'Feast' Authors Talk About Canadian Food, Recipes and More

Lindsay Anderson and Dana VanVeller relive their experiences while researching Feast: Recipes & Stories from a Canadian Road Trip

A spirited discussion around a campfire about what constitutes Canadian food ignited the idea of two friends taking a coast-to-coast culinary road trip across Canada. The results of Lindsay Anderson and Dana VanVeller’s five-month adventure are an award-winning blog and a recipe book, Feast: Recipes and Stories from a Canadian Road Trip. This unique collection includes delicious and intriguing regional recipes like Sour Cherry & Ricotta Perogies (Saskatoon, Sask.), Elk Burgers (Kanata, Ont.) and East Coast Seafood Chowder (Halifax, N.S.). More importantly, these talented food writers prove that Canadian food is “so much more than poutine and Nanaimo bars!”

“Feast” Authors Talk About Canadian Food, Recipes and More 

CAA: How did the idea of writing the cookbook come about?

LA: Dana is originally from Sarnia, Ont., and I grew up in Prince George, B.C., and we have very different perspectives about Canadian food, so we asked, “What if we took a road trip across Canada and talked to farmers and fishermen and chefs and cooks about Canadian food?”  

CAA: What was your favourite moment of the trip?

DV: Jigging for cod in Newfoundland. We dropped a fishing line 90 feet down and when we pulled up the line, we had caught a massive cod. The chef taught us how to fillet and cook it. That was a real treat.

CAA: What was your most unusual experience?

LA: In Alberta, we were invited by rancher Gus Janke to see the bison herd on his ranch.  Before we knew it, we were standing amongst animals that weigh thousands of pounds—slightly nervous, but placing our trust fully in Gus! It was remarkable to see such an iconic animal up close, especially considering they were, at one point, so close to extinction.

CAA: What surprised you most about the food you discovered across Canada?

DV: The number of foods we tried for the first time [such as whale blubber and reindeer meat].

CAA: What do you hope people get out of reading Feast?

LA: It made me appreciate our country a lot more. What we have here is astounding, from the food to our diversity, and I hope readers feel the same.

DV: There is so much more to discover in our own country, and I hope people get out there and explore Canada.

CAA: In your opinion, what are the three best places in Canada to travel to?

LA: The Yukon—the expansive, wild landscape is so beautiful. Everyone we met was incredibly passionate about living there and eager to share their stories. And the Charlevoix region of Quebec will make you feel like you’ve travelled to Europe, both in terms of its architecture and its food. We sipped apple cider, tasted Le Paillasson (a style of cheese that’s been produced there for the past 400 years), and visited a 19th-century flour mill.

DV: Newfoundland. We can’t think of a place more welcoming. Newfoundlanders are very proud, friendly people with a unique culture that extends to their food. 

See more from the authors at edibleroadtrip.com or @feast_on (on Twitter and Instagram).

Read our review of Feast: Recipes & Stories from a Canadian Road Trip in the Fall 2017 issue of CAA Magazine to learn more about the authors’ awe-inspiring journey. 

East Coast Seafood Chowder

Chowder is an iconic East Coast dish, and we were lucky enough to get a recipe for it from Kathy Jollimore, an iconic East Coast lady. Creator of the website Eat Halifax, this woman knows her city like no other, and she also knows how to cook. Once you have your ingredients assembled, this is a really quick and easy dish to put together.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 4 slices (about 3 oz or 85 g) thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion (about 220 g), diced
  • 2 stalks celery (about 150 g), diced
  • 4 yellow potatoes (about 400 g), diced
  • 3 cups (750 mL) fish or chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pound (454 g) mussels, cleaned
  • 3 cups (750 mL) whipping cream
  • 1/2 pound (227 g) haddock or any firm white fish, cut into large chunks
  • 1 pound (454 g) scallops, halved
  • 1 pound (454 g) cooked lobster meat, roughly chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped chives
  • For serving: baguette

Method

In a large saucepan, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove from the pan and place in a small bowl, leaving the grease. Deglaze the pan with wine and cook until reduced, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the butter, onion and celery and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, stock and bay leaves, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the potatoes are almost tender, about 15 minutes.

Add the mussels, cover, and cook another 5 minutes until they open. Add the cream, haddock, and scallops. Cover and bring back to a gentle simmer for 5 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Add the lobster and reserved bacon and simmer until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and garnish with chives. Serve immediately with a fresh baguette.

Excerpted from Feast: Recipes and Stories from a Canadian Road Trip by Lindsay Anderson and Dana VanVeller. Copyright © 2017 Lindsay Anderson and Dana VanVeller. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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