6 Apr 2011

My Latest First World Outrage

The other day Patrick offhandedly mentioned to me that a new bakery had opened up just down the street from us. Unlike most of the things he says, this got my immediate attention.

You can pretty much bet that any time the word 'bakery' is mentioned in my presence, I'll stop what I'm doing and make this noise:


"Yah, it's an Albertan or Saskatchewan bakery or something?" he said. "I think it was called Prairie Girl."

And that's when I nearly crapped myself.

Since moving to Toronto from Alberta over ten years ago (OMG! Ten years?), I have been missing the sweet, sweet edible love that is western baked goods. Matrimonial Cake, Peanut Butter Slice, Puffed Wheat Squares, Regular and Mint Nanaimo Bars, Alberta Honey Tarts, Lemon Poppyseed Cake - and the Grand Poobah of prairie treats: Saskatoon Berry Pie.

*Droooooool* Source: Saskatoonberry.com
Whenever I've described Saskatoon berries to people, I hear, "So, they're like blueberries?" No, goddamit, they are NOT like blueberries. They are heaven in the mouth. They are sweet orbs of love. They are a taste sensation that your little Ontario minds can't wrap around. And when you put Saskatoon berries in pie (or pierogies, tarts, cobbler, crisp, pancakes ... *slobber*), you create perfection. Pure, calorie-filled perfection.

Surely a place called Prairie Girl Bakery would carry this western staple and satisfy my fix. So, despite being in the midst of some editing work, I put on my underwear shoes, grabbed my purse and headed out.

If you read my blog regularly, you'll by now know that if I've gone into detail about something I'm excited about and have a big, long lead-up for it, you know the story is headed toward something soul-crushing.

Like this:

Fucking. Cupcakes.

How dare they use the prairie name in vain! I didn't realize "prairie" had joined the ranks of other meaningless words like 'unique' and 'social media expert'. YOU KILL ME, PRAIRIE GIRL BAKERY.

Toronto surely needed another cupcake shop. But you have red velvet cupcakes, you say? WHO GIVES A SHIT. It's a cupcake with red friggin' dye in it. Enjoy eating ground-up bugs, you Upper Canadian hipster chumps! I HOPE YOU CHOKE ON IT.




I have calmed down since initially writing this post, thanks to an emergency Ativan that we kept from one of my many previous run-ins with the dentist.

Now that I'm in a more mellow place, let me say that I do not bear Prairie Girl Bakery any ill will and will probably shop there one day. In fact, it's miraculous that cupcake crumbs aren't falling from my mouth and onto the keyboard as I type this.

However, should anyone know of a Toronto-based restaurant or "import" company that provides Saskatoon berries and Saskatoon berry products (besides jam and syrup - I've been able to hunt those down), please pass their name along to me. I will be their very best customer.

If there isn't such a place, there really should be. I mean, if we can get dragon fruit from Asia, we can surely ship some berries (or at worst - frozen Saskatoon berry pies) from a few provinces over, right? So, if you're an entrepreneur who wants to start a business but you just need a good idea, there it is: Saskatoon berries. And Puffed Wheat Squares. And Matrimonial Cake. Oh, also lacking? A good donair place. There - that's two good businesses (or one amazing business).


Tamara 12:21 pm, April 06, 2011  

Here's something that may either enrage or enraptures you; I once made a Saskatoon berry swiss meringue buttercream and put it on cupcakes.

Father of the Monkey,  12:52 pm, April 06, 2011  

Calm down and breath deeply. Go to your happy place. OK. Try this link: http://www.augustsharvest.com/wtb.php

Now it is true that Saskatoons are NOT as good once they have been frozen - they turn watery - but perhaps these will get you through this crisis.

psychsarah,  12:53 pm, April 06, 2011  

Not quite Toronto, but August Harvest CSA (community shared agriculture) had Saskatoon Berry Pies last year. They're based outside of Stratford, but probably the closest outlet to you is at the St. Jacobs Farmer's Market. I believe they were frozen pies, but pretty tasty nonetheless. Perhaps a road trip is in order?

heidi,  1:00 pm, April 06, 2011  

I have a saskatoon pie in my freezer - sure that doesn't help you at all since I'm in Alberta - I just felt I need to tell you - mowahahaha.

