January 25th, 2011


Canada Burns

For reference, black onion seeds are the same thing as nigella seeds. There are always more grocery challenges to face when cooking from a cookbook which comes from a different country than one's grocery stores do.


Tonight's meal is turning into an exercise in free association. I was going to try out more recipes from Flatbreads and Flavours. Their only real thematic similarity is that they were all Middle Eastern, which is probably as coherent as putting together a meal of dishes which are all from Europe.

Halfway through my time at the grocery store, I remembered again that today is Burn's day. I didn't really want to change plans though. I didn't really see how to work whisky into pomegranate soup, or haggis into a sumac-flavored chickpea salad. I'd already given up on buying potatoes since my basket was far too heavy with juice and flour. But my mind was at work as I went home, haggisless.

It being a book in part about flatbreads, I checked out the Scottish section. Oatcakes, or bannocks. They required oatmeal, not rolled oats. I probably could have just blendered my rolled oats and made do, but then I turned the page to a whole other continent. North America. Canada. Berry bannock. I had all the ingredients.

There are some things you need to know: The pomegranate soup recipe offers cranberry juice as an alternative to pomegranate juice. The berry bannock recipe suggests cranberries as an alternative to blueberries for the recipe. I don't actually associate Burn's day with Scotland (despite the extremely obvious reasons why I should), but with Canada, and annual parties in its honor at pittenweem's. I have a friend currently in the far north of Canada, which is where berry bannock is particular to, for all its more distant Scottish ancestry. Another friend of mine became a Canadian today.

So, happy Burn's day! I'm celebrating with a Yemeni yogurt dish, a Syrian salad, a Persian soup, and Canadian bread.