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eG Foodblog: Peter the eater - Nova Scotia Eats


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Good morning!

Here are the two teasers hints from Friday:

gallery_28661_4647_20158.jpg

gallery_28661_4647_56408.jpg

Good guessing, this is Atlantic Canada.

Looking left from the above vantage point you see a fairly well known Canadian landmark:

gallery_28661_4647_33384.jpg

This is the lighthouse at Peggy's Cove (its also a post office) as it appeared a few months ago.

I have to say I am really pleased and excited to be doing an eGullet foodblog. It’s a new experience for me and I’m not so sure how it’s going to unfold – which is a big part of the appeal. The past blogs that I have seen are fascinating to me; to get such a candid look into somebody else’s food routine as it goes down so far away is totally compelling. I am just going to “share as I go” and hopefully reveal something interesting or authentic about my region and food traditions. It certainly seems to have worked in the past for other bloggers.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Cool! Are you a native Nova Scotian, or a transplant? If you're native, do you know anything about the Acadian poutine? I had a co-worker who talked about her grandmother's poutine, and I always wondered exactly how it was made.

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Peter - welcome to the crazy but satisfying world of food blogging! I am excited joining you in your upcoming meals and see pics of your part of the world. Blog on!

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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So here’s my background story:

My wife Sandra and I live in Shad Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada which is about twenty kilometers from downtown Halifax (provincial capital) on the Atlantic coast. Peggy’s Cove is twenty kilometers the other way. We have twins, the boy Griffin and the girl Iris, who will be two this summer so the way we eat as a family is always evolving. She works fulltime at the children’s hospital in town and I have a building design business that I run from the home office when I am not being a fulltime dad, which lately is not very often. Our immediate community (founded 1764 named for the abundant shad fish) was originally a fishing village with a few cottages for the city folks but now it’s mostly commuters with only a couple of actual full-time fishermen and a handful of amenities. I can walk to a tavern, convenience store, dental office, church, small school, fire station, and a tiny farm market. There are lots of beaches around and plenty of boats, you get the picture.

Okay, I just googled my village and found the following data for Shad Bay:

Total Population = 2053.0 (I am glad to see a whole number)

Total Dwellings = 812.0

Distance to Halifax = 16.284 km

People within 100 km = 531418.0 (wow, half a million, and half of that circle is over the ocean) I believe Halifax has around 300,000 population so not quite a Canadian city in the top ten size-wise. There are plenty of food adventures to be had around here on land and on sea. Here’s a link which describes some of the local food traditions better than I can:

http://tbes-140.tbes.ednet.ns.ca/history/c...rydelights.html

Alright then, let’s get to it!

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Cool!  Are you a native Nova Scotian, or a transplant?  If you're native, do you know anything about the Acadian poutine?  I had a co-worker who talked about her grandmother's poutine, and I always wondered exactly how it was made.

Ah poutine! In the right hands it can be the "pinnacle of gooey delights". I have never made it but we usually stop for some on the drive to Montreal.

It deserves its own thread, but know you've got me thinking. I had better research (ie. photograph then eat) some poutine this week. And a donair.

I'm from Toronto but married a Caper (a person born on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia).

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Ah poutine! In the right hands it can be the "pinnacle of gooey delights". I have never made it but we usually stop for some on the drive to Montreal.

It deserves its own thread, but know you've got me thinking. I had better research (ie. photograph then eat) some poutine this week. And a donair.

I think the Acadian poutine is different. I might have asked about it on eGullet before (maybe to Shaya?), but I can't remember. My former co-worker said it was sort of like arancini, but made with mashed potatoes instead of rice, and steamed in cheesecloth. I can't remember what usually went in the middle, though.

I'm from Toronto but married a Caper (a person born on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia).

Does she have any good Scottish recipes you'd care to share during your blog? :smile:

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Where to start - how about my kitchen?