Jason,  1:32 pm, April 06, 2011  

Very funny post. You had me snort a few times.

Someone on Chowhound was complaining about the very same thing! (Maybe it was you?) http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/775913#6432217

I have family out west and must concur that a Saskatoonberry-serving bakery would fare very well in Toronto. I heard that the owner of Prairie Girl Bakery is actually from Saskatchewan, so maybe she'll catch wind of this post and make a "true" prairie cupcake (like Tamara's) as a monthly special.

Father of the Monkey,  2:05 pm, April 06, 2011  

Borrowing (and twisting) a line from Douglas Adams: Saskatoons are almost, but not entirely, unlike blueberries.

Anonymous,  2:54 pm, April 06, 2011  

Just de-lurking from Washington State to say that my grandma made puffed wheat squares every year for Christmas as a "speical treat" and then would divy them all up between her kids and grandkids. I never knew anyone else that had ever even heard of them. Ok, that's all. Love your blog!

Anonymous,  3:19 pm, April 06, 2011  

Ok - now I need to know: What is Matrimonial Cake? And Puffed Wheat Squares? And Saskatoon Berry Pie is basically pie with this "orb of love" in it, right?

Teach me, Obi Jen.

Missy 6:09 pm, April 06, 2011  

OMG Jen - my stomach hurts already from laughing so hard.

I'm originally from Saskatchewan (born but not raised in, where esle? Saskatoon LOL) but now live in crappy, rainy - I mean - beautiful, majestic Washington state. Just the mention of all the delectable "prairie" treats made my mouth water and wish I had thought to open such bakery and then I scrolled down and learned the truth...

Thanks for giving me something to giggle about for the rest of the day.

Lemur 6:57 pm, April 06, 2011  

And imperial cookies! And apple jacks! I share your prairie girl rage.

Karen 7:33 pm, April 06, 2011  

Haha. Meaningless words ... like "social media expert." Hahaha.

Blair Frodelius 8:22 pm, April 06, 2011  

I AM a social media expert on Saskatoon Berries. In fact, these will probably do you up nicely.


Di Smith 1:07 am, April 07, 2011  

You kill me. Seriously. And I've never eaten anything that included Saskatoon berries. Ever. But now I will hunt one down, to be sure. Does that make you a social media expert?

Jennifer 5:04 pm, April 07, 2011  

I've got to agree with you on the cupcakes. I used to like them but my city (Austin, TX, USA) is filled with cupcake shops. I can't find a frigging beignet but we've got cupcakes up the wazoo. Now, please educate me (in the form of recipes!) on this Saskatoon berry pie, matrimonial cake, puffed wheat squares.

Anonymous,  6:31 pm, April 07, 2011  




Anonymous,  6:35 pm, April 07, 2011  


It says you can email or call and have frozen berries shipped, which are not as good as fresh, but it's a start.

Meghan,  8:09 pm, April 07, 2011  

Looked up a recipe for donair sauce, have to say it reads like a recipe out of the 50's Housewife Experiment! Yucko!!

Bobbi Price-Pettett,  2:12 pm, April 08, 2011  

Jen . . .what about Plum Pie, Apple Dumplings, Cake Donuts, . . .omg, so many other Prairie delights . . .even though these ones are probably from the Alberta Prairie . . .I make Saskatoon syrup too . . .one thing about living in British Columbia . .. those folks who grew up here seem to prefer huckleberries and blueberries, leaving all of those lovely Saskatoons for the prairie folks who crossed the Rockies . . .

Anonymous,  4:08 am, April 13, 2011  

Mmmm Saskatoon berry pie.....seriously tho, the Prairie Girl cupcakes rock my world. Highly recommended.

Voiceless Wonder 9:43 pm, May 26, 2011  

Come visit us in Ottawa when the Saskatoon berries are in season. Farm Boy always has Saskatoon Berry pies at that time of year. YUM!

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Need words? I'm a Toronto-based freelance writer who injects great ones into blogs, websites, magazines, ads and more. So many services, one lovely Jen (with one 'n').

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