Today is the last day of our cruise. We were scheduled to visit my most favorite port in the whole world (at least of the ones I’ve visited thus far) – Half Moon Cay. Half Moon Cay is a private island in the Bahamas owned by Holland America Cruise line. It is simply gorgeous. Pure white sandy beaches, palm trees, and the most beautiful aqua water you’ll ever see. And, coincidentally, it’s shaped like a half moon.
Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate so the ship’s captain made the decision to pull away from the port and head back to Fort Lauderdale in a (what did he call it? Slovenly? Slow? No.) Sedate manner. Yes, that’s the word he used, sedate. I’m sure he would rather have given us all a sedative so he didn’t have to listen to whining, but moving sedately was the best he could do.
The ship’s crew went right to work to fill in our day with activities. There is nothing worse, I’m sure, than 2000 people with nothing to do but fight over the lounge chairs on the deck.
This particular ship has offered a series of cooking classes but, up to this point, I hadn’t taken any. I mean really, do I need to know how to make edible arrangements? But today they offered a class I knew I couldn’t miss. It was titled “Canadian Fusion Cooking.”
Seriously? Canadian Fusion cooking? I had no idea that the Canadians were known for their cooking. Though they did a bang up job with the Olympics, NBC didn’t do any special cooking segments in regards to special Canadian dishes. So, I had to go to the class just to see what I could find out about Canadian cooking.
Apparently, the word “fusion” refers to the “slamming” of two foods together. Who knew? The chef indicated that the Canadians have been doing it for over 15 years but I’m just not convinced that pouring maple syrup over salmon is really anything more than just adding an ingredient.
I did learn some things though. Did you know that you should leave the skin on the salmon when you are cooking it? Apparently, 80% of the important Omega 3 oils are found between the skin and the meat and if you remove the skin before cooking you lose the benefit of the Omega 3’s. And, as the chef pointed out, the skin is easier to remove after the fish is cooked. In other words, the few times I’ve cooked salmon I’ve missed out on the Omega 3 oils because the skin kind of grosses me out.
Next thing I learned, and you probably knew this. Aunt Jemima syrup isn’t really made from maple syrup. It’s made from corn syrup. Sad, especially because I like it better than the real deal.
I also learned you should never cook with golden delicious apples. They lose their flavor and get mushy (you probably knew that, too, but I’m not really much of a cook.) Granny Smith apples, according to Chef Ryan, or was it Ian?, are perfect every time. Where did the apples fit into this recipe, you ask? The chef made a “Celeriac Apple Slaw” to go under the salmon. Wait a minute! Maybe that’s the fusion part. I should have paid closer attention.
At the end of the cooking demonstration, our chef taught us how to make a “traditional Canadian dish. It’s called Poutine. I don’t think he’ll mind if I share the recipe with you.
French Fries (cooked) – put on a plate
Cheese Curds (shredded mozzarella can be used in a pinch) – distribute over the fries in a circling motion – throwing the final glob right on the middle of the plate.
Cover it all up with American French Gravy (available at the grocery store in the canned gravy aisle for about 99¢.) Again, you’ll want to use that circular motion and the final blop in the middle.
Serve with ketchup.
Doesn’t that sound delicious? It pretty much sums up the question of why the Canadians aren’t famous for their cooking.