Cook up some Canada Day fun

As the second-largest country in the world, Canada has much to celebrate

As the second-largest country in the world, Canada has much to celebrate. Each and every year, Canadians gather to commemorate Canada Day on July 1. Frequently called Canada’s birthday, Canada Day, previously known as Dominion Day, marks the joining of the Province of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick on July 1, 1867. It wasn’t until July 1, 1917 that the first official Canada Day celebration was held to mark this day of independence.

Offices, banks, schools, and many businesses are closed on Canada Day. Some stores may remain open to cater to bargain-hunting Canada Day shoppers.

Should an American visit Canada on Canada Day, he or she might mistake it for America’s own Independence Day. Celebrations of both holidays are similar, with parades, fireworks, concerts, and special outdoor events. Friends and families gather for barbecues and pool parties while the red-and-white flag of the country flies in the breeze.

Though the celebrations are similar, Canadians can add their own measure of gusto to Canada Day parties and gatherings with foods that are inspired by Canada. Think about serving these culinary delights at the next Canada Day celebration.

* Classic Quebec Poutine: The traditional poutine is served with a pile of crispy french fries topped with a handful of cheddar curds and a chicken- or veal-based gravy. The french fries can be made from Prince Edward Island potatoes, while cheese curds traditionally are made from the Frommage Beaucronne brand. This comfort food can be enjoyed by children and adults alike and served as an appetizer before more substantial fare is served.

* Maple candies: Maple syrup is exported from the country, and a maple leaf adorns the national flag. Celebrants can pay homage to the maple tree by serving foods that feature maple syrup in some way. Mix several cups of maple syrup with 1/3 cup butter and a teaspoon of lemon extract. Bring to a boil until a candy thermometer reads 233° F, roughly 111° C. Allow to cool a few minutes and pour into candy molds. Let cool and harden, then enjoy.

* Moose burgers: Rather than cooking beef or bison burgers, opt for moose meat. Moose are the largest members of the deer family, and this wild game can be an alternative to the standard meats. Moose meat is a lean source of protein and has less than one gram of total fat per serving. Ground moose meat can be used to form burgers cooked over the grill.

* Salmon specialities: For a different take on barbecue, try grilled salmon harvested from waters in British Columbia. Salmon is a heart-healthy food rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which also promote brain health. Maple-crusted salmon may be a way to meld two Canadian flavors together in one meal.

There are a number of different ways to incorporate new food traditions into Canada Day celebrations.

Experiment with the flavors you love and pay tribute to the rich tradition of Canada.