You’re invited to a barbecue

I first wrote about Canadian gastronomer Anita Stewart and her idea for a giant national barbecue in July, 2003. These are a few paragraphs about the Canadian culinary caper she dreamed up as described in my July 30th, 2003 Creative Cooking column in The Record, Waterloo Region’s newspaper.

BARBECUING FOR A CAUSE; ELORA FOOD MAVEN URGES US TO STAND BY OUR FARMERS

It’s being billed as the World’s Longest Barbecue and you’re invited.

This Saturday, as the clock strikes 6 p.m. from time zone to time zone
across our country, Canadians are encouraged to sit down to enjoy a beef
barbecue in honour of our beef farmers and in support of their industry,
which has suffered dramatically after a single incidence of mad cow disease
was found in Alberta this spring.

Saturday’s national event is the brainchild of Elora cookbook author and
culinary maven Anita Stewart. Her dream is to “link Canada from coast to
coast to coast in one massive, delicious outdoor celebration of support for
Canadian agriculture.”

Fast forward five years and Anita is still passionate about celebrating our national and local cuisine and showing support for those who produce the food we are fortunate to be able to eat and enjoy.

Tomorrow, August 2, at 6 p.m. (your local time), you’re invited to celebrate the 2008 version of the World’s Longest Barbecue – Canada Day 2. There is still time to plan a barbecue, invite friends and family, then visit Anita’s website to post your menu plans. Your menu doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming to prepare. Just visit a local market or grocery store to see what’s fresh and produced close to home and you’ll be able to put together a delicious meal. If you want to find out what others will be grilling up that day, you can read menu ideas from fellow Canadians on her site.

My menu this year? Although we won’t be able to celebrate the WLB exactly on August 2, when we do fire up the barbecue in honour of this event, we’ll be serving some pretty standard summertime fare including devilled eggs, beef burgers with all the fixin’s, grilled portobellos (for my vegetarian friends), barbecued spare ribs, creamy potato salad, broccoli salad, corn on the cob with herbed butter, and bumbleberry crisp made with apples, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and rhubarb, and served with homemade vanilla ice cream.

The latest book from Canadian culinary activitist Anita Stewart

The latest book from Canadian culinary activist Anita Stewart

Anita is also a prolific author. You’ll find a list of her cookbooks/books about Canadian foodways on her site. Her latest offering is Anita Stewart’s Canada: the food, the recipes, the stories (Harper Collins Publishers Ltd, 2008). Not only a great read, it will provide inspiration for your WLB menu and other Canadiana-style meals this weekend and beyond.

You can read about Anita’s recent book tour on her blog.