Canadian Food

After a week in Alaska, we’re back in Canada on our way home to Minnesota. So of course, it’s time for some Canadian food. Always good to eat local food when traveling, right?

I don’t know about you, but when I think of Canadian food, the first thing that comes to mind is is doughnuts. And lest you think the reason for that is because I am ALWAYS thinking of doughnuts, think again. According to the CBC, Canada has more doughnut shops per capita than anyplace in the world:

There are more doughnut shops per capita in Canada than anywhere else on the planet. Canadians eat more doughnuts than any other country’s citizens. Although the doughnut is often seen as an American icon, it has become Canada’s unofficial national snack. The popularity of the deep fried treats has to do with Canada’s love affair with coffee, reports CBC’s Beth Harrington. Coffee and doughnuts go hand in hand. And since coffee is Canada’s number one beverage, its partner in crime, the humble doughnut, ranks up there in popularity.  

On our first morning in Canada a couple of weeks ago, in Moose Jaw, SK, we noticed a long line of cars in the drive through of a fast food joint called Tim Horton’s. “Hmmm,” we wondered….”just what kind of a joint is Tim Horton’s to attract such a crowd so early in the morning?”


By the time we got to Medicine Hat, AB, our curiosity got the better of us and we pulled into a Tim Horton’s for a break in the drive. Sure enough, it’s a doughnut shop. They also serve soups, sandwiches, and some mean breakfast sandwiches. We grabbed a few doughnuts and got hooked. For the next few days of our drive through Canada, the first thing we did when we pulled into a town was to find the Tim Horton’s.

We’re back in Dawson Creek, BC now, ensconced in a motel across the street from the first Tim Horton’s we’ve seen since leaving Whitehorse, YK. Guess where we’re going for breakfast tomorrow.

Now, I wonder what it would take to get a Tim Horton’s to open in Minnesota. Probably nothing, since Krispy Kreme couldn’t even make it there. For some strange reason, Minnesotans are not big doughnut eaters.

For more on Canadian food, check out this great article (and slideshow) on the 50 “Most Canadian foods” in The Huffington Post, which includes such delicacies as maple syrup, french fries with gravy (!), bacon, and cod tongue.

Ok Canadian readers….this is your chance. What would be on your list of quintessential Canadian foods? Leave a comment with your answer.


Exploding Watermelons

China has had a rough year when it comes to food safety. Whether it’s cadmium in the rice, melamine in the milk, arsenic in soy sauce, or borax in the pork, it seems like we have settled into a cycle of ‘food-safety-scandal-of-the-week.”

This week’s scandal is exploding watermelons.  Apparantly some farmers in the south have been spraying their watermelons with florchlorfenuron, a chemical thought to speed up the ripening process.

It speeds it up all right — to the point of causing the watermelons to explode.  Right there in the fields.  Lots of western media outlets are starting to pick up this story (none can resist), but I like this one in The Guardian:

The flying pips, shattered shells and wet shrapnel still haunt farmer Liu Mingsuo after an effort to chemically boost his fruit crop went spectacularly wrong. Fields of watermelons exploded when he and other agricultural workers in eastern China mistakenly applied forchlorfenuron, a growth accelerator….The report said the farmers sprayed the fruit too late in the season and during wet conditions, which caused the melons to explode like “landmines”. After losing three hectares (eight acres), Liu said he was unable to sleep because he could not shake the image of the fruit bursting. “On 7 May, I came out and counted 80 [burst watermelons] but by the afternoon it was 100,” he said. “Two days later I didn’t bother to count any more.” About 20 farmers and 45 hectares around Danyang were affected. The fruit could not be sold and was instead fed to fish and pigs.

(AP photograph)

The next time I see a pile of watermelons for sale on the sidewalk, perhaps I should cross the street and walk on the other side.