Before my lunch today, I enjoyed a Bloody Caesar cocktail, made with Clamato. If you know what I mean, you’re almost certainly a Canadian reader; if not, you’re from another part of the world. In fact, I’m not sure that non-Canadians even know what Clamato juice is, so I shall explain.
Let me start with this quote from liquor.com: “In 1969, the owners of the Calgary Inn in Calgary, Alberta, asked Walter Chell, the Montenegrin who presided over their Owl’s Nest bar, to create a recipe to represent their new Italian restaurant in a contest. So Chell took some vodka, a bit of Worcestershire and a little Tabasco, added a mix of clam and tomato juices and dubbed it the “Bloody Caesar.” It sounds rather odd, but it’s the national drink of Canada…”
His mixing of the cocktail is doing it the hard way. The easy way is to buy cans of a concoction called Clamato, which itself is a spiced mix of tomato juice and clam juice, and then to pour a can into a glass with a good measure of vodka and several ice cubes. That’s how I made my drink today.
You may wonder why anyone would bother, since Bloody Marys are so common, and so good. The answer is that Bloody Caesars are better — less apt to be “gluggy,” and thus more easily quaffed. There is only the merest hint of seafood taste, so the resultant cocktail is refreshing and well, yummy.
But where can you buy Clamato in France — where people don’t even know what clam juice is? (It’s the juice inside clam shells, silly. In Toronto, Jan always used bottled clam juice to make bouillabaisse.)
Aha! That’s when we turned to an online shopping service called My American Market, which Jan discovered some time ago when searching for a Clamato source. Before I go more deeply into My American Market, I’ll show you what the Clamato Tomato Cocktail looks like:
As for My American Market, it bills itself as the No. 1 American épicerie (grocery shop) online, since 2009. It’s not exactly a place for bargains, as each small can of Clamato will set you back 1.69 euros. But for occasional treats, it’s worthwhile — and I did love my Bloody Caesar at lunch.
But that’s not all. When Jan was buying the Clamato juice, she asked if there was anything else that I’d like her to search, and I replied “Baked beans.” That happens to be a favourite canned food of mine, and I wanted to see if we could get an American version — which tends to be sweeter and a bit spicier than the British-made Heinz beans we can buy in many French groceries. And the answer was yes!
The beans we bought were these B & M Original Baked Beans, made in Maine. The price is a rather silly 4.09 euros per can (Yikes!) so we bought just four cans, to give them a try. And here’s what the can looks like:
I had never seen this brand when we lived in Canada, so I was anxious to try them. And so I heated them up as an accompaniment to a Mexican-style dish I made one day for breakfast, involving tortilla chips, creme fraiche, and a fried egg. And here’s my breakfast:
As you can see, the beans are particularly dark (I presume that’s the molasses showing). What you can’t know is that they are a lot sweeter than “normal” Heinz beans, and so I like them a lot. Given the atrocious price, I doubt that they’ll become a staple in our house, but they are indeed delicious.
In fact, I’m planning to have them with a Toulouse sausage for lunch on Saturday. Bliss! Jan will miss the excitement, because she’ll be out at a craft class, making a Christmas wreath, and having lunch there. But she doesn’t care for baked beans very much anyway.