Two idiots on a raft in the middle of the ocean with little sense of direction – that’s how we felt when we first started planning FEAST.
We knew what we wanted to do (go on a road trip and write stories about Canadian food culture), but we had no idea how to make that happen. How would we pay for it? Where should we go? How long would it take? And most importantly: who, if anyone, would be interested in following such an adventure?
These anxieties, and plenty of others, meant we were thrilled to discover the existence of The Canadian Food Experience Project. Not only was it validation that yes, plenty of people were eager to join the discussion around our national cuisine, but it serendipitously began around the same time as FEAST!
By reading contributors’ stories, our own journey became bigger. We were on the road for five months and covered a lot of ground – approximately 37,000km by car, train, boat, and plane - but in reality, that barely scratched the surface of our country. Canadians are stretched across a sprawling mass of land, and there’s an incalculable amount of diversity when it comes to language, culture, landscape, and of course, food.
We saw (and ate) a lot, but The Canadian Food Experience stories meant we could read and see even more, their words and photos allowing us to travel to places we couldn’t get to. Participants' stories have given us an even greater understanding of Canadian food, which we now think of as an enormous, ever-changing collection of ingredients, dishes, and stories, with no single definition that encompasses them all. Stories about eating pigs' tails! And poaching eggs in maple syrup! And making tomato chow! The Canadian Food Experience Project highlighted and celebrated that range, and we feel so fortunate to have been a part of it.