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Feast on the Canadiana

Five months. 10 provinces. Three territories. 37,000 kilometres. The scale didn’t scare away Lindsay Anderson and Dana VanVeller – not when there was good food to discover.

Anderson and VanVeller are the authors of a new book called Feast, a collection of stories and recipes that gets to the heart of Canada through the stomach.

“We were kind of just chatting on a camping trip about Canadian food and how nobody has really managed to pin point it – well not nobody!” Anderson said. “We kind of thought, for ourselves personally, we didn’t have an understanding of what Canadian food was.”

They spent eight months planning the road trip, and left in June 2013 to start their investigation. The result was an award-winning blog and, after encouragement, Feast the book.

“The book came out of our journey, and the recipes that were contributed came from people that we met as we were travelling,” said Anderson.

Anderson and VanVeller funded part of their trip by crowd funding and writing to travel boards across Canada.

One leg of the trip was in New Brunswick, where they met Camilla at Kouchibouguac National Park. She told them, “‘Yes of course you should look at the park its beautiful, it’s beautiful, but based on your mission what I really think you should do is just go have a cooking lesson with my mother,’” recounted VanVeller. “She fully got what we were aiming to do and instead of doing just what was required of her.”

Anderson remembered being shown around the mountain foothills near Dawson City, Yukon during the summer.

She said, “It never properly gets dark there, so you can go to bed at like 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning and kind of wake up at 7:00 and feel pretty good to go. “

“The sidewalks are still raised boardwalks and there are all these buildings that are left from 100, 150 years ago that they’ve kind of preserved but not really,” she said. “They’re just there, so you feel like you’re in history.”

The two authors also spent some time camping.

“Some nights were really rough,” said Anderson. “We were in the Northwest Territories and our tent was falling apart and our tarp was too small. A massive storm was moving in, we ended up having to move our stuff and taking shelter just to not be swept away by the storm, but the night before that the weather was fine and we made paneer!”

Both writers had advice for students.

“Graduating from my undergrad, I had no idea that this is where I’d be. So, I’d say don’t worry if you don’t feel like you haven’t completely figured out,” Anderson said. “People once they get into their 40’s and 50’s are still learning a lot about the world and finding opportunities available to them that they didn’t know existed before.”

VanVeller added, “I feel like, the fear of failure… Like freshly graduated student have this pressure that now they have to make something huge of themselves. It just takes time and there’s gonna be a bunch of failures involved.”

Sometimes following your dreams means sacrificing certain things but the payoff could mean happiness. Anderson said that many people say the two are living the dream, “but the grass is always greener; we’ve given up a lot to make this happen.”

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