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O Canada! Food ex-pats miss when they live here, food Americans miss when they visit Canada

While most of the Canadian population lives within 50 miles of the U.S. border, they retain regional culinary traditions that don't always migrate across the border to the United States.

Canadian regional cuisine ranges from German, Ukrainian and Mennonite fare on the prairies; more Anglophile traditions in Ontario, British Columbia and the Maritimes; different First Nations traditions sprinkled throughout; and Quebec with its distinctive French cuisine originating during their fur trading period.

Foods considered distinctively Canadian, outside, is product rather than recipe: cold pressed canola oil, grass-fed Alberta beef, Lake Winnipeg pickerel and smoked goldeye, Saskatoon berries, caribou and elk.

What we know as Canadian bacon is largely unknown to them. Instead, they dream of peameal bacon and cannot find it here. Ketchup isn't as common for French fries, even McDonald's offers packets of vinegar for fries. However ketchup on a Tourtiere, pork pie served at Christmas in Quebec, is expected.

Canadian ex-pats living in the United States desire food they grew up eating. Locating a new Canadian product in our stores generates an excited phone call to alert other ex-pats.

Moderator Chad Rubel is an American journalist who is a fan of all things Canadian. Rubel wants Americans to better understand Canada through his blog Canadian Crossing.

Panelists include Judy Hevrdejs, a staff writer at the Chicago Tribune, who was exposed to Canadian food while living there. Beth Fisher an expat from Windsor who is enthusiastically knowledgeable about Canadian baked goods and junk food. Quebecois Patrick La Reviere and Erika DuFour offer the French-Canadian perspective.


Recorded Saturday, June 19, 2010 at Kendall College.

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