have Canada to thank for.
One the most Canadian of all Canadian cuisine is undoubtedly poutine. Originated in Quebec in the 1950s, these gravy and cheese curd-slathered french fries have taken many different names depending on their host region. In southern states such as Louisiana if you have a craving for poutine you’ll need to order “boo fries,” whereas in Jersey you’ll be having the disco fries. In Canada, this dish has so much national pride that a group of poutine lovers prompted a “poutition” to make it the National Dish of Canada.
Beating out poutine when it comes to food that has become synonymous with Canada is, of course, maple syrup. Canada, namely Quebec, produces about 75-80 percent of the world’s syrup supply. The maple leaf is also the symbol featured on the Canadian flag as well as the name of Canada’s famed ice hockey team: the Toronto Maple Leaves. So the next time you’re indulging in a big stack of pancakes, shout out Canada for the rich maple syrup that’s about to cascade down its sides.
Likely taking the bronze in most stereotypical Canadian foods is Canadian bacon. While many Americans feel the same love for bacon as Canadians do, this becomes a point of contention as the two are vastly different. Bacon, as we recognize it in America is cut from the pork belly, whereas its Canadian equivalent comes from pork loin. This leads to theirs appearing more like ham rather than the crispy, smoky bacon we’re used to. My personal thoughts on the issue: just eat both.
Don’t let the startling name of this pastry make you skip to the next item on the list. First imagined in the 1980s, BeaverTails are a fried dessert garnished with toppings of your choosing from berries, whipped cream chocolate etc. The sweet confection gets its name from its shape where it’s meant to resemble, you guessed it, a beaver tail. If you’re skeptical on how it tastes, reach out to President Obama. Yup, our POTUS couldn’t help but indulge in one of these classically Canadian treats when he visited in 2009.
Don’t fret if you also just had to Google the pronunciation of this Canadian dessert. Originating from, you’ll never believe it, the city of Nanaimo, these bars have been enjoyed since their inception in the 1950s. A no bake treat (yes please!) Nanaimo bars are comprised of a wafer crumb base topped with a layer of custard and chocolate. Canada, you the real MVP for this one.
You read that right, these impossibly cheesy and delicious mac ‘n cheese dinners are a Canadian staple. Canadian adults look to the meal with nostalgic fondness, whereas for kids, it’s likely one of the only dishes they know how to make. Regaled as the ultimate comfort food, Canadians are said to consume 55% more Kraft dinners than Americans.
Considered a French Canadian delicacy, tourtiere is a meat pie made with either pork, veal, or beef. Though in Montreal, the dish is typically made with ground pork, some chefs include all three meats. The dish is usually associated with the holidays and eaten at Christmas. However, zealous tourtiere lovers can enjoy it all year round if they wish. One suggestion: don’t watch Sweeney Todd prior to consumption.
What looks like an engorged blueberry but tastes like a cherry/grape/almond hybrid is what is known as a saskatoon berry. Containing high amounts of antioxidants, Saskatoon joins the ranks of acai and avocado as a fellow superfruit. Due to it’s health benefits, the American market is eager to get in on this fruity Canadian action. However, there’s been some love lost on this endeavor as American marketers are keen on calling the powerful fruit, “juneberries.”