One would think – given the degree of commonality in the respective backgrounds of our two cultures (by which I am am referring of course to those of Canada and of the UK) – that there would be relatively few instances of incomprehensible difference. There are, however, perhaps more than one might expect.
I have mentioned before, I know, my astonishment regarding the bathing habits prevalent this side of the pond. For a nation that virtually fetishises the outdoor life – regardless of the best attempts of weather to curtail it – I simply cannot understand the lack of proper bathing facilities. The ‘foot baths’ with which most Canadian bathrooms seem to be equipped scarcely allow one to wet one’s backside and a good long wallow is out of the question. A side effect of this sorry situation is that it is also nearly impossible to find in the stores the sort of unctuous bathing lotions without which any self-respecting British bathroom would be considered ill-equipped. Little chance of a good long muscle-relaxing soak in some suitably aromatic bath foam here.
I have also previously referred in these postings the strange habit of the owners of what Canadians call ‘stick shift’ automobiles (‘manual’ to the rest of us) of leaving the vehicles in gear when parked, in preference to using the handbrake. Canadians themselves might be less aware of this quirk since the great majority seem to drive automatics anyway.
These random examples were brought to mind by the latest incomprehensibility to which I have been exposed. Now, this has been on my mind for a while but was brought into sharp focus last weekend by a visit to the splendid ‘Beagle‘ public house in Cook Street Village, to which we repaired on Saturday for a spot of lunch. The excellent menu included – and of which the Kickass Canada Girl availed herself – a venison burger! Not just any venison burger, but quite the best that we have encountered.
This splendid treat, however, starkly highlighted the strange fact that – in a land where the animals abound and in a city parts of which suffer a wild deer ‘problem’ – it is simply not possible to purchase venison in any form from any of the puveyors of comestibles. Even the specialist butchers refuse to stock it – though they do carry the somewhat inferior bison. The Girl and I have taken to eating a great deal of venison over the past couple of years. It is a splendid, low-fat and extremely healthy meat, to say nothing of being easy to cook and jolly tasty.
When taxed as to why a country scratching its head as to how to deal with the plethora of unwanted deer doesn’t bow to the obvious and eat the damned things, a bizarre range of explanations are offered – from suggesting that any self respecting Canadian who fancies a haunch simply goes out with his (or her) rifle and blows one away, all the way to a trembly-lipped evocation of Bambi. Get a grip, guys!
We did ask our most helpful server at ‘The Beagle’ as to where they sourced theirs but apparently they buy in bulk from a wholesaler, possibly from outside the country.
Had we a freezer big enough it might just be worth purchasing a truck-load!