Great Plains Bison – photo – Karen Anderson
I love to ask the people I meet, What is Alberta’s food? Inevitably the answer is, Beef – of course. I bring this up because I think it illuminates our lack of knowledge of our food heritage.
Beef is not an original Alberta species. It is an exotic import. It was brought to Alberta from Scotland via Montana before there were fences – about 150 plus years ago. The Great Plains Bison, Elk and White Tail deer evolved with this land and are perfectly suited for it. They are Alberta’s indigenous species. They have been here for tens of thousands of years.
Alberta also grows great grains. Red Fife Wheat is one of them. We are one of the world’s largest honey producers. We have really sweet root vegetables and Prairie hardy fruits like Saskatoon berries. Our Canola oil is as luscious gold as its flowers when it is cold-pressed and organic. And, yes, we really do grow the world’s biggest and tastiest beef.
We’ve discussed the WHAT, WHO, WHERE and WHEN of Cook it Raw, this post will explore the WHY> If Cook it Raw were only the chance to have more people at home, and around the globe, realize the bounty of wonderful products in Alberta, that would be enough of a WHY for me. Still, I asked Alessandro Porcelli of Cook it Raw for his answer to WHY and I asked Fraser Abbott of Alberta Culinary Tourism Alliance as well. This post gives their answers as well as a few recipes inspired by the world-class produce of Alberta.
Mount Engadine Lodge – photo courtesy of Karen Fitzgerald at Mount Engadine Lodge
Mount Engadine Lodge in Kananaskis Country near Canmore, Alberta is WHERE the 22 chefs of Cook it Raw’s #rawAlberta are gathering.
I spent a few days there this summer. The Lodge holds exactly 22 guests and sits perched over a meadow where a moose comes each evening to a natural saltlik. He’s not exactly like clockwork but he shows up and is nonplussed by the fuss he creates as the lodge guests watch in fascination as he lowers his heavy rack of horns between sprawled knobbly knees to taste the earth. He is vulnerable to be sure. I hope 22 hungry chefs don’t take on a moose hunt as part of their “raw” experience. Right now they actually have a lot in common. They’re putting themselves out there and they are bringing us a taste of this place.
This post will share some photos of WHERE the #rawAlberta chefs are sequestered. And, it will also share the details of a Public event WHERE you can meet all the #rawAlberta chefs and taste the dishes they’re creating using 7 great Alberta ingredients.
If you have no idea WHAT Cook it Raw is, this blog post is for you.
Watching the video above is a great place to start learning about Cook it Raw. Check it out and see if, while you’re learning about WHAT Cook it Raw is, you can also find seven Alberta food products that you might be quite familiar with but that the rest of the world might know very little about. That’s a pretty big hint about the answer to WHAT this is all about, by the way.
Don’t have time to watch the gorgeous video by Edmonton cinematographer Kevin Kossowan? Nah – go back and watch it. It’ll make you want to get on a plane to Lac LaBiche, Alberta – even if you have no idea where in the world that is. Hey, wait, that’s another clue to WHAT Cook it Raw is all about! Let’s cut to the chase.
Cook it Raw is a group of local and internationally-renowned chefs who gather to discover and articulate the essence of diverse and emerging culinary locations throughout the world. They are just winding up six months of intensive work in Alberta this very week. This is only the ninth time there’s been such a gathering since the inception of the program in 2009.
To learn more, read on and as an incentive to do so, I’ll give you the answer to exactly WHAT the seven truly Albertan ingredients are at the end of this post.
City Palate magazine’s 3rd Annual REALLY REALLY Long Table Dinner – illustration by Pierre Lamielle – used with permission
I’ve written about Long Table Dinners for CBC Radio One’s Alberta at Noon. I’ve written about Alberta Long Table Dinners for Calgary’s City Palate magazine.
I love them. They’re a joyous occasion. Have you been to one?
Now’s your chance. You’ve got about 19 hours left to get tickets here. You can never have too much joy.
There’s really really nothing quite like a long table dinner when it comes to the chance to savour it all.
Filed under Joy, Restaurants
Canada Day cookies – photo – Karen Anderson
Cool thing #31 – The Millarville Races and
Cool thing #32 – The Calgary Stampede
2 more great reasons to Explore Alberta
I love that summer starts with a big bang in Calgary. We get dressed up in red and white for Canada Day…
Alberta meets Canada Day – photo – Karen Anderson
Volunteers are the true team Canada – photo – Karen Anderson
Canada Day fashion – photo – Karen Anderson
…and then we rock our maverick culture with an ode to western heritage for the 10 days of The Calgary Stampede. It’s the world’s largest outdoor show and one of the world’s largest music festivals.
This post will be a photo essay of how I usually spend Canada Day – at the Millarville Races – along with some food ideas for your own celebrations and then a quick look at the fun of our beloved Calgary Stampede.
Edgar Farms of Innisfail Growers
I woke up to find a message from my friend Elna Edgar of Edgar Farms in Innisfail today. She asked if I would share the news that they’ve had to cancel their annual Asparagus Festival which was to be held on May 31, June 7 and 14.
I’m sad for my friends. They’re passionate farmers and they love to share that passion for all they do with visitors to their farm.
I hope you will support them more than ever this year. Read about one of my visits to Innisfail Growers, visit their stall at the Calgary Farmers’ Market, participate in their annual Country Drive or Open Farm Days and let them know we’ll all be waiting to celebrate a bumper crop of asparagus next year.
Sometimes having to wait a bit for something we love helps us all the more to savour it all.
Read on for the full press release.
morel mushrooms – photo – Karen Anderson
I love the chance to spend time in nature and living in Alberta, Canada gives me great opportunities to do so. I love hiking in The Rocky Mountains, cycling, skiing or sometimes just getting in a raft and floating down the big wide Bow River.
Eventually, all that time in nature makes me hungry though and that’s when it’s good to spend a little of my time in the great outdoors with a cadre of culinary instructors from SAIT Polytechnic’s School of Hospitality and Tourism. Once a year we go on a hike that turns into an episode of Bounty Hunter. The bounty in this case is food and the hunting is part of the gathering we do on their annual foraging day in the foothills of The Rocky Mountains.
You might be a confirmed “urban forager” but in case you’d like to take a walk on the wild side of food read on…