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Oh, Canada! 

It’s officially the middle of watermelon season in Arkansas.   

Which means it’s super hot. All day long. Until about 10 pm, then it’s decent. But, it’s also dark then too, which makes it somewhat difficult to be productive. 

All this hot weather makes me want to be back on a lake in Canada. I checked the weather forecast there this morning and our current Arkansas temperature at 10 in the morning was higher than the expected high there all week. Not to mention the 352% humidity we’ve got going on here. Not pretty. 

I actually have Canada on my mind for two reasons.

 #1: because I had a dream that my friend Jesse (the one from Manitoba. I have too many friends named Jesse. I need some sort of filing system to keep them all in order) told me he had a Christmas gift for me. The gift was a brown and black dotted Bassett Hound puppy with floppy ears. His name was Charles. 

Reason #2: There’s something there I have yet to conquer. I was offered the opportunity to climb a silo and I didn’t do it. How tragic, right? How often do you get that type of opportunity? So, I’ve put it on my bucket list. As if I needed another precarious activity added to that long list. 

 

The infamous silo

 
Our friends in Manitoba (I say that in a plural sense, but I’m pretty sure this was orchestrated mostly by Jesse’s mom, Melanie) were so kind and sent me home with the best gift: local Canadian foods. They obviously know me all too well. It was like a treasure trove of goodness. I really never knew America and Canada were so different. I mean, I always expected some differences, but they have a lot of brands and things that we don’t have. So, I’ll detail some of them for those of you who’ve never trekked that far north. 

Old Dutch All Dressed Chips: this is actually a U.S. & Canadian brand (thank you, Internet, for the enlightening information) and the all dressed variety takes all of their different flavors and combines them into one chip. Seems like a brilliant idea, right? Yes, it was. 

  
Wild Rice: I love rice. It’s basically the carbohydrate staple of my diet. Arkansas produces a lot of rice. We are actually the largest rice producer in the U.S. But, wild rice doesn’t top that list. So, I was really excited to get this. It’s called Floating Leaf because the floating leaf stage is the source of nutrition to the submerged stock and root, bringing a healthy stock to maturity. This rice comes from Shoal Lake in Manitoba, which I believe I’ve actually been by. 

  
GORP energy bars: I had never heard of this brand. They’re based out of Manitoba. These bars are really good and good for you! I am a label reader. You don’t want to go grocery shopping with me. Seriously. I take forever. All the ingredients in these bars are things I recognize, which is a rarity in the food world now. No added preservatives. I’m a fan. PS, I still have no idea what GORP stands for. If anyone can enlighten me on that little fact, I’d love to know! 

  
Mate’: I’m honestly not sure if this should have the inflection noted in the spelling or not. My friend went to Argentina and came back telling me about Yerba mate tea. But, I had never tried it until I went to Canada. Ironic, right? It was included in my gift bag because people from Paraguay have moved into the area and brought it with them. I’ve heard about it a lot in association with South American culture, so I’ve always been curious to try it. I was not disappointed. It’s got a strong, rich flavor. I must say, though, I like a lot of things that other people would consider to be bitter, so I may be a little biased. The really interesting thing about this beverage is that it is traditionally a shared experience. They have a hollowed out gourd and a straw that filters out any tea particles, and everyone shares the same brew, passing from one person to another for a sip. In modern days, a gourd is not typical, rather a large coffee cup or something similar. My friend who went to Argentina got to participate in one of these experiences. I feel I should also mention that they had atleast one person in their group get really sick. So maybe I’d suggest to stick to one cup per person. Personal preference. 

Cream Honey: I’m not exactly new to the world of honey. We bought a large amount of honey from a bee farmer in Romania and it was probably the most raw honey I’ve ever had. Straight from the bees themselves. In fact, jars had to be purchased at a local market to divvy the honey up because it was just in one huge container. I’ve never seen so much honey. But, I’ve never come across cream honey. So, I was obviously fascinated and had to do a little research. 

 

Crystallized Romanian honey vs. Creamed Manitoban honey

 
Turns out cream honey is taken to a stage that is in between pasteurized honey and raw honey. To be honest, I never really knew that raw honey would crystallize as much as it does. The process controls this crystallization and keeps the honey one consistency and color. I highly recommend the creamed honey. It is like butter. But it’s honey. I feel like that explanation should convince you all on it’s own. 

And to end my Canadian daydreaming, I was featured on a different blog a while back and forgot to share it. I’m famous, ya’ll! (And my name is spelled wrong. Am I still famous if they spell my name wrong?)

  
*I feel I should also end this post by letting everyone know that while I love puppies and Bassetts are my favorite, I do not want a puppy for Christmas. If you, however, have a Bassett puppy that I could borrow to play with every once in awhile, that would be ideal. 

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