Friday, June 7, 2013

My First Authentic Canadian Food Memory

The Canadian Food Experience Project begins today, June 7 2013! As we (participants) share our collective stories across the vastness of our Canadian landscape through our regional food experiences, we hope to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity through the cadence of our concerted Canadian voice. Please join us.

I am so excited to take part in this 13 month challenge, this is a wonderful opportunity to share my own Canadian Food Experiences.  I would like to take this moment to thank Valerie at A Canadian Foodie for putting the word out to so many Canadian food blog writers to come together to share their stories and experiences. This is going to be a great 13 months.

I hope you enjoy my experiences that I am about to share with you, read on for my First Authentic Canadian Food Memory!

Let me start by setting the scene… a log cabin, built by hand and heart, in the woods with an old wood burning cook stove. Some would call this very rustic or rough but to us it is warm, welcoming and so very familiar. The cabin is a place where we go to relax, unwind and recharge. There are plenty of quiet and peaceful moments as well as many memories made with family and friends as we gather together regardless of the season. And with any home, the kitchen is a meeting place for all and the cabin is no exception to this. I believe that it must be the warmth of the cook stove that draws everyone in or possibly it is the delicious meals that are created here, one or the other it really equals the same; a great place to be.

When I was growing up, we always, and I do mean always, had homemade bread. It even got to the point of store bought bread was almost a treat… I know it is hard to believe.  I realize now, after a few years of not having a constant supply of fresh homemade bread, what everyone loved so much about this fresh bread, what they tasted and how it made them feel.  It is so hard to describe but the best word that comes to mind is; Love.  This bread has always been made by my Mom and yes, I have the recipe but it doesn’t turn out quite the same. When Mom makes it she puts Love into it, I am sure it is the next ingredient that she adds, right after fresh ground wheat, patience and understanding.

There have been so many weekends that Mom has made fresh bread in the morning that is just coming out of the oven at lunchtime. There is something different about the heat from a wood burning oven and the effect it has on our baking, especially breads, the crust is crunchy but still tender and the inside of the loaf is so soft with an amazing crumb texture. If you ever have the chance to enjoy fresh, warm bread from a wood burning cook stove, I suggest that you stop to enjoy and take the time to find the fresh ground wheat, patience, understanding and love that has been baked into this loaf of bread.

You may ask; what makes this my First Authentic Canadian Food Memory? I could simply say that it's the Alberta grown wheat but that is really too simple. Instead I believe that it is the fact that I am a true Canadian and I am proud to say it. Nestled deep in the woods in northwestern Alberta in the Woodlands County, the cabin has been our rustic weekend home for so many years and it will continue to be this as our families change and grow. It is a place where many memories have been created and so many wonderful meals have been lovingly prepared and enjoyed in the good company for family and friends. 

This recipe starts out with local wheat that is freshly ground and finishes as a beautiful loaf that gives us so much more than nourishment in our bellies. It fills out hearts with love and our minds with memories that stay with us forever.


  1. As a fellow participant in the Canadian Food Experience Project, I have to tell you, I was nodding in recognition when you wrote about the home made bread, As a kid, we NEVER had store bought bread and my best friend's mom always bought Wonder Bread - a product I thought was the best thing ever! Now, what I wouldn't give for a slice of my mom's bread right from the oven because nobody made it better than she did! Lovely post, thanks for the great memory.

  2. Elizabeth....
    Please do share your mom's recipe. The old Canadian prairie homemade bread is so different and simpler than the sourdough and other fanciful varieties that artisan bakers present us with today. But, at the same time, so much like home. I completely get that. If you do have your mom's recipe, I would love to see you add it to this post, or just mail it to me. I am learning that this specific bread, and the prairie bun that my grandmother made is very regional. I have had them only when visiting the country and the grandma's are baking. The story and recipe must be preserved. My grandmother had a wood stove in her house... and a phone with a party line. Oh, my. I was a stinker and would pick up on the wrong ring and listen in. Usually, it was too boring to last for long....