This is how much I know about Canada. It’s cold. And they have universal healthcare. The end. See you next week.
Oh come on. Can’t give up this easily. Sweet mother would disown me. I could list some funny statements about Canada. Everybody loves those. Little factoids to make people nod. Such as: Canada adopted its flag almost 100 years after its independence, which is fair because it would take me even longer to draw a maple leaf with bilateral symmetry.
Nah. It’s been done. Okay, how about something on how white Canada is, you know, the demographics. Well, Sweet Mother beat me to that one. And while I live in America, I’m not really American, so I can’t wax lyrical on the little differences between the maple leaf and the stars and stripes. Not in a funny, self-deprecating way. From me, it would just appear deprecating. I have never lived in Canada, and I get my Canada information from Wikipedia and How I Met Your Mother. I speak a little French—but I only end up annoying the Americans and exasperating those from Québec (Québecese? Québecians? I can’t say Québécois. Sounds fruity.) Should I write about a Canadian sport? How about a sex act that began in Canada? Like foreplay.
Such are the meager outpourings of my grad-school addled mind after a jiggling for ideas. Perhaps I could excavate some inspiration from a southerly direction. No no, norther than that. I mean my gut, which usually outstrips my brain in saving my ass; Let’s focus on some really Canadian eats and drinks. Here are some things I must try when I eventually go to Canada.
Poutine: I can never forget watching Samuel L Jackson and Travolta in Pulp Fiction take a bite out of the Dutch for drowning their french fries in mayo. I sat there thinking, “So I shouldn’t do it?” To my mind there was nothing better on deep-fried pieces of potato gleaming with half the gross domestic product of Saudi Arabia than eager helpings of mayonnaise. Nonetheless, ketchup it was from then on. But poutine—god bless the Quebec people—gives you fries embellished with cheese curds with chicken, veal, or turkey gravy on top. Suck on that, ketchup Nazis.
La fin du monde: Literally, it means ‘the end of the world.’ Which it probably is, because nothing turns a beer into an Appletini faster than giving it a French name—a feminine one at that. Why couldn’t they have named it le something? Le is masculine, le has a mustache. La has a bikini wax. Thankfully they don’t serve it with an umbrella and a pineapple. Although, it is a spicy bière blonde with coriander and orange peel essence. Who am I kidding? It looks delicious. What bothers me though is where in Canada is it hot enough for you to enjoy a cold one? I always figured Canada to be a bunch of people huddled in blankets sipping hard liquor and waiting for
Bryan Adams Celine Dion Justin Bieber to go away on tour.
Nanaimo bar: In a display of world ignorance that would grant me American citizenship, I assumed that a Nanaimo bar was a Japanese pub where women with anatomically impossible breasts serve sake with a slap on each cheek. Apparently, Nanaimo is a place in British Columbia. These are bar cookies consisting of a viscous, creamy filling which drowns a chewy graham cracker with bits of coconut and chopped nuts, sheathed in bittersweet dark chocolate, according to foodess.com. Looks like three layers of heaven to me. This after a few rounds of poutine will ensure I’ll be long gone when social security finally goes bankrupt.
Butter tart: Dear New Yorkers. You know how you have these cravings prowling through West Village because you were kicked out for demanding ten tequila shots twenty minutes after last call? This is what you’re hankering for. A petite pastry tart, you bite into its crunchy exterior to find a gooey, mushy filling of butter, sugar, egg, and syrup. Kind of like a pie but with a runnier filling—according to Wikipedia. Sounds like God’s answer to the munchies after too much Lafite.
Icewine: This thing is genius. They let the grapes freeze—something you achieve by simply waiting in Canada—so that the liquid remaining is highly concentrated, thus extracting a smoother-than-a-moose-fur-jacket dessert wine. Leave it to the Canadians to turn getting shit-faced into thermodynamics. Making it sounds pretty thankless. You pluck the grapes by hand at around -13˚C (9˚F). And an entire vine gives you about a glass of wine. Still, even a shot-glass-full of this grapey goodness might be just what the doctor ordered.
The more discerning of you might notice that I lean toward luxury in the eats. Consequently, the holidays are a particularly testing phase for my waistline. Nonetheless, these are the things I must try when I go to Canada. If some of these aren’t quintessentially Canadian or if there are others I must not leave the Great White North without sampling, let me know.