Monday, June 19, 2006

Back from the Rock!

For those of you who aren't familiar with the Canadian Landscape, "The Rock" is a reference to Newfoundland. It's an island off the east coast of Canada. One of the most beautiful spots in the world. And the food is quite interesting. The wild salmon will explode in your mouth. The river trout is like nothing else. And Moose! The island is practically overrun with Moose. Luckily they are tasty. Moose are not indigenous to Newfoundland. A pair of them were brought over by a New Brunswicker years ago. Which I thought was pretty funny when I first moved to New Brunswick... Moose have no natural predators on the Island so they multiply pretty freely. I like them made into sausages myself. Caribou too. Caribou is a lot like Reindeer which I have had in Sweden. It's a nice meat, not to gamey.

My uncle has quite the garden. It's a very short growing season in Newfoundland and root veggies do best. He put up 80 bags of potatoes last year! Newfoundlanders eat a lot of potatoes. They are a meat and potato culture.

While I was there I ate the oldest egg on earth. It was from my grandmother's fridge, sitting on the door, out in the open for god only knows how long. I boiled it for 4 minutes. When I cracked the shell there was water inside, I have no idea how it got there.... And there were chewy bits that I couldn't eat. My grandmother is a depression era baby. She buys things regularly because she 'might' need them. She doesn't eat eggs, she bakes with them. And she's 85 so she doesn't bake that often anymore. But she has at least 24 eggs on her fridge door. I suspect she's like most of us, goes shopping, doesn't write a list and then can't remember what she has at home, so she ends up buying the same things over and over.

On the subject of my grandmother, back when she was learning how to keep a kitchen, there was no refridgeration. She seems to be under the impression that there still isn't. She cooked up some chicken breasts the day we arrived but we didn't get in until almost 11 pm. So they were on the stove in the roasting pan she had cooked them in. They were still there the next morning. I dared my mom to eat one... Which isn't very nice since she has MS and the last thing she needs is to be projectile pukin'. The next evening the chicken was still on the stove but there was one less breast. Mom and I had taken pizza over to my Uncle's while Nan stayed home... And ate one of the offending bird breasts. The woman must have a stomach of steel. Or maybe that is why she has developed diabetes, pancreatitis, heart disease and high blood pressure. We are what we eat! The chicken sat out for 48 hours. For those of you not up on food safety, nothing should ever sit out for more than 4 hours at room temperature. And some things are more susceptible to bacteria growth than others, like chicken. I use the 2 hour rule for chicken. It's never out, cooked, for more than 2 hours. And when in doubt, throw it out.

I once went to a wedding in Newfoundland where they made up the plates for the dinner at 11 am and the dinner was at 5 pm! I didn't eat the meal. They say "no one ever get sick" but then the next thing you hear is that "everyone over there at so-and-so's house has the stomach flu". Real stomach flu is rare, food poisoning is not. And the symptoms of food poisoning include chills, fever, dizziness. It's not just about the pukin' and diarrhea.

I'll get off my soapbox now. Just as long as you use your refridgerator properly...

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