I don’t think I will bother with the traditional image of my fridge’s innards – it wouldn’t be very interesting anyways, mostly unlabelled containers and bags of whole milk (did I mention I have twins?) plus a dizzying array of condiments. It is also undersized and undercleaned; I think a new one is pretty high on our list of major appliance new purchases. We have a chest freezer in the basement, also not very photogenic. Having just looked, I can say that it has inside several small whole chickens, a pork shoulder, bags of wild blueberries we picked last August, some raspberries from our garden, a whole salmon, and possibly some popsicles. And some of those blue cold packs in various sizes – the ones you take in your cooler when going on a picnic. I am sure there’s more stuff down there that needs to be chiseled away from the icy freezer walls. Sometimes there is venison from friends who hunt or mackerel when they are running in our bay (I’ll talk about that later).

A couple of years ago I got really tired of misplacing dried goods like those small bags of spices or grains bought in the bulk food section. I built a shallow shelf unit for the kitchen wall and mounted it across from the stove out of direct sunlight. I like seeing what stuff I have to work with and when the supplies are dwindling. Now I just wish it was bigger.

Here’s a context shot:

gallery_28661_4647_51019.jpg

That’s an old butcher’s block down below from pre-WWII Toronto. I intercepted it on its way to the landfill when a meat shop near Dundas and Jarvis Streets (my old neighborhood) was converting into a pizza joint. It’s a beast, maybe 250 lbs. On it sit various glass canisters of flour, oatmeal, white and brown sugars, lentils, rice, pasta, etc. There’s a big stone mortar & pestle and my home made curry wheel (I have a wood lathe in the shop). The copper pots are a 12-piece Ruffoni set from Italy – I would say they are probably my most prized kitchen items. Definitely a big weapon in the battery.

On the rack above from which the pots hang are a ricer, a microplane, a garlic press, some cat toys, and a few other gizmos.

Back to the kitchen. Here’s a closer shot of the pantry shelf contents:

gallery_28661_4647_21112.jpg

Let’s see if I can still identify all that stuff. . .

Across the top shelf: an empty jar, wooden mortar & pestle, my wife’s raspberry jam, six Emile Henry ramekins, soldier beans, dried papaya chunks, raw pepitas (aka pumpkin seeds), a terra cotta garlic roaster (not visible).

Next shelf down: kasha (aka toasted buckwheat), finely powdered black pepper, orzo, quinoa, a shaker of white flour, flax seeds, shredded coconut, white beans, split peas, prunes, apricots.

Middle shelf: two empty stainless steel shakers, empty glass shaker, whole coriander, 12 grain cereal mixture, sesame seeds, galangal, lime leaves, figs, my secret curry powder, millet, an ulu knife (a crescent-shaped Inuit tool for scraping pelts and cutting blubber, I use it on pizza).

Next shelf down: mild curry powder, powdered nutmeg, powdered garlic, hazelnuts, wild rice, turmeric, whole allspice, more black pepper, red lentils, salt & pepper mills (from England, with the thumb plunger), powdered cinnamon.

Bottom shelf: whole cloves, saffron (the safflower kind), peanuts, more cloves, whole nutmeg, scotch oatmeal (aka steel-cut pinhead oatmeal), slivered almonds, caraway, red pepper flakes, ground ginger, and a small black case with my darts (every other Friday is darts night)

Wow, that was fun. I only had to open one jar for olfactory verification – some of those brown powders really look alike. I should really use more labels. Yeah, like that’s going to happen.

That object hanging on the right side of the shelves is a giant iron ladle. It tends to collect car keys and loose change. I have a thing for over-sized kitchen equipment; it’s a borderline Claes Oldenburg fetish, really. He’s that Swedish (?) sculptor famous for crazy stuff like the 50 foot spoon and bus-sized jackknife. It is inherently amusing to me when a familiar object is absurdly large, I cannot explain it. Maybe that’s a whole new thread I should start, if someone hasn’t already! What I really want is one of those giant six-foot pepper grinders that requires a team of two waiters to operate. Incidentally, have you seen Iron Chef Bobby Flay’s enormous submersible blender? Now there’s a mixer.

