OTR Wk 4: ‘Culinary’ adventures on the road

Cogitation 43/220 Saturday 26 October 2019 How to eat right on the road? It’s both a challenge and a pleasure– with a dash of surprise thrown in.

Bites along the way

This “big enough for two meals” lemon tart came from an aroma- and eye-rich bakery near our rental apartment in the Hydrostone Neighbourhood of Halifax. In addition, we bought two samosas, again, enough for two shared meals, one paired with vegetable soup. I’d return to that shop in a flash; though grateful for the lingering memory.
In Fredericton, NB, we opted for an olives and feta cheese appetizer and split a meal of lasagna. Lovely!

Poutine finally found us

For a long time I’ve wanted to try poutine. On Tuesday evening at the Snack Bar D’Amours in Riviere du Loup, Quebec, we got (my) wish of a dish of french fries topped with cheese curds and gravy.

I had planned to order a double salmon burger to share, with a side order of poutine. However, at the order counter, I said, in English, we’d like to order a double patty “saumon burger” to eat in rather than carry out. Before I could add a request for a poutine side, the order taker/cashier pointed to three sizes of boxes. I pointed to the medium one. Oh, a box for regular fries, no poutine tonight, I thought.

My French is rusty, truly rusty. I didn’t know how to ask for a clarification of the order. Order paid, next customer up. Only when “the box” arrived did the confusion become clear. We got a medium-size dish of poutine, without burger. Only then did it dawn on me how “eat in” could rhyme with “poutine.”

Moral of the story: be careful what you wish for, brush up on your French language, and be grateful you’ve had your fill of poutine for a long, long time.

Poutine is French fries topped with cheese curds and brown gravy. It’s tasty, but can be too much of a good thing.

More about potatoes

I had never heard about McCains of New Brunswick until we stopped for gas at the Florenceville, NB exit. I asked the attendant about the Potato World Museum. It turns out that the local McCain family is the world’s largest producer of frozen potato products, with operations on six continents. So the French fry you may be eating in various countries around the world could be a McCain grown or contracted, and processed potato. This was a travel day so we did not stop to visit the Potato Museum.

The company also processes some green vegetables and juicy desserts and potato chips. We did make the most of a bag of locally-processed potato chips.

Annapolis Valley apples

In grade school I learned about the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia, home to apple orchards. Today vineyards have joined the fruit growing region. We did a day trip from Halifax and picked up some Macintosh apples at a farm market. Had lunch in the university town of Wolfville and circled back to Halifax on mostly scenic back roads.

Macintosh apples sit on the cover of a feature literary magazine in a Sunday newspaper.

Feeding body, mind & spirit in Quebec’s Eastern Townships

Apples were part of the fruit bowl our Swiss chef and B&B host Peter prepared for breakfast Thursday. The gourmet breakfasts included an omelet one morning and a ham, mushroom and green onion crepe on Friday, freshly-made croissants and homemade bread and jellies. Peter and Yvonne welcomed us warmly to their Ancestral B&B, in Lac Brome (Knowlton), home of author Louise Penny. We enjoyed breakfast next to a sweeping fireplace and rest in a beam-ceilinged room of this former 1840 blacksmith shop. Historic, homey, hospitable. Enjoyable stay.
Breakfast by the fire at Ancestral B&B, 1840 former blacksmith shop, moved, renovated and enlarged over the years.
That’s a half, I repeat, a half order of mussels with fries (Divers Nourriture). Marty had the eggplant Parmesan (Aubergine) and salad, some shared with me. Dinner was at Le Relais in Knowlton. We often split a meal or do only two meals a day on the road.
Cortland apples grown at Abbaye de Saint-Benoit-du-Lac. We also bought cheese and chocolate made at the abbey. We visited this monastic community on Thursday for their daily 11am Eucharist and The Liturgy of the Hours. About 30 monks are resident there today. One senses this place of prayer and work is filled with harmony and serenity. abbaye.ca
Abbaye de Saint-Benoit-du-Lac figures in Chapter 3 of Louise Penny’s 12th novel,The Beautiful Mystery. Penny was home last weekend for the Knowlton Literary Festival, but a week later she was in Alberta. Via Marty’s connection on Facebook we learned Penny returned to Knowlton the day we left, with a signed copy of her latest book, A Better Man, a library copy of which Marty had already read before we left home. Now I’ll have the book all to myself, maybe.
Knowlton and a few area villages make up the town of Lac Brome. The area finds itself incarnated in Penny’s gripping novels featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, his family and a host of colourful, lovable village characters.

Penny, Honourary Patron of the Knowlton Literary Festival, in the event brochure, said, “The history of arts in our area springs from our culture of inclusion. Of French. Of English. Aboriginal. Of people from far away places seeking shelter and bringing with them their own histories and stories and beliefs. Their own art and culture. . . . At the risk of sounding too much like a cheerleader, Quebec is like nowhere else in North America, and the Eastern Townships are like nowhere else in Quebec. Bienvenue, eh.”

Basking in it all

We’re basking in our trek, about to enter our fifth and final week, this one in Ontario. We’re spending Friday evening and Saturday with cousin Dale in Brockville, on the St Lawrence River.

The time away tops out in people contact, supplemented with galleries, museums, fall colours, foods, walks. Rich!

Thankfully, we’ve been able to cover 103.5 miles (167 km) on foot so far in October. Our Hyundai Ionic Hybrid has been averaging more than 50 miles per gallon (81 miles per km).

On Sunday we’re headed to Muskoka lake country, spending overnight in Orillia, home of the late humourist writer Stephen Leacock. For the rest of the week we’ll be part of a party of 10 siblings and spouses who will be sharing a large home on Georgian Bay. We’ll walk, take turns preparing the evening meal, gather round the table for games, share stories, snack, and celebrate a milestone birthday for my oldest brother, Sandy. The journey leaves no hunger unattended.

-John

8 thoughts on “OTR Wk 4: ‘Culinary’ adventures on the road

  1. Kaye

    Well, well, well, what a fantastic journey you are on! You have seen a lot on your adventures so far. Looking forward to spending next week in Wasaga. I hope Milou adapts to his home away from home.

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  2. Monty Williams

    Hello John & Marty,

    Enjoyed reading your food blog and learning about your culinary adventures. How funny that Poutine rhymes with “Eat-in” for the untrained Quebec ear! I have long wanted to try this Eastern Canadian comfort food because I have always been very fond of french fries and having gravy and cheese curds on top wouldn’t hurt! Had we been traveling there, I would have made the Potato Museum a priority and learned even more about the McCain empire. How interesting that they are located in Quebec.

    We have lots of families in our Senior Park in Florida who are from Quebec and New Brunswick.

    You are now coming back to Ontario and more familiar territory. Enjoy your family time and celebrating Sandy’s birthday. I’m guessing it may be his 80th?

    Monty & Ginger

    >

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  3. Karen Moshier-Shenk

    What an interesting trek. Loved all the food pictures, of course! Jeremy, Adam and Steve have all been now to Halifax and some of the other places you mentioned, although not as “in depth” as you were able to do by car,

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    1. John Bender Post author

      Thanks, Karen, for following our trek. Catching up with myself at the moment. And planning the next bridge, no, blog to cross. Best!

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    1. John Bender Post author

      How nice it would be to go traipsing on trails with you and Karen, again. Or, raise a cup to friendship. Best!

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