Friday, September 7, 2007

Odds and Ends

Winter has Arrived!
Well, not exactly but the first snow of the year fell yesterday (Sept. 6). It was wet and it melted as soon as it hit the ground and it only lasted for about 30 minutes, but it was definetely snow. Welcome to the arctic. Perhaps it will be an early start to winter, although recent history argues against it. For each of the last 2 years the bay has taken much longer than usual to freeze over. This has real ramifications for the people who live here because the ice is a major route of travel between nearby communities during winter and the floe edge (where the ice meets open ocean) is well populated with seals which are a major food source for some people. An early winter (or even an on time winter) wouldn't be entirely unwelcome.
In the picture below you can see the snow capping the hills in the distance.

Take out in Iqaluit
In Vancouver Dr. H and I spent many a Friday night curled up on the couch watching a movie and eating a dinner of take-out Thai food. Iqaluit is lacking in Thai resturants so tonight I tried my hand at opening my own Thai Away Home. I cooked phad thai, spring rolls and wonton soup. Dr. H gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up. Here's a picture of the finished product.

And speaking of food in the north...
The food selection here in Iqaluit is actually quite good (in spite of my previous lament about the lack of Tim Horton's). There are several grocery stores here in town, the two largest being Arctic Ventures and Northmart. Both actually have a fair selection of interesting foods, and overall the selection is probably better than in most small towns in Ontario. The produce here in Iqaluit is usually pretty fresh as it gets flown up on a regular basis. (I'll admit to recently purchasing a bunch of grapes from Chile....each with a sizable carbon footprint I'd imagine). The Northmart is a fascinating place, it's a large grocery store with a clothing section, a sporting goods section, furniture, a pharmacy, furs, and (my favorite part) a middle isle that in winter has a long row of skidoos and in summer ATVs.

When I was a resident I spent a couple of months working in Moose Factory, a small Cree town on the southern tip of James Bay connected to the south by a rail like to Timmins. The food at the Moose Factory Northern store was decent, but even more expensive than here in Iqaluit. Like many northern hospitals the doctors in Moose Factory travelled out to the smaller communities in the area to provide medical clinics. When sent out to a community we would be issued a food box containing what the hospital judged to be an adequate amount of food for the trip (food in the smaller communities was very expensive and sometimes the stores wouldn't have much in stock). The food box usually contained some spagetti, ground beef, tea, sugar, a couple of pork chops, a couple of loose carrots and onion, a banana, bread, eggs, and a litre of milk (and often a few other odds and ends). On one slow spring day in Moose all the doctors got together for an Iron Chef style cook off and pot-luck dinner. It was amazing what people came up with (I made a banana bread pudding), and great fun. Being in places where you have to make your own fun sometimes brings out the best in people...


Jean said...

Grapes and mandarin oranges freeze well if it interests you! Love the pics.I peel the mandarins and wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then freezer bags.

Kara and Matt said...

Okay, that was just cruel to put up a link to a Thai restaurant! That really makes me want to order take out! :)

Rob & Tina said...

We just found the blog and will continue to peek in! Shop lots and lots at the Northmart and Northern. Great people work there! *wink wink*

Dr. J. said...

Thanks Rob and Tina, and welcome to the blog! The Northmart is the only store I've ever been in where I could by all the furnishings for a house, all my groceries, a few furs, and a honda (aka any ATV of any make) to drive it all home on! True variety....northern style!
Dr. J.