The white thing on top of the shelves near the ceiling is a lamb’s skull. Years ago my father-in-law imported hundreds of sheep from Scotland to Cape Breton in northern Nova Scotia. I think that skull belonged to one of the descendants. Initially they made a good go of it but it was the (non-native and highly invasive) coyotes who won out in the end. There still seems to be quite a few local lamb producers in this province although I am not sure where they all are. I can attest to the high quality of the lamb though; it is as good as any I have ever tasted. Maybe I’ll get some over the next few days; we usually do some kind of lamb dish every other week or so. Yum . . . how about shanks in the tajine, or maybe a curry?

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I think the Acadian poutine is different.  I might have asked about it on eGullet before (maybe to Shaya?), but I can't remember.  My former co-worker said it was sort of like arancini, but made with mashed potatoes instead of rice, and steamed in cheesecloth.  I can't remember what usually went in the middle, though.

Does she have any good Scottish recipes you'd care to share during your blog?  :smile:

I was not aware there was a special Acadian poutine, but its such a "grassroots" food I shouldn't be surprised. The story I know is that poutine was invented somewhere near Montreal like 50 years ago. For me, classic poutine is, from the bottom of the bowl up:

1. rough cut french fries

2. fresh white cheddar cheese curds

3. thick chicken-based gravy

4. black pepper and ketchup

pretty decadent if you ask me!

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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That’s an old butcher’s block down below from pre-WWII Toronto. I intercepted it on its way to the landfill
Peter, what a find! Congratulations. Looks like there's a long future for that sucker and at 250lbs I'm sure it's not going anywhere soon.

I've never been to the Maritimes so this will just have to do until I get on that ferry in Portland and sail up there one day.

I recognize your dry good/spice collection as a way to make a long winter bearable. Nothing like a good curry to temper an icy January wind, eh? :wink:

What do the town fishermen bring to your town dock? Ten years ago a pal here in Portland went up your way to investigate diving for sea urchin but returned empty-handed and broke. Something about a little disease and a lot of fees. I'd like to hear how the area fishing folk are coping with changes in local seafood stocks, should you hear anything.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Great to see you blogging, Peter! Big question: rappie pie? History, insights, recipes, justifications. (Check my last name if you're wondering why I'm asking. :wink:)

Love the stuff. I am planning a sortie into the Annapolis Valley this week which is an agricultural oasis in Nova Scotia and packed with Acadian tradition, especially Grand Pre. I'll be all over the rapure!

more to follow . . .

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Peter,

One of my best friends, and the man who taught me how to eat well, was from Halifax, so I have the highest of expectations!

But the Shad Bay google data didn't include the number of pubs!

Cheers,

Peter

(Man, that's a tidy spice rack)

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My husband shares your obsession with giant equipment, but I've never been able to figure out a use for the stuff. Next giant ladle I see, it's his.

I have a deep yearning for the Maritimes, and have never been. I secretly think that if I went I wouldn't be able to leave. This after 5 years spent in Regina listening to Newfie jokes! So I'm really looking forward to your blog, and am drop dead jealous of that butcher block.

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Hello neighbor, good to see you here blogging. I hope the weather picks up so you can show the eGulleters that it's not all rain and fog here...

Do you think you might fit in a trip to the farmer's market next weekend?

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I think the Acadian poutine is different.  I might have asked about it on eGullet before (maybe to Shaya?), but I can't remember.  My former co-worker said it was sort of like arancini, but made with mashed potatoes instead of rice, and steamed in cheesecloth.  I can't remember what usually went in the middle, though.

Does she have any good Scottish recipes you'd care to share during your blog?   :smile:

I was not aware there was a special Acadian poutine, but its such a "grassroots" food I shouldn't be surprised. The story I know is that poutine was invented somewhere near Montreal like 50 years ago. For me, classic poutine is, from the bottom of the bowl up:

1. rough cut french fries

2. fresh white cheddar cheese curds

3. thick chicken-based gravy

4. black pepper and ketchup

pretty decadent if you ask me!

Sorry to interrupt your blog.

Acadian poutine has nothing to do with the poutine from Quebec. It is generally made with a mixture of mashed potatoes and grated potatoes, often contain a piece of stewed meat. It is ball shaped, boiled and served with broth. Nothing like its Quebec fastfood cousin. You can find it on the Acadian coast of New-Brunswick but I don't think it is widely available elsewhere.

