Kitchen rants and raves / Polémiques de la cuisine

Fresh Québec corn looks good, tastes even better. Photo: Patricia Maunder

Fresh Québec corn looks good, tastes even better. Photo: Patricia Maunder

Officially, spring started here more than a month ago, but it’s only in the past week that we’re seeing real signs of it. Tiny buds and the first little blooms, such as crocus and jonquils, are popping out, and within two weeks Montreal will go from grey to green. As the city enters its alfresco phase, I’m opening windows for the first time in six months, heading out without scarf, hat or gloves, and thinking about all the yummy meals I’m going to prepare and eat when fresh, local fruit and vegetables are available again soon.

For several months, sad-looking imported produce has been the norm. Even if it looks good when I buy it, things tend to spoil quickly as it takes several days to get here from farms way down south, from California to Peru. I have never bought tropical fruit here at any time of year for this reason – it has come a long way, and it shows.

The limited supply of fresh produce has been the biggest adjustment for me in the kitchen since moving here, because quality local fruit and veg are available year-round in Australia: it’s temperate in the south and tropical in the north, so there are fresh strawberries 365 days a year, for example, as well as seasonal pleasures, from mangoes to wild mushrooms.

What else is different about the kitchen experience between Melbourne and Montreal? From the miserable stuff erroneously called cream here, to the revelation that is super-fresh corn, it’s time for some (pretty minor) rants and raves … Continue reading