Monday, 3 September 2012

Pjila'si (Hello) Veg and Everyone!

I am excited to be writing about Mi'kmaq traditional foods for a few
days until the new school year starts on Thursday. I hope this helps
you raise more money for hungry kids around the world and that people
will keep sending money to you and Mary's Meals. I realize how lucky I
am here in Nova Scotia where I live. Uncle tells me Nova Scotia is
latin for New Scotland.

I will be starting grade 5 this year at Redcliff Middle School in
Bible Hill, just outside Truro (How many seconds, Veg?). This is a new
school for me and I am looking forward to it. It has a cafeteria for
school lunches but I have not been in it yet. I hope the lunches are

Today my cousin Cailynn (she's 6) and I had a lunch of spiced smoked
salmon with fresh, raw (I like raw vegetables better than cooked)
picked-from-the-garden baby carrots, cherry tomatoes and cauliflower
on a bed of lettuce. It was good. Raw cauliflower kind of tastes like
cabbage to me. I like them all. And I like fish. I like fishing and
eating fish. Mostly I let the fish go when I catch them. I want to
learn to fly fish. We also had iced tea and caramel flavoured yogurt.
Both had some sugar in them so the health rating will be lower. Uncle
tried to get a whole salmon to cook but they are expensive to buy and
his friends had none left to show. Oh well, we all know what a salmon
looks like.

Food-o-meter - 10/10
Health rating - 8/10 (sugar in the iced tea and yogurt, and fat in the yogurt)
Bites - about 52. We lost count and had to guesstimate. Sorry.
Courses - Main and dessert
Price - about CDN $6.00. The salmon is expensive to buy and the
veggies are garden fresh but we included an estimate for cost of
Pieces of hair - Uncle doesn't have much hair so we're pretty safe
till Thursday.

Cailynn's godfather Dan is a Mi'kmaq hunter, fisherman and spiritual
leader and gave uncle his favourite recipe for salmon to share for
anyone who would like to try it. Traditionally salmon would have been
cooked or smoked over a fire.

Dan's recipe - Clean a whole salmon and lay it on an aluminum foil
bed. You can leave the head and tail on or cut them off as you prefer.
Inside the belly place a layer of sliced orange, topped with a layer
of sliced red onions. On top of the red onions place a layer of sliced
lemons. Fold the side of the salmon to cover the layers. Cover the top
of the salmon with more foil and place on a baking tray. Place in an
oven at 375 degrees for about 40-45 minute depending on the size of
the salmon.
Dan suggests you can enhance the flavour by reducing some brown sugar
to baste the top before closing up the foil. He says the salmon will
self-baste as it is baking. "Salmon is a rather dry fish but this
recipe makes it moist and flavourful. Enjoy!" Add side dishes to

Jagej's uncle here. Atlantic salmon is a traditional food for the
Mi'kmaq because many of the rivers where they spawn are in the
Atlantic Provinces of Canada (Mi'kmaqi). The fish is large and meaty
and can be dried, smoked and stored for later consumption. It is
however seasonal. Present day salmon would be unattainable for most
Mi'kmaq because of the high cost. However, the federal and provincial
governments have allocated a communal fishery quota which allows for
the feeding of the community. These fish are not permitted to be sold.
Mi'kmaq commercial fishermen catch their saleable quota plus what is
communal quota. Some individual Mi'kmaq fish only communal quotas to
feed their families, relatives and Elders. This is closely monitored
by fisheries officers.
Salmon is very popular for special community celebrations and feasts
and is, as for everyone these days, somewhat of a luxury. It is most
frequently served at spiritual ceremonies.

Uncle was also trying to get the traditional foods of eels and
fiddleheads for a meal but they are out of season. Tomorrow I think we
are having venison (deer or moose).

Atiu (goodbye) until tomorrow. Jagej.


  1. Great recipe! I love salmon. When we lived in Alaska, we would get wonderful wild salmon. In Alaska, state residents are allowed to dip-net into the rivers for salmon. There is, however, a certain limit, which is higher for Native Alaskans (First Nation peoples).

  2. as a Canadian on the west coast, this post was really cool and informative! looking forward to more delicious posts.

  3. This looks delicious! Salmon is one of my favorites, and I like raw vegetables much better than cooked, too. Thanks for your posts this week!

  4. I wish I could grab a chunk of that bannock in the foreground of the bottom picture!

  5. Any chance to get a traditional Mi'Kmaq recipe for salmon? Though the one given already - with orange and lemon slizes - sounds real good, it sure isn't how Your people cooked salmon before the europeans arrived.


    1. Rude and inappropriate comment.
      Please refrain from telling people what their culture should or should not be, MaikD.
      No to Food Police

    2. I could find nothing rude or inappropriate about MaikD's comment. If I had I would have left it to Veg, or Veg the Elder to police their own blog.
      No to Self Appointed Blog Police.
      Lighten up and let some love in, lotsasmiles.
      We're all trying to knock down walls, not build new ones.

    3. Didn't intend to tell anyone what his culture should be.. And I only asked (!!) for a recipe - didn't say anything about cooking a salmon with lemon, herbs and oranges would be wrong. 'cause it isn't - it's very tasty ;)

      I'm just quite interested in how salmon would have been cooked before there were oranges and lemons available in Nova Scotia.
      'cause if it was done with stuff I could get here in Germany - or something very similiar - I'd love to try a traditional Mi'Kmaq meal.
      I'm a trained cook, which might explain why I'm always trying to find out how different cultures do (or did..) their cooking.


  6. Really loved the blog today, very interesting, thanks x

  7. I wouldn't rate this a ten/ten on health, maybe an eight/ten, though. Does look good!

  8. how wonderful you even found people from Nova Scotia to contribute here.

  9. I love that meal but what I like the most in the picture is the fork, the spoon and the place mat. It looks pretty.
    Thank you for sharing

  10. I will be starting grade 5 this year, like you!

  11. I'm wondering about the people pictured- is this a family gathering or a neighborhood group? I love seeing people from different age groups eating together!

    1. It is a community gathering of many families involving young people and Elders sharing a feast with stories and some drumming ceremonies. A community bonding event over food.

  12. I am more and more shocked every time I read these posts about how well informed children around the world are about nutrition. I don't believe that many American children would be able to give a health rating as accurate as these kids do. Actually, I'm not sure many American adults could either.. I am a firm believer in educating people about what they eat, and believe the obesity epidemic in America is due in large part to just plain ignorance about nutrition.

  13. this salmon looks very healthy, vegetables too! thanks for the recipe.
    Very good post

  14. I've been following this blog for awhile now and I love it. I love learning about food and culture around the world but am especially loving the opportunity to learn about the Mi'kmaq food and culture. I also live in Nova Scotia but don't know as much as I'd like about Mi'kmaq culture. Thank you Veg for starting this blog and Jagej for contributing. Thanks to everyone else too who contributes.