This summer, CBC Books and CBC Radio shows from across the country
built a culinary map of Canada Now there's a list of 5 books for each province or
region in the country.
It's up to you to narrow Manitoba's 5 culinary classics down
to the single title that best represents food writing from our province.
Vote on our own Manitoba cookbooks and win some great prizes.
Our own foodie expert, Mike Green, weighs in.
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I wanted to find the best Manitoba-based cook book this week. I wanted to find regional recipes that would blow my mind.
I wanted bannock bison wellington on a bed of wild rice, flax and barley dusted pickerel with a crab apple buerre blanc, pages upon pages of recipes that would utilize glorious Bothwell Cheese
and Half Pints beer
. But alas, I could not find these things in print.
Maybe the food blog has killed the cookbook, or maybe there simply is not enough interest yet in a cookbook that pushes this province's ingredients, but there should be.
Winnipeg often boast of its creative culinary landscape, of its ridiculous amount of restaurants for a city this size, but there is a yet to be a cookbook which reflects this.Great Tastes of Manitoba
offers a great deal in its title, and does deliver some regionally inspire items, yet the majority of its recipes are world
"Great Tastes of Manitoba" cover (Studio Publications Inc.)
cuisine with some locally sourced proteins thrown in the mix. DeLuca's
has a cookbook, as does WOW Hospitality
, but what I was in the market for was something that promoted homegrown, Manitoba raised products, that pushed this region's local bounty, that would make foodies from around Canada say, "damn, that Manitoba cooking scene is unique."
The most tantalizing book I found - and this more to do with the storytelling than the actual recipes - is The Last Crumb (Uncensored)
, a book created by Rheanne Marcoux while she was a student at Red River's Creative Communications program
The book is not so much a cookbook (although some simple recipes are within) as a profile of some of this city's most colourful chefs - an introduction to the people who are making your meals.
With a format similar to the globally popular My Last Super
by Melanie Dunea, The Last Crumb
lets the chefs tell their own stories about food, with a good smattering of vulgarity and humour tossed in. In its pages we learn of chefs having to adapt their cooking styles to suit a "meat and potatoes" Winnipeg audience, the love/hate relationship one gets from endless hours on the line, and the refreshingly open assertions that the customer isn't always right.
I've grown fond of Marcoux's book for several reasons: for one, I've interviewed a host of chefs
The Last Crumb cover (Rheanne Marcoux)
here in Winnipeg and in Vancouver, and while they certainly make for great interviews, rarely will they dish on record about their customers or suppliers (check out Chef Ben Kramer's dead rabbit story on page 17, it is fabulous).
For another, The Last Crumb
has added to Winnipeg's culinary landscape, albeit in a roundabout way: Chef Scott Bagshaw was canned from his post at Pizzeria Gusto
for the rather unsavory comments
he made in his section. The whole episode
was picked up as far as
the Guardian in England, who used it to further examine the whole bad boy chef image.
But this firing was our city's gain - you can still get an excellent pie at Gusto while Bagshaw has gone on to become the co-owner of Deseo
, what I would argue is easily one of the city's most daring (offal often abounds) and delicious place for small plates.
Finding a good meal in this city is not hard, but finding a cookbook which represents our culinary scene is. There's the rub.