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Sunday Newsletter 2000-06Su.

August 6, 2000.

I'm back, invading your computer for the sixth time with more Canadian facts and knowledge. This past week has set a record for responses, comments and compliments received here. I am very happy to report that everything I have received this week has been positive, so I hope to be able to continue to develop the newsletter structured around your input. One of the other features we will be offering in the near future is an in-depth column written weekly by our editor Michael Hora. Stories will include the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the Trans-Canada Trail and the British Columbia aerospace industry. Okay enough of this. Onto this week's newsletter!



What Canadian band declined to perform at Woodstock in 1969? Answer near the end of newsletter.



Alexander Graham Bell

This past Wednesday marked the 78th year the world has been without the wondrous mind of this inventor. Along with Thomas Alva Edison and Nikola Tesla, Bell is considered near the top when ranking 19th and 20th century inventors.

Born at Edinburgh, Scotland, on March 3, 1847, Bell came to Canada from Scotland with his parents in 1870, originally staying in Brantford, Ontario. Bell and his father began working as speech therapists for the deaf in Brantford. Using a scientific approach to his work coupled with his knowledge of the electric telegraph, his invention of a successful microphone eventually led him to the invention of the telephone. This was achieved between the years 1874 and 1876. By then Bell was teaching at a school for the deaf in Boston, Massachusetts, during the school year and spending his summers with his family at Brantford. He patented the telephone and promoted its development in the USA by founding the Bell Telephone Company in 1876. His victories in lawsuits over telephone patents made him very rich by the age of 35. Watching over his business from offices in Washington DC, Bell bought land at Baddeck, Nova Scotia, and built himself a house there named Beinn Bhreagh ("Beautiful Mountain" in Gaelic).

Bell spent the rest of his life (mostly in Nova Scotia) in his pursuit of other scientific research. He collaborated with American S.P. Langley in the development of a steam-powered aircraft during the 1890s, funded the early atomic experiments of A.M. Michelson, and himself worked on the photoelectric cell, the iron lung, desalination of seawater, improvements to the phonograph and even attempted to breed a "super race" of sheep on his land at Baddeck.

His wife, Mabel Gardiner Hubbard (1857-1923), whom Bell first met owing to her deafness, shared in his interests and was a full member of the Aerial Experiment Association. This association was formed by Bell in 1907. After some early experiments with "man-lifting kites", the AEA turned to gasoline powered biplanes, which they called "aerodromes", successfully building several aircraft.

The flight of the Silver Dart at Baddeck on February 23, 1909, is generally accepted as the first manned flight in Canada. The AEA then ventured from the air to water working on "hydrodromes", or hydrofoil boats, and in 1917 set a world water speed record with the craft HD-4 (114.04 kilometres per hour) that remained unbroken for more than a decade. The HD-4 and other Bell memorabilia have been preserved in Baddeck at a national historic site dedicated to his life.

Alexander Graham Bell died at Baddeck on August 2, 1922, at the age of 75.



Just Say Cheese Please

A recent study by the Dairy Farmers of Canada found that consumers are familiar with only six of the 150 Canadian-made varieties of cheese. This is a shame, since many of the others deserve a chance to be tried either by themselves, on a cracker, or as a replacement for an old standby in one of your own recipes.

Some of the more recognised Canadian varieties produced (not exclusively) here include; Baker's, Bocconcini, Brick, Brie, Camembert, Cheddar, Colby, Edam, Farmer's, Feta, Gouda, Gruyre, Havarti, Limburger, Marble, Mont St-Benot, Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, Muenster, Oka, Parmesan, Provolone, Quark, Ricotta, Saint-Pauline, Swiss and Trappist. I just picked up some Saint-Pauline at my local Canada Safeway store and tried it for the first time... DELICIOUS! Canada's best-known distinctive cheese, other than Cheddar, is Oka cheese, originally developed and made by monks at the Trappist monastery in Oka, near Montreal.

The latest figures from 1997 report that 350 000 tons (318 million kilograms) were produced here in Canada and that Canadians consume 10.63 kilograms of cheese per capita. This consumption is three times that of 1950, aided by a wider selection of varieties, keener merchandising, transportation and refrigeration improvements along with better packaging techniques.

Cheese is a valuable source of protein, vitamins and minerals, and is a useful alternative to meat in one's diet, Cheddar, for example, is composed of approximately 26 percent protein.

It takes about ten litres of milk to produce one kilogram of most varieties of cheese. Today, most cheese is produced in large, automated factories. Opened in 1973, the plant at Notre-Dame-du-Bon-Conseil in Quebec had the distinction of being the worlds largest. Today there a five such plants in Canada, each producing just under 100 000 kilograms daily, from more than one million litres of milk!

Cheese varieties differ because of variations in the production process. Differences in water, fat and salt contents of the cheese result in differing firmness and taste. The length and temperature of storage and the type of bacteria (yeast or mould) have major effects on flavour and appearance. For example, white mould (Penicillium camemberti) is used for Camembert cheese, while the blue-green mold (Penicillium roqueforti) is used for blue cheeses. Most cheeses are ripened for periods of two weeks to over five years to develop their distinctive flavours. A few cheeses are not ripened and are consumed fresh like Cottage, Cream and Ricotta cheeses.

