(james benedict brown) on the road

Lasagne for Canada

Posted in Posts by James Benedict Brown on 8 November, 2005

Is it just me, or do Canadians instinctively do things in bulk? As if living in the second largest country in the world wasn’t enough to comfort them, when it comes to cooking in particular I am in awe of the Canadian instinct to prepare food in bulk, and then freeze whatever isn’t eaten.

Before coming to Canada for the first time in 2001, my perception of a freezer was a modest thing. A small cupboard just above or even inside the fridge, with some ice cubes, some frozen vegetables of questionable age and origin and maybe some unmarked ‘stuff’ in a bag that no-one has had the courage to defrost (perhaps this betrays my extensive experience of student accomodation?).

However, my first true experience of rural Alberta with the family of my dear friend Ryan introduced me to a shocking truth. Here, freezers are bigger than cars. In fact, because of that, they are usually found outside in the garage, next to the cars. They are usually of the ‘chest’ variety, requiring gas props to keep the lid open. Perfect for mafia-style disappearances. And just to point out… Ryan’s mother (who is not only an expert chéf, but also a prodiguous producer of food for the western half of the country) does not possess just one chest freezer. She has three. And they’re all full. Stocking up for a Canadian winter seems to be similar to stocking up for a nuclear winter.

Some nationalities take comfort in financial security. Others like to decorate their homes or make them look more impressive than their neighbours. Here in Canada (and yes, in Québec as well) it is a national instinct to hoard food in deep freezers. So this weekend, when Ryan and Jonathan arrived back on Sunday night to cook lasagne, I still naïvely expected to see a nice casserole dish being prepared, baked and put out for us.

But no. They did four. Four big ones. Four big mamma lasagnes. I felt full just being near them.

I am continuing to adjust to the sense of scale this country demands. Very slowly…


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  1. Cat said, on 8 November, 2005 at 22:27

    Came across your blog purely by coincidence and recognized you by your description, similar to the one you had on CL :) Small world.

  2. James said, on 8 November, 2005 at 22:32

    Yeh, I reckon there are only about six people in Montréal, so it was bound to happen eventually. Thanks for stopping by :)

    *j* x

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