Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Traditional Canadian Christmas

I am absolutely delighted to have been invited to join the gang at Fatal Foodies. I love to eat (see official photo) and I am quite a good cook, if I say so myself.

I own a small 100-year-old house in the country in Prince Edward County, Ontario. I am surrounded by farms. A field (beans this year, wheat last) is on the other side of my driveway; I can see my neighbour’s two horses out the kitchen window, and when I sit outside on long summer nights I can sometimes hear cows lowing.

I have only lived here 18 months, and this summer past I put in the start of a vegetable garden. Not much, just lettuce and tomatoes, but I plan to expand the garden every year. The County (as we call Prince Edward County) is famous for farms and wineries, so in the summer and fall I can buy almost anything in the way of produce, eggs, cheese either by walking to a nearby farmer’s gate stand or driving a short distance.

The picture is of a flock of wild turkeys crossing the field beside my property.

I think I am the only Canadian on the blog, so I thought that just coming off the holidays, I would give you an idea of what we ate over Christmas. Probably pretty close to a traditional Canadian Christmas, if there is such a thing in this most multi-cultural of countries.

Christmas Eve. I made a very traditional Quebec pork pie called a Tortière, which I served with a big green salad tossed with cranberries and pine nuts in a dressing flavoured with maple syrup. For dessert we had butterscotch pie.

Christmas Morning. My brother and one daughter made pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon and sausages. The pancakes were slathered with maple syrup from the farm about 10 kilometres from my house.

Christmas dinner. I made two types of Crostini as the starter then we had a fresh, free-range turkey with The World’s Best Stuffing (TM), mashed potatoes, squash and sweet potato casserole (flavoured with nutmeg and maple syrup), green beans, and gravy. Dessert was left-over butterscotch pie, and apple pie with ice cream.

Boxing Day. (The day after Christmas is a holiday here). My daughter’s friends came to visit. Between rounds of cards and board games, I served a green salad and homemade cornbread to go with baked beans. The beans were special for me as I made them with navy beans I had harvested myself. The neighbouring farmer told me to help myself to all the beans I wanted. And so I did. I picked bowls and bowls of beans, shelled them all, and packed them into glass jars.

Total effort expended on harvesting and storing two cups of beans used for Boxing Day Dinner – about an hour.

Cost of two cups of beans if purchased at the store – probably about a buck fifty.

Satisfaction from knowing exactly where my food came from – incalculable.


LadyPI said...

Hi Vicky - Your meals sound delicious! Thanks for sharing.

I've always had dreams of living in the country but so far have only made it to the suburbs. Although we live just a short drive away from several farms - it makes for a great little country drive.

Happy New Year to you!

Gayle said...

Sounds so wonderfully cozy, Vicki!

What's Cookin Stacey?? said...

Sounds so good! I have never thought of baked beans, salad, and cornbread. Something new to try! Curious, is your cornbread sweet or savory?

Vicki Delany said...

Savory (Acutally I don't quite know. I don't think I've ever had a sweet cornbread). It's a simple recipe so perhaps I will include it in my next blog. V

Donis Casey said...

We'll have to do dueling cornbreads, Vicki. Perhaps we should ALL do cornbread recipes.

Lisa Hall said...

I want to come up for a visit! Your place sounds so peaceful and beautiful.
I recently met a man at a book signing who has meat pies on Christmas morning. He epxlained that his mother-in-law is French-Candian, and that the tradition came from her.