Here is a simple shelf-life guide for your reference:

Shelf Life
Cheese Category Moisture (Between 1C and 3C)

Fresh 60% to 80% 2 weeks to 2 months
Soft 50% to 60% 1 to 2 months
Semi-soft 40% to 60% 2 to 4 months
Firm 35% to 45% 3 months to over a year
Hard 25% to 35% 1 to 5 years

For more information you can contact:

Shana Bailey
Communication Officer
Canadian Dairy Commission
1525 Carling Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0Z2
Telephone: +1-613-792-2035
Fax: +1-613-998-4492
E-mail: cdc-ccl@em.agr.ca



Grilled Cheddar Cheese and Ham Sandwiches.

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
8 6" x 4" slices of country-style bread (about 1/2" thick)
1/2 pound cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
1/4 pound thinly sliced smoked ham
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 large tomato, thinly sliced

Mix first four ingredients in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange four bread slices on work surface. Divide half of cheese equally among bread slices. Top with ham, then onion, tomato and remaining cheese. Top sandwiches with remaining bread. Spread herb butter on outside of sandwich tops and bottoms.

Heat large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add sandwiches and cook until bottoms are golden; about 3 minutes. Turn sandwiches over, cover skillet and cook until cheese melts and bread is golden; about 3 minutes.

Serves four.

Bonus recipe (mostly because I LOVE pizza, and cheese is featured this week).

Olive Mushroom and Bocconcini Pizza.

1 12" (30 cm) pizza crust or 4 pita breads
1 cup (250 ml) pizza sauce
Ground hot peppers
Fresh basil
1 cup (250 ml) sliced white mushrooms
1/2 green bell pepper, trimmed and sliced
Canadian Bocconcini cheese, sliced
Green and black marinated pitted olives
1/2 onion, chopped
Dried oregano
Olive oil

Spread pizza sauce on pizza crust or pita bread. Season to taste with ground hot peppers. Top with fresh basil, mushrooms, green pepper, Canadian Bocconcini cheese slices, olives and onion. Season to taste with oregano and sprinkle with olive oil.

Preheat barbecue to maximum. When barbecue is hot, reduce heat to medium-high and turn off one burner. Generously oil grill. Place pizza over turned off burner. Grill for 10 to 12 minutes or until cheese has melted. Check crust often to avoid burning, reducing heat to minimum if needed. When using pita bread, grill over low heat for shorter period.

Remove pizza from grill and cut into eight slices. Serve immediately with green salad and spicy flavoured oil.

Serves six.



"If we are to have any hope of controlling the elements that will transform our lives, an understanding of science is imperative." --Dr. David Suzuki, as heard on the CBC December 16, 1978.



American President Bill Clinton called Prime Minister Jean Chretien with an emergency. "Our largest condom factory has exploded!" the president cried. "My people's favourite form of birth control! This is a true disaster!"

"Bill, the Canadian people would be happy to do anything within their power to help you," replied the prime minister.

"I do need your help," said Clinton. "Could you possibly send 1 000 000 condoms ASAP to tide us over?"

"Why certainly! I'll get right on it!" said Chretien.

"Oh, and one more small favour, please?" said Clinton. "Could the condoms be red, white and blue in colour at least 10 inches long and 4 inches in diameter?" said Clinton.

"No problem," replied the prime minister and, with that, Chretien hung up and called the president of Trojan. "I need a favour. You've got to make 1 000 000 condoms right away and send them to America."

"Consider it done," said the president of Trojan.

"Great! Now listen. They have to be red, white and blue in colour, at least 10 inches long and 4 inches in diameter."

"Easily done. Anything else?"

"Yeah," said the prime minister, "and print 'Made in Canada, Size Medium' on each one."



White Rock, British Columbia -- A city (1957) just north of the 49th parallel (Canadian / US boundary) and south-east of Vancouver, it was named after a large rock on the beach, painted white to guide mariners. There is an aboriginal legend that a chief hurled the rock across the Strait of Georgia and agreed to live with the girl he loved where it landed.



Probably not known as their best career move, it was the Toronto-based "rock orchestra" band known as Lighthouse who turned down the invitation to Woodstock. Band leaders Skip Prokop and Paul Hoffert had heard that the water was going to be spiked with drugs and that few security precautions were being taken at Woodstock and decided in was in their best interest not to attend. But band member and bassist Grant Fullerton said it was their manager's decision and he pulled the band from performing after they were already booked because he thought it was going to be "a bad scene". Sounds to me like a different version with the same result.


Tune in next week for stories on Anorexia Nervosa, postal codes and how to better understand them, and an interesting story on James Barry and her (his) role in Canada's military history. Also a piece on Lloydminster, Alberta/Saskatchewan, our weekly biography treat and the dispelling of a sports myth! Hope you can't wait. Remember, any ideas, questions or contributions can be directed to me at either tashakat@home.com or john@factscanada.com. I do also need more fairly clean jokes with a Canadian flavour. If you have a folder stashed away in your e-mail program for jokes, run a search using the "find" function and send them to me at jokes@factscanada.com. All contributions will be acknowledged unless you wish to remain anonymous. See you next week. John.



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