A love letter to Canada…

November 26, 2010 § 2 Comments

Take a look at the view from the window nearest to you. And now take a look at this:



Yeah…I know which one I prefer.


That, by the way, is the view from the deck of my aunt and uncle’s cabin, hidden deep in Ontario’s cottage country. I’m lucky enough to head out each year for Thanksgiving (no, not the same as American thanksgiving – honestly.)


And this a just a short note to say that, despite all its inevitable problems, well – Canada, I just fucking love you. So much. And not just for your beautiful lakes and howling wolves and the constant access to Tim Hortons. But for three very specific reasons.


Firstly: if you’ve ever met me, you’ll know that I’m, um, just a little bit of a coffee addict. It is in Stratford, Ontario, that I have found the (previously regarded as mythical) perfect cup of coffee. Not kidding. Not only the best cup of coffee, but the best coffee shop, best muffins and prettiest ever baristas. If you should find yourself in Stratford (perhaps on a Justin Bieber pilgrimage) then you owe it to yourself to head over to Balzac’s.



Secondly: one of the most amazing bookshops – Fanfare Books, again in Stratford. Russian novels handpicked by translation, graphic novel adaptations of ever single full-length Holmes book, feminist classics you’ve previously had to order and wait for, more volumes of Shakespeare studies than I’ve seen in Stratford (England) and a rainbow-coloured kids section? Pure joy.


Finally: Canadian breakfasts. Specifically, the full Canadian breakfast my aunt conjures up after a spot of canoeing as the sun rises. Just – just book yourself a morning off – go outside, get cold and exhausted and hungry and come home to this.

* Fresh filter coffee with cinnamon and maple syrup

* Grilled thick cut bacon

* Soft scrambled eggs

* Buttermilk pancakes – with so much maple syrup that it spreads all over the bacon and eggs, uniting your food into one heavenly mess of glory.


It will make you a better human being – I promise.


Little pieces of paradise (aka buttermilk pancakes)

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1 tbsp sugar

1tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking (bicarbonate) soda

2 eggs

2 cups buttermilk

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla extract


1. With a balloon whisk roughly beat together all ingredients

2. Heat a skillet or non-stick frying pan to a medium heat, oil lightly (an oil mister is your friend)

3. Pour on ladles of batter – cook until bubbles rise to the surface, flip – cook until risen – each pancake will take three to four minutes

4. Keep warm on a plate in the oven – then devour and feel better about the world

§ 2 Responses to A love letter to Canada…

  • Anna-Maria says:

    Agreed, on all fronts. By the way, why is it that adding buttermilk to any baked good makes it just blissfully fluffyyummycreamymoist? And hooray for all thanksgivings (still enjoying long weekend food coma from yesterday’s american one). Ok, back to firesides and pies. xx

  • cnlester says:

    I’m sure it has something to do with the reaction between the acidic buttermilk and alkali baking soda, but I prefer to think of it as ‘OH MY GOD BAKING MAGIC! I’M A WIZARD IN THE KITCHEN!’.

    Fireside and pies – is there anything better? My aunt not only made pumpkin pie this year, but also rubarb-strawberry streusal pie, lemon and raspberry coffee cake and nanaimo bars. You know that ridiculous line ‘nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels?’ Poor souls, who believe such a thing…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading A love letter to Canada… at a gentleman and a scholar.


%d bloggers like this: