The Canadian Food Project began 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 in our quest.
I joined the Canadian Food Project even though I am not a Canadian. Now before you decide to boot me out of the group, I have lived in Canada for 9 years. It makes it a bit easier for me to speak to this month’s challenge ~What is your first authentic Canadian food experience?~than most native Canadians. Firsts are hard to remember, especially when it comes to food. Food has always been a big part of my life.
I grew up in the Southern US, Alabama to be exact. Moving to Calgary was not easy for me. I moved for love…my husband grew up about an hour from Calgary. Though the US and Canada are neighbors, they are not as similar as many assume. From the “u” that I forget to insert in words like neighbours to celebrating Thanksgiving on not only a different day but in an entirely different month, there were a lot of things to get used to.
The first month (okay 6) I was here, I had a melt down each and every time I was at the grocery store. The aisles looked the same but every time I shopped there were many items on my list that I couldn’t find. Where was the cornmeal? Where was the Karo? I knew there were substitutions for many of the things I was looking for but 9 years ago, I wasn’t that proficient in the kitchen. I just wanted all my food from home! I tried different foods that were a part of the Calgary food scene but nothing stuck in my mind because I was too busy wishing and hoping for home.
November rolled around and I really, really wanted to cook a US Thanksgiving meal for my friends. I took the day off from work and made a turkey dinner with all the trimmings including cornbread stuffing and sweet potato casserole. I told everyone to skip brining anything because I had it covered. My friend Marlow decided she had to bring something. She didn’t bring any food (because she knew better than mess up my feast from home) but she did bring the ingredients for Caesars. I was completely perplexed by this drink.
Clamato? Really? Ewwwww….
I was NOT a fan of Bloody Mary’s and I could not conceive how mixing clam juice in to the mix could help anything. However, I had to try the drink sitting in front of me because I’d only been in this new country for a month and I couldn’t start offending people this early!
I took a sip. It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t great. It needed something. My husband said that he liked his extra spicy…that was it! As a girl from the South, I like spice. A few shots of Tabasco and some more Worcestershire sauce and it was a hit. I went from “Ewww” to “Yum”.
I would love to tell you that the Caesar made me see the error of my ways and that I stopped wishing for the flavors of home. It didn’t. Time, however, changes a lot of things. I became a much more adventurous cook and started to explore the food scene in my new home town, Calgary. I couldn’t tell you the last time that I had a melt down in the grocery store either. However, I can tell you when the last time I had a Caesar was….just this weekend.
Extra Spicy Caesar
- 1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 1/2 oz vodka
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 3/4 tsp Tabasco sauce
- 9 oz Mott's Clamato Juice original not extra spicy
- lime wedges and celery or pickled asparagus for garnish
- Celery salt for rimmer
- Rub the rim of a 12 oz glass with a lime wedge and dip in a shallow saucer of celery salt to rim the glass.
- Pour in the lime juice, vodka, Worcestershire and Tabasco.
- Fill glass with ice cubes.
- Pour in Clamato juice to fill the glass.
- Garnish with a lime wedge and either celery or pickled asparagus.
What was your first authentic Canadian food experience? Do you enjoy cocktails? What is your favorite?