My First Memory of an Authentic Canadian Food Experience


Hello lovely readers.  How far back does memory go?  I can distinctly remember being four years old.  That is because I started kindergarten that year.  Now a days it is called junior kindergarten or nursery school but back in the late 50’s (yes I am THAT old), there was no such thing as these or of day care, for that matter.  Most Moms were of the “stay at home” variety, unless there were extenuating circumstances, such as my Auntie who was a school teacher because, my uncle passed away suddenly at the age of 27.  I was also familiar with a couple of Moms who were nurses and there was my Mom’s best friend who lived (and still does) across the street, who had a kindergarten classroom in her basement.  As a favour to my Mom, she invited me to join this class when I was four years old.

When I was three, my Mom give birth to my twin brother and sister and so the gesture was to give my Mom a bit of a break, as there was a distinct possibility that I was a tad precocious.  I still remember many of the resources that were in the classroom that assisted us in learning our colours, numbers and letters.  I also remember how the room was set up with long tables in a “u” formation and where the teacher’s desk was placed, in addition to the shelves that held extra fat crayons and pencils for little hands.

I love exercising my brain in  this way because as is often the case as your grow older, my long range memory seems sharper than my more immediate.  I am forever running downstairs to our basement pantry and then yelling back upstairs “Does anyone know why I came down here?”

I suppose that I remember my fourth year so distinctly because I loved every single minute of school.  Does it make sense that the most vivid memories are of things that you love?  My love of food brings clear images to me as well, but in even greater detail, including aromas and tastes.  My first memory of an authentic Canadian food experience was when my Mom and Dad purchased a 1/4 bushel of corn on the cob.  I don’t even know how much that is, but I clearly remember that a pick up truck arrived in our back lane and we were rallied around to unload, what seemed to me, an endless supply of cobs.  The truck had come from a farm in Morden, Manitoba where the long, warm growing season produces bumper crops of corn and apples.

At this particular time, there were seven people in my family, as Sister #3 was not born until I was eight years old.  Feeding seven people is no easy task on one income and my Mom and Dad were very resourceful.  My Mom canned and pickled and my Dad had connections in the food-service business so that he could buy “wholesale”.  My Dad was an agrologist and knew many local farmers and so it must have come to pass that he got a deal on this bulk corn.

I also remember that we were all enlisted to shuck the corn.  The twins were too young to help and so my hands were the youngest and not the strongest, therefore instead of the muscular task of removing the husks and snapping off the stock, I was in charge of pulling out the fine strands that sometimes remain between the kernels.  When the corn was “bare naked”, I recall that my Mom blanched batches of it in her “pressure cooker” pot and then after they were patted dry, she lined six cobs into each freezer bag.  The day was a hot one and in those days there were very few homes with air conditioning.  The continual process of blanching the corn, produced a very steamy kitchen, indeed.  By the time supper came around we were all “dying” to taste the fruits of our labour.  I also think that my Mom must have been pooped, because what did we have for supper that night?  Corn on the cob, of course.  Just…corn on the cob.

There was always a pound of butter sitting on the kitchen table as well as the salt and pepper shaker and I was allowed to dress up my own cob.  Perhaps this is one of the sources for my love of sweet and salty tastes.  The corn was super-sweet-in fact, I think that was the name of the variety that we had ordered.  When slathered with creamy butter and liberally dosed with a glistening of salt, well, I don’t know if there is a taste in the world that would compare.  I was allowed to have seconds.  In fact, I was permitted to eat until my heart’s content.  I don’t recall the exact count, but it was the greatest number of cobs that I have eaten in one sitting, to this day.

morden corn.jpg

Morden corn-my first authentic Canadian food experience. Here’s a bonus.  Sister #3 is preparing a cookbook of all of our family and friend favourites.  She has tested our Mom’s recipe for wild blueberry pie.  I told you that my Mom and Dad were resourceful and this included yearly family foraging trips for enough wild blueberries to freeze for the winter.  One year our car got stuck and we were almost stranded in the woods, but I leave that tale for another day.

