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Tastes of home

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By Elizabeth Bridge, CBC Digital Archives

Knowing my roots in Winnipeg are deep, my boss recently called my attention to an ad in the Jewish Tribune (page 12, bottom right). It was for Nostalgia Foods, an outfit that will source, process and package virtually any taste from the 'Peg and ship it to homesick exiles across North America.

cinbuns.jpg
Cinnamon buns from Winnipeg's Tall Grass Prairie Bakery: worth a special trip.
(Photo: Tall Grass Prairie Bakery)

There are a few delicious things I'll make a special trip for when I visit family in Winnipeg, whole-wheat cinnamon buns from Tall Grass Prairie Bakery chief among them. And I was thrilled when Old Dutch potato chips became readily available in Toronto supermarkets. But there would have to be legions of Winnipeggers with insatiable cravings to make this venture worthwhile. Who else would pay almost $80 for overnight delivery of a Jeanne's cake? (For the uninitiated, Jeanne's Bakery is famous within city borders for its rectangular cake with tooth-achingly sweet icing and a shortbread base. I'll just say it isn't for me.)

Any ex-Winnipegger, gone four months or 40 years, will recognize the restaurants on Nostalgia Foods' roster. While some of the foods are indeed unique to the city — smoked goldeye, City Bread, Morden's chocolates — others are standard Italian, Ukrainian or delicatessen fare that one can expect to find in any Canadian city. And while I love the Goog Special (a blueberry/hot fudge/ice cream concoction) from the Bridge Drive-In, it would never occur to me to have one shipped to me. It's just one of those things that makes a trip back to Peg City that much more sweet.

What are some of the special tastes of your hometown? And how far would you go to recapture them?

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Comments

Donna Pedersen

Rosser

I would miss having a Salisbury Nip and their "to die for" Red Velvet Cake.

Posted June 12, 2009 11:52 AM

Kate

Calgary

Auntie Crae's in St. John's is a bakery/deli/specialty grocery store. We used to eat lunch there in jr. high (fifty cent roll, still hot from the oven, fifty-five cent "meat pack" with 3 slices of salami and 1 of cheese, ten cent Miracle Whip and a knife to compose it all), and I go there every time I'm home.

My Dad is comping to visit and staunchly refused to put meat-packs in his carry-on, but I did talk him in to bringing me some Plantation Chews (world's best cookie, made with coconut and walnuts - I've never found anything else that resembles it)- if anyone has the recipe, please please please fire it my way!

Posted June 12, 2009 09:39 PM

Jennifer

Toronto

Growing up there was a certain North Toronto Chinese restaurant that had great Peking Duck. I won't mention the name because the quality there has since declined.

After a particularly disappointing experience there one day, I endevoured to recreate this 'duck of my youth' at home.

The process involved a duck with head on, a bicycle pump, fan... and a full day's work.

It was a bold effort - but just not the same!

Posted June 15, 2009 11:14 AM

ll

There is nothing like a montreal bagel just out if the oven that still so hot that it burns ur fingers to hold it.. it crispy on the outside and light like air on the inside.... Yummmmm no cream cheese needed :)

Posted June 15, 2009 01:39 PM

K

TO

Speaking of winnipeg, don't you want an eight pound burger from Blondie's? (ew!) I never got the Jeanne's cakes thing either, it is definitely not for me! However, a nip would be great, or a meal from Superboy's, OR dried sechuan beef from "The Plaza" restaurant on Watt, or ginger creme brulee from Edo Hei...hmmm I could go on and on. I think I will be using this service! Thanks for informing us expats who miss our favourite dishes!

Posted June 18, 2009 08:12 AM

Irene

Ontario

Lovers of Old Dutch chips BEWARE and read the label. The bags sold in Toronto all say "Product of USA" at the bottom, under the story about being a Winnipeg original. They don't taste like the real Old Dutch did either.

Posted July 19, 2009 04:25 PM

Nelly

Vancouver

As a Winnipeger living out of Winnipeg for about 3 years now, i'd have to say that the goog special hasn't left my mind for more than a week at a time! What a lovely city.

Posted July 21, 2009 02:36 PM

Lori

Toronto

I was pretty thrilled when the Old Dutch snack in the windmill pack came to Toronto, too, and while I'm nostalgic for the twin bags in the cardboard box, I'm happy to forego the extra packaging.
So far I haven't found a Toronto equivalent for The Pancake House's German Apple Pancake, and am slowly making my way through the breads offered by Dimpflemeier in an effort to find "City Rye".
Both Gunn's Bakery AND Tall Grass Prairie make hard-to-match Cinnamon Buns...but I'm keen to hear where in the GTA I should look!

Posted November 23, 2009 07:30 PM

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From trends and culture to politics and nutrition, Food Bytes serves up tasty tidbits about food and the issues surrounding it that flavour our everyday lives.

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Amber Hildebrandt Amber Hildebrandt writes for CBCNews.ca in Toronto. Growing up on a farm in Manitoba, she acquired an insatiable appetite, but it was during a stint in Japan that she developed her discerning tastebuds and "foodie" ways.

Andrea Chiu Andrea Chiu is an associate producer at CBC Radio Digital. Though she loves to eat, cook and discuss food, don't ask her to bake. It never turns out well. She tweets as @TOfoodie on Twitter and organizes food and wine events in Toronto called FoodieMeet.

Tara Kimura Tara Kimura is the consumer life reporter for CBCNews.ca, covering a wide range of issues that range from rising food costs and the growing organic movement, to new trends in the marketplace.

Andree Lau Andree Lau is a CBC web reporter in Calgary. Her journalism career includes seven years as a CBC-TV reporter. Her own blog called "are you gonna eat that?" chronicles her eating adventures (including sampling snake and camel hoof tendon).

Jessica Wong Jessica Wong is a CBCNews.ca writer who loves to eat and cook, as well as discuss, read and watch programming about food, sometimes all at once.

Kevin Yarr Kevin Yarr, CBCNews.ca's writer in Prince Edward Island, wrote about food and beer for national and regional magazines before joining the CBC. He acquired a desire for new tastes on his first trip to Europe, and an appreciation of eating locally and in season when he finally settled down on P.E.I.

Elizabeth Bridge Elizabeth Bridge is a writer with the CBC Digital Archives in Toronto. She first ventured into the kitchen as a child to indulge a sweet tooth by baking cookies and making fudge. A student budget compelled her to be a vegetarian (for a while) and instilled in her an ongoing curiosity about food and cooking.

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