Oh So Canadian

In my last post I triggered a discussion on whether some foods have any business associating with others.

It started out with beets & burgers and wandered into pineapple on pizzas. Let me say up front that I am, and always have been, a pineapple on pizza fan. The tangy juicy juxtaposition of sweet and salty, fruity, cheesy tasty delight is perfectly fine with me. It’s a matter of taste, not nationalism that I like Hawaiian Pizza.

Which brings us to today’s topic. What do the following four foods have in common?

NO, as if Poutine isn’t a dead giveaway, they are NOT all gastronomical inventions from the US.

YES, as if Poutine isn’t a dead giveaway, they are ALL gastronomical inventions from CANADA

Hawaiian Pizza

The Hawaiian pizza was created by Sam Panopoulos in Chatham, Ontario. In the 1960’s Sam took inspiration from Chinese American food which famously mixed sweet and sour flavors. In his restaurant he started topping canned pineapple on pizza, setting off a worldwide discourse that continues to this day.

It even made political headlines in 2017, when Iceland’s President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson said that pineapple should be banned from pizza.

In response, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted: “I have a pineapple. I have a pizza. And I stand behind this delicious Southwestern Ontario creation.” Go Trudeau!

California Roll

The California Roll was invented by Vancouver chef Hidekazu Tojo who asserted that he was the first to create the inside-out sushi roll with crab and avocado. According to chef Tojo, the CA acronym (for Crab and Avocado) matched the short form of the US state and that was the origin of the name.

Some food historians disagree (all American by the way), saying the California roll was invented in California (of all places.)

Kraft Dinner

A little-known fact is that James L. Kraft, the founder of Kraft Foods and inventor of Kraft Dinner Mac & Cheese, was Canadian. The story goes that he stole borrowed the idea from a Depression era salesman who was selling macaroni with little bags of grated processed cheese attached. In 1937 Kraft introduced the first boxes of macaroni and powdered cheese to the U.S. and Canada. From there Kraft Dinner became an indelible part of Canada’s food history.

Image attribution: By cogdogblog - https://www.flickr.com/photos/cogdog/15618046301/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56970809

Canadians purchase 1.7 million boxes every year

Canadians consume 24% of the global production of Kraft Dinner worldwide

Canadians eat 50% more KD than Americans

We even have a song with a tribute to Kraft Dinner in “If I Had a Million Dollars” by the Canadian band, Bare Naked Ladies

Never heard the Canadian classic “If I Had a Million Dollars?” Here it is. You can catch the Kraft Dinner reference here but it’s a fun song, so why don ‘cha listen to the whole thing.


Poutine is a dish of french fries, squeaky cheese curds with hot brown gravy. It originated in 1950’s Quebec and over the last twenty years or so, spread in popularity across Canada and abroad. In the 1990’s it was known in New Jersey as Disco Fries and in New Orleans, they have a version called Cajun Poutine. Inexplicably, poutine spread worldwide, to the United Kingdom, Korea and Russia (where it was called “Raspoutine”) and to France where the first poutinerie opened in Paris in 2017.

Poutine is a dish best served fresh and steaming hot

… outdoors in -25C weather, after hours of calorie intensive exercise OR after consuming copious amounts of alcohol.

It is a dish most suited for the young, with healthy hearts and clog free arteries.

Mature adults can indulge occasionally with chasers of Tums and/or Pepto Bismol.

So, these are our thoroughly Canadian foods. Have you ever tried them? Are they available in your part of the world? What do you think of them?

By the way, if Poutine is not available in your world … it’s no great loss. Really.

Toronto, Canada. July 2021


  1. But why is it called Hawaiian pizza and not Canadian or sweet&sour pizza?! 😀 (Yes, I am aware pineapples grow in Hawaii and other warm places). I love pineapple on pizza, but I also grew up thinking it’s a normal addition to a hamburger, too (as well as beetroot, yum! On a hamburger though, not pizza!!)

    Liked by 1 person

        1. I think you missed my Flasnback Burgers post on Aussie Burgers ;;-) Beetroot and pineapple on burgers is definitely an Aussie thing. Even in the 80s that food combo never made it past the Pacific ….even 40 years later.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yeah I missed that post!!! 😆 will look it up. Finns love beets too but I’m the only one who adds it to a burger around here. It just fits so well!

            Btw, watched Bo Burnham’s internet song after you left a comment abt him on my post, quite striking and genius actually.

            Liked by 1 person

    1. Having grown-up elsewhere, I did not fully appreciate the importance of Kraft Dinner to Canadian kids. I learned it soon enough when my own kids came along 🙂


  2. I love the true Canadian food inventions that you have shared here. An Australian friend of mine recently sent my a link to an Australian site that was focused on selling Canadian comfort foods to Canadians living in Australia. The first thing items on the list were all US inventions (Pringles Chips, Kellogs and Annie’s boxed pasta).
    PS – Anything that swims in the sea or grows on a tree does not go on my pizza! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually not too surprised 🙂 We once sent real Canadian Maple Syrup to some relatives in France. They didn’t know what to do with it. They poured it in a glass, added water and drank it. Were not impressed.


      1. That is funny, I put it on the pancakes ,wanted to try it,it is good but I’d expected it to be better,do you use it for anything else?


  3. Hi. I’m a traditionalist of sorts when it comes to pizza. And I also have a hard time finding pizza that I consider to be very good or better. There are some pizza places in Philadelphia that make great pizza. But I’ve yet to find any in my part of the burbs.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s good pizza but only if you can get it fresh out the oven. Otherwise its soggy in the middle. Also very difficult to make at home since typical ovens cannot get that hot.
          I like light, airy crust with little or no tomato sauce, good cheese and heavy on the veggies. I make mine at home so it’s done the way I like it.
          Have a good July 4th Neil!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Sorry, no – I’m with the Icelandic PM all the way. Pineapple on pizza is a travesty 🤮 I’ve never heard of Kraft Dinner – presumably it’s some sort of ready-made Mac & Cheese? Poutine I have heard of but never tried – it may be available in the UK but I have to say I’ve never seen it, and we eat out quite a lot!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To experience Poutine you need squeaky cheese curds, so called because they have rubber-ducky type texture that squeaks (like a rubber ducky) when you bite it.
      As you can imagine, this is not Michelin Star fare … more Gastro Obscura!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh Sandy, I hear you loud and clear. Pineapple on pizza, not just the Hawaiin variety reigns supreme here (pardon the pun) I particularly like pineapple on the vegetarian varieties.
    As for some of the other dishes mentioned, I had best not comment.

    Liked by 1 person

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