Canada, when compared to other countries is relatively young, if you call 144 years young. Although Canada is new to being its own country it has had a bit of time to create delicacies and flavours that Canada is now known for all over the world. One of these important flavours is our “Canadian” or peameal bacon. Canadian bacon is a roast of meat from the back of a pig (hence the other common term – “back bacon”) that is cured in a briny solution, but is not smoked. It has a flavour that is more like ham than American bacon.
Canadian bacon also usually only has a line of fat along the top of the individual slices, and that fat is edged with cornmeal. During the war years, yellow peas were ground up into meal. Canadian bacon was then rolled in this meal. This ensured better curing, shelf life and avoided bacterial problems. This, in fact, is where it got its name. Over the years, this tradition was changed to cornmeal, due to the availability of corn. When processers decided to change the meal to corn, the name remained, even though the peas didn’t.
How Canadian bacon got started: Around the turn of the last century “the war years”, England had a pork shortage. They imported side bacon from Canada, smoked it and termed it “Wiltshire Sides” in England. Due to this event Canadian bacon was made famous. Over time the United States believed that Canadian bacon was smoked back bacon although true Canadian bacon is not smoked. Our Canadian product is classified by the USDA as uncooked Canadian bacon and is Canadian #1 peameal back bacon.
So this year when you are planning your Canada Day celebrations try and serve up some truly Canadian food. Why? Because we are Canadian!