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908731.  Fri May 11, 2012 8:35 pm Reply with quote

My samall city is only 60,000 population, but we now have 4 Tim's.

908739.  Fri May 11, 2012 10:01 pm Reply with quote

It's about three months later, but here's my promised post about Nanaimo Bars.

That first link is a Wikipedia link that accurately summarizes what a standard Nanaimo bar is, with photos, and it seems not to contain any wild inaccuracies at the time of this writing. If you're unfamiliar with the dessert, start there. Warning: If you struggle with diet, you may put on weight just looking at the photos. It's a sinfully rich bar.

The origins of the bar are clouded and there are several popular legends. The first documented recipe, as Wikipedia notes, is from a 1952 church cookbook. I've never seen anyone identify a credible source prior to that. Post-1952, history is reasonably well-documented, and Wikipedia covers the bases.

What's quite interesting (I hope) is the origin that I was told. I can't find any online sources to back this up (except sites that phrase it as 'legend has it' and similar positioning, which is telling), but what I was told is as follows:

As I previously described earlier in the thread, Nanaimo was a coal town until the early 20th century as civilization moved towards newer fuels for power. Legend has it that care packages from the miners' families back east (which we say around here to refer to eastern Canada) and from the UK contained this high-fat, high-energy treat to help them keep going, and although they were not made here, being the focused destination meant they were known as Nanaimo bars.

Now, I don't hold much stock in this, but I can see that maybe there were in fact high-energy treat bars being sent to miners here, and that historical fact informed the creation of the Nanaimo bar through variations and permutations. It also might've been the precursor to a chain of bars that mutated over the decades into the 1952 recipe we find. I have strong suspicions that any dairy-containing product would not've survived the trip across Canada unspoiled, even after the railroads were built, without refrigeration (maybe only in the Winter?), so I doubt the story is completely true on its face.

As Wikipedia describes, there are many variations (my personal favourite has always been mint Nanaimo bars), because you can basically throw any dessert flavour in and it'll work. Chocolate orange (with dark chocolate in the top and bottom layers) is another tasty combination. Rather than try and provide a number of variations (Google them, you'll find more than your waistline can handle!), I'd like to simply provide the official City of Nanaimo recipe for Nanaimo bars (chosen in 1986 from a recipe submitted by resident Joyce Hardcastle).

Note: If vanilla custard powder is unavailable in your area, substitute vanilla-flavoured pudding powder. This tends to be a problem in the US, as it's almost impossible to find the stuff there, yet it's easily located in Canada. Must be like ketchup crisps.

- Joyce Hardcastle's Nanaimo Bars - wrote:

Bottom Layer
cup unsalted butter (European style cultured)
cup sugar
5 tbsp. cocoa
1 egg beaten
1 cups graham wafer crumbs
c. finely chopped almonds
1 cup coconut

Melt first 3 ingredients in top of double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Press firmly into an ungreased 8" x 8" pan.

Second Layer
cup unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. and 2 Tsp. cream
2 Tbsp. vanilla custard powder
2 cups icing sugar

Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer.

Third Layer
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (1 oz. each)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator.

Be warned, you're basically looking at 3 calories per gram (a 30-gram serving is 150 calories!), and a serving is going to consist of about 50% sugar/starch (in other words, non-fiber carbohydrates) and 35% fat by weight. The one part of the care packages for miners story that makes sense is, if you're going to send a care package to a miner who may not be getting very good nutrition and needs energy to do his job, these are certainly fit for the task.

Oceans Edge
911211.  Wed May 23, 2012 10:18 am Reply with quote

Another from the series, Things You Might Not Know About Canada.

Everyone knows about the Avro Arrow, but do you know about Avro's Flying Saucer, the Avrocar?

911292.  Wed May 23, 2012 4:43 pm Reply with quote

For some reason I missed the post about the Nanaimo bars when it went up, but goodness me that sounds decadent!

I'd never heard of the Avrocar before either.

911339.  Wed May 23, 2012 8:21 pm Reply with quote

Nanaimo bars are good for you ...

