Canada Mail says everyone makes Nanaimo bars "a little different"


Joyce Hardcastle's Nanaimo bars, with the correct fill to base ratio.

Flyer / Julie and Joyce Hardcastle

Despite heavy criticism that the so-called "Nanaimo bar," described in its latest issue of the label, has a cumbersome and imprecise fill rate and basis, the Canada Post awaits its controversial version of the famous West Coast treaty.

On Wednesday, the Crown corporation tried to to stamp comments about their heavy Nanaimo bar, arguing effectively that they did not make a mistake, because there is no right way to make one.

"We understand that there are some strong views on the proportions of the layer" said Canada Post spokesman Hayley Magermans. "But we also understand that there are many visions of these beloved treats across the country. This took into account our imaging decisions.

That sound you heard was from veterans of desserts and pastries fainting all over this great dessert-loving nation. Although there may be several ways to create a bar in Nanaimo, virtually every authority on the subject seems to agree that a more equal proportion between filling the cream and the crumbly base is still needed.

Stamp from Canada Post's Nanaimo bar.

"As the Nanaimo bar is built with a bake cake recipe, the cake piece really needs to be thicker," said Dr. Lenore Newman, Canada's research chairman at Fraser Valley University, who wrote a book about Canadian culture and cuisine. "What is on the seal does not even seem structurally sound. "

Joyce Hardcastle, considered the top authority in Nanaimo bars after winning a 1986 competition to find the top revenue, could not help but agree. The Canada Post seal drew a sigh from the veteran dessert maker, who received a new batch of famous candy in his freezer.

"They should have a deeper background," Hardcastle said of the seal, which was created by Vancouver's Subplot Design, although the image itself is the product of Mary Ellen Johnson, South Carolina's photorealistic food painter.

If the American artist had consulted the West Coast confectioner, she would probably have learned that in a perfect bar in Nanaimo, "the two lower layers are just the same," according to Hardcastle.

Even B.C.'s Minister of Public Security pondered, which was appropriate, as several online commentators said the seal looked like a personal attack. "This is definitely not a Nanaimo bar," said Mike Farnworth, a member of the Port Coquitlam MLA.

But the postal service will not be ashamed. No matter that Hardcastle's recipe is considered the gold standard, or that social media has smuggled the label since its inception – in addition to ensuring that all three layers are present, the Canada Post seems to feel the rest a sweet anarchy.

"In developing the Sweet Canada label, we seek not only to present some of Canada's best-known traditional desserts but also do the best to represent the many adaptations and variations of each recipe that occur as professional bakers , chefs and who Love at home prepares them for customers, friends and family, "said Magermans.

"The fact that each stamp is portrayed on the image of an old-fashioned recipe card speaks to the large variety of Canadians who regularly make these delights – all a little different."

One has to ask, of course, at what point a Nanaimo bar is so "different" to the point of being something totally different. The Nanaimo bar on the label looks suspiciously like the cheesecake inspired by the Nanaimo bar pictured on the Kraft Canada website, for example. But in a world where nothing matters, the traditions of Vancouver Island are the least important of all, maybe it's also a Nanaimo bar. Maybe the butter pie is just a Nanaimo bar in a tin of muffins. Maybe this cake is a Nanaimo bar.

Anyway, Canada Post just wants you to make desserts. And send email.

"It is our hope that these stamps inspire those who love to make them do more – be they Nanaimo Bars, Butter Tarts or the others – and those who do not, look for a recipe they enjoy, make a batch and share" , said Magermans.

with files by Nick Eagland

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