Ha! now we can get back to your blog! :biggrin:

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Yay! A blogger from my hometown! (Okay, I'm technically from Dartmouth, but don't hold it against me.) Will your visit to the valley coincide with the Apple Blossom Festival? Will you be visiting Pete's Frootique? Is Pete's Frootique still a going affair? Is Ca Hoa Pan-Asian grocery still open at the corner of Queen and Victoria (the best place in Halifax IMHO for Asian groceries)?

And most importantly.....

Does Pizza Corner pizza still taste like rubber?

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Thank you for blogging, Peter. Not sure which I like more your kids pictures or your cooper cookware picture. {That's an obvious joke, the kids are the most precious things you will ever have} Have never visited your part of the planet and looking forward to this maritine province blog

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A couple of years ago I got really tired of misplacing dried goods like those small bags of spices or grains bought in the bulk food section. I built a shallow shelf unit for the kitchen wall and mounted it across from the stove out of direct sunlight. I like seeing what stuff I have to work with and when the supplies are dwindling. Now I just wish it was bigger.

Here’s a context shot:

gallery_28661_4647_51019.jpg

I love that idea! I've been trying to squeeze all the pantry space possible out of my kitchen, and something like that would really help. It really looks like something built in. I also grinned when you listed everything in the jars, as that's pretty much an inventory of my dry goods (with the addition of more Indian spices).

For those of us in the US, how about a shot of a bag of milk? I always find the concept fascinating, since dairy here comes in paper cartons, plastic or glass bottles.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Hi Peter,

As a Cajun born and bred in Louisiana, I'm eager to see all of Acadia that you can show us.

As a mother of two small children, I'm wondering how in the world you keep yours away from those glass canisters on the butcher block. :shock:

Bridget Avila

My Blog

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Wow! Those are beautiful photos. When I read The Shipping News, that is what I pictured: the terrain, the water and boats, the lighthouse. Just gorgeous.

You are fairly close to the north coast of Maine, I'm assuming? My younger son spent a summer there at the Oceanography Institute; we fell in love with the place.

It's too late for me to steal your "recessed spice jars" idea for my kitchen, but I'll steal it for another use. :smile:

Hope to see some more recent photos of Griffin and Iris!

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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What do the town fishermen bring to your town dock? I'd like to hear how the area fishing folk are coping with changes in local seafood stocks, should you hear anything.

Around here there is a small community in each bay every 10km or so. Shad Bay has no aquaculture (farm) but there are a few guys with boats (and licenses) for crab and lobster. From our local dock I have caught mackerel and pollock (aka Boston Blue) and I understand there's also plenty of wild mussels, crabs (Rock and Jonah) and lobsters plus a few groundfish. The next bay over (Prospect Bay) has one or two farms for Blue Mussels and American Oysters, plus a bunch of fishing boats that look like they can go pretty far out to sea.

The main aquaculture (farmed) species are salmon, mussels, scallops, trout and oysters. There's even a guy somewhere here trying to farm abalone - I hope he pulls it off! I hear its delicious.

As for the commercial fishery here its probably quite similar to Maine. Its broken down into groundfish (e.g. haddock), invertebrates (eg. lobster), marine plants (e.g. rockweed) and pelagics (e.g. tuna)

For more info check this Nova Scotia Fisheries and Aquaculture link

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Cool!  Are you a native Nova Scotian, or a transplant?  If you're native, do you know anything about the Acadian poutine?  I had a co-worker who talked about her grandmother's poutine, and I always wondered exactly how it was made.

Ah poutine! In the right hands it can be the "pinnacle of gooey delights". I have never made it but we usually stop for some on the drive to Montreal.

It deserves its own thread, but know you've got me thinking. I had better research (ie. photograph then eat) some poutine this week. And a donair.

I'm from Toronto but married a Caper (a person born on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia).

Yay!! A Canadian blogger and one from NS at that. Every year my spouse says we must go to Nova Scotia, but something always comes up( and airfare is outrageous) and we dont go. My spouse's dad ( now deceased) is a caper. Born on Cape Breton Island in Point Hawksberry. Her family still owns a farm there. From what I hear, its a beautiful place.

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