Oceans Edge
911399.  Thu May 24, 2012 5:09 am Reply with quote

nanaimo bars - the staple of coffee klatches and volunteer organization board meetings throughout Canada :)

They are good though, they are good :)

Oceans Edge
911685.  Fri May 25, 2012 1:52 pm Reply with quote

I have way too much fun with these....

The tale of a forgotten war with the Irish in 1866

911734.  Fri May 25, 2012 8:41 pm Reply with quote

I did not know that - thanks!

964339.  Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:11 am Reply with quote

Well, it had to happen.

With all the fanfare about these new plastic bank notes that Canada has issued, and some of the silly publicity that ensued, you'd think they'd get their national emblem right.

Well, no. It seems that some experts who have been looking at the bank notes have noticed that it looks more like the Norwegian maple leaf, and not the Canadian one.

It's an easy mistake for the untrained eye to make, and considering the Norwegian trees are widely available in Canada since their introduction, but you'd think they'd get it right :)

Personally I also hate the look of the "window" in the notes, the first time I saw some of the notes I thought they'd been burned.

964382.  Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:02 am Reply with quote

The official explanation is that the leaf on these particular bills is stylized, and isn't meant to be a true representation of any particular species of maple.

There are ten species of maple native to Canada, and the eleven-pointed symmetrical maple leaf on the flag was designed by an artist and does not represent any one species. There is not a species called anything like Acer canadiensis, and whose leaf looks exactly like that.

Yes, the maple leaf featured on these new bills has more points than eleven. But then so do other maple leaves used in Canadian symbolism. For instance, the Canadian version of the Royal Standard features three maple leaves, none of them symmetrical and with thirteen, fourteen, and thirteen points. The Canadian Army badge features a symmetrical 23-pointed maple leaf.

What is actually more of an issue with these new bills is that the vending machine industry was not given a precise specification in advance, and so they won't work in vending machines for a while.

Oceans Edge
964419.  Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:58 am Reply with quote

oh and they're most hideous to handle...

became familiar with polymer notes while in Australia - yes they do last longer, but the feel of them in the hand, they STICK together very easy to hand over 2 twenties instead of one, and once they've been folded the crease never ever goes away...

I much prefer the linen ones.

As for the vending machine companies - the $50's have been out for ages, while I don't know any machines that take $50's that should have been sufficient to give them what details they needed?

964425.  Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:19 pm Reply with quote

I have to agree that there's something about plastic banknotes that doesn't feel quite right. Were the traditional Canadian ones actually linen or cotton? I remember a longstanding half-truth that they were made of denim, which would suggest cotton, and both American and British banknotes are cotton.

Question for anyone who knows. Why is it that banknotes usually are made of a cotton-based paper rather than of woodpulp paper? I'm reading that Japanese banknotes are made of woodpulp (mulberry bark, to be precise), but not any other major nation.

Now, those vending machines. Most vending machines which accept coins establish that the coins are real by size and weight, rather than by scanning the design. But vending machines which accept bills do scan the design - and the claim is that the Bank of Canada wouldn't let the vending machine people have any that didn't have SPECIMEN stamped on. While it's possible to use software to recreate the look of the bill without that addition, it's i) technically illegal, and ii) not as good as having the genuine article to start with.

As you note, few if any vending machines take $50 bills. But rather more take $20s, and very many more still take $5s and $10s. Plastic $5s and $10s are to be introduced later this year, and the vending machine people say that they need the exact specifications pretty much now if they are to be ready.

Oceans Edge
964430.  Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:00 pm Reply with quote

A little further digging does indicate that Canadian notes were printed on pure cotton paper - the presumption of linen paper was my error.

Cotton (or cotton/linen) paper is used for durability reasons - wood pulp papers just disintegrate faster.

I would have thought that vending machine technology would just read the little hologram thingy that's been there since the 1986 Birds series. But (now I'm guessing again) that as most vending machines are made to accommodate the US market (who don't use the holo security thingy) and the Canadian market is only a small of that - scanning the design makes more sense.

Oceans Edge
977976.  Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:48 am Reply with quote

A few minor quibbles (the New Ireland should be in Newfoundland, not Labrador... but hey) but otherwise pretty spot on.

1099766.  Wed Oct 29, 2014 8:01 pm Reply with quote

Good to know that racism is not much tolerated in Hamilton, Ontario ....


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