Author explores Canada's relationship with food

Lenore Newman, author of Speaking in Cod Tongues, travelled across Canada trying to find out if Canada has a traditional cuisine.

Lenore Newman’s search for traditional cuisine includes tasting lobster poutine on P.E.I.

Lenore Newman, author of Speaking in Cod Tongues, travelled across Canada trying to find traditional cuisine. (Alister Doyle/Reuters)

Lenore Newman's cross-country journey to find Canada's traditional cuisine didn't turn up a set of dishes.

Instead, Newman, the author of Speaking in Cod Tongues, found "unifying themes" or "properties" in relation to food.

'A lot of blending'

"So, we draw heavily on wild food. We love seasonal food. We incorporate a lot of multicultural dishes and we have very strong regional cuisines within that," said Newman on CBC Radio's Mainstreet.

The multicultural influence is also part of the answer to 'what is Canadian cuisine?' 

"Cultures [coming] together to mix their food to create something new … There is a lot of blending," she said.

Newman said she was impressed with seafood in the Maritimes, including lobster poutine on P.E.I. (Twitter)

In terms of P.E.I., Newman noted the province's "excellent seafood," which included tasting lobster poutine in Charlottetown.

"Which is such a lovely regional take on what is probably our national dish," she said.

But Newman didn't stop there with unique, regional takes on cuisine.

Potato fudge

Her next P.E.I. experiment was learning how to make potato fudge at the Canadian Potato Museum in O'Leary.

Overall, she narrowed down her favourite dishes in Canada to pouding chomeur in Montreal and a piece of rhubarb pie at a diner near Saint Andrews, N.B.

With respect to the piece of rhubarb pie, Newman said it was the best she's ever had. But the experience of eating it was also a memorable moment.

"I just sat there and the wind was blowing by and the birds were flying around. And, I was like — 'this is just perfect,'" she said.

With files from Mainstreet