My Mom's Wild Blueberry Pie
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Canadian
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 2 c fresh wild blueberries
  • ¼ c white sugar
  • 2 T flour
  • dash of lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • prepared pie crust
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425ºF.
  2. Mix together sugar, flour and salt, toss blueberries in mixture.
  3. Place in pie crust, drizzle with lemon juice.
  4. Cover with pie crust top.
  5. Poke holes in top with fork so that steam can escape while baking.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes at 425º, turn oven down to 350º and bake for another 40 minutes.

Kath’s quote: “Sex is good, but not as good as fresh sweet corn.” –Garrison Keillor


Love-that is all.




posted under Desserts, Food Products
8 Comments to

“My First Memory of an Authentic Canadian Food Experience”

  1. Avatar June 7th, 2013 at 9:52 pm bellini Says:

    When my parents moved to Canada from England they had never eaten orn on the cob. It was any years before we had it at our table.

  2. Avatar June 8th, 2013 at 9:47 pm Lyndsay Wells Says:

    I am a fellow participant in the Canadian Food Experience and I LOVED this! My food memory involved my grandmother and your beautifully written piece has caused me to think about her again. She had a little kindergarten in Winnipeg in the 1950′ s and my grandpa built an entire play kitchen out of wood for the children to play in.

    i am so excited to be a part of this and to meet fellow Canadians who share similar food passions, memories, and experiences.

  3. Avatar June 9th, 2013 at 9:24 am A Canadian Foodie Says:

    Dear Kathryne,
    What a story! We must come from a similar generation. I did kindergarten in 1960; born in 1955. It was called kindergarten, but they were all private at that time, not part of the public school system as they are now. Mine was in the basement of a nearby Nazarene church. Mom would drop me off, and then I would walk home with the teacher and other friends most of the way, and we ventured on the rest of the way ourselves. I, too, remember every detail of that room and many of the mornings I enjoyed there. Killed myself laughing at: I am forever running downstairs to our basement pantry and then yelling back upstairs “Does anyone know why I came down here?”
    Still laughing. How I can relate!
    Anyway… in Alberta, Tabor Corn is famous. The Peaches and Cream variety. Cannot be beat. I have a memory of my mom visiting me when I was a young married woman living in Southern Alberta (corn country) driving out to a friend’s farm to fill my trunk with corn to bring home and preserve for the winter. Alas, after the 60 minute drive (no cel phones in those days), the only fields we could find, were barren and completely stripped of their produce. She felt so bad as at 4 that morning, the farmers did their thing, and we missed out that year. We blanched the cobs, then cleaned the corn off them, bagged it and froze it… always in a little liquid to avoid freezer burn.
    How big would the pie plate be for 2 cups of berries? Sounds a bit small for my pie plates, but the recipe is almost identical to my Saskatoon Berry pie recipe. Never had a fresh wild blue berry pie! YUM! You will hear all about my reverence for Saskatoons this year.
    Big hug,
    (What else do I have to do today, now? Can anyone remind me?)

  4. Avatar June 10th, 2013 at 7:20 am Kathryne Says:

    Valerie, We are exactly the same age and likely have many more stories in common. This recipe would make two small pies if you were using frozen pie crust pies or one large glass deep dish pie plate.

  5. Avatar June 11th, 2013 at 11:12 am Nicole @ Culinary Cool Says:

    I share your love of Manitoba sweet corn. Whenever Im home in Winnipeg in the summer, Im sure to stop at the little truck thats parked at the corner of St. Mary’s road and the Perimeter and pick up corn and cherries!

  6. Avatar June 16th, 2013 at 6:52 pm The Canadian Food Project: Round Up One Says:

    […] are so fortunate to have Kathryne at Food Musings from Winnipeg and Lester Beach, Manitoba, participating in this project as she will […]

  7. Avatar June 16th, 2013 at 8:40 pm Sarah Galvin (All Our Fingers in the Pie) Says:

    I grew up with corn on the cob and loved it but it was never so sweet as the corn I ate in BC. I was a fully grown woman and pigged out eating at least 8 cobs. Sounds a lot like your corn. As for your blueberry pie, I don’t think there is a pie nicer than blueberry except perhaps for saskatoon berry. I like to make a fresh blueberry pie every summer.

  8. Avatar June 17th, 2013 at 8:12 am Kathryne Says:

    Sounds like we are knit of the same Canadian fabric…..

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