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
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!
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.)
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.
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