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My country turns 141 years old today!

And I can’t think of a better way of celebrating than submitting an entry to an event hosted by my sweetie Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess: Mmmmmm … Canada!

As is often the case when the Cream Puff embarks on a project enthusiastically, she has a habit of misreading instructions and then forgetting about them altogether!

So not only did I forget that this event was due, I realized that the final posting date for the event already past.

Ah, well. What can I say? Mea culpa!

My lateness notwithstanding, I hope that Jasmine and Jennifer will accept my entry for an event about what Canadian food means to you.

In a nutshell, Canadian food means complete and total access to me. What I mean by this is that not only do we have the benefit of living in a land that provides a plentiful supply of all manner of fruits, vegetables, dairy products and meat and poultry products, but we also live in a land that has long opened its doors to foods from somewhere else.

Over the years that my family has been in Canada, we’ve embraced (and how!) many foods that were not necessarily part of the daily diet in Italy. Squash, for example. While some parts of Italy have a long history of consuming squash, my mother never ate it as a child and my father’s family would feed squash to the farm animals, but never ate it themselves.

Yet come the fall, there is very little that we look forward to (food-wise) as much as the harvest of all sorts of squash that are local and about as Canadian as you can get.

And just as we’ve embraced all manner of foods that Italians may not have had access to in Italy, we’ve also been able to continue the tradition of Italian cooking with authentic Italian products readily available to us.

We have always had Parmigiano Reggiano on the table and I was consuming extra virgin olive oil pretty much since the day I was born. Italian chestnuts, figs, walnuts, cookies … the list goes on an on of foods made or grown in Italy that we have easy access to here in Canada.

So basically we have the both best of both worlds: incredibly delicious local products and the highest quality of foreign products.

I would say I live in the best-tasting country in the world!

Ciao!

Note: I decided to use gorgeous Ontario strawberries (picked at a farm that’s about an hour away from my home) to top these adorable mini lemon semolina cakes that I drenched in vanilla syrup. The recipe is from Maxine Clark’s Easy Summer Food. After baking the cakes in a mini bundt pan, I soaked them in a vanilla syrup and then topped them with quartered strawberries mixed with mint and a bit of sugar.