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Heard Up North: "Snert"

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Mention skating the Rideau Canal and it's hard to not think of Beavertails. But there are other comfort foods associated with outdoor skating. In the Netherlands one would be "snert." That's Dutch pea soup, thick enough to stand a spoon and considered even better a day or so after it's made.

Snert is an old stand-by for some, for others it's a brand new experience. Tracey Boyd copied an expert and finally got the hang of it, in time to feature hot snert at a busy fund-raising booth for last Saturday's "Skate the Lake" event in Portland, Ontario. She's today's Heard Up North.

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Tracy Boyd serves up a cup of Snert in Portland, Ontario

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Reported by

Lucy Martin
Ottawa Correspondent

Tracey Boyd: “I'm Tracey Boyd, and I'm in Elgin, and I run the first Portland Guide unit, here in Portland.  I made this snert. Snert is a Dutch pea soup. I can't pronounce it properly, so I'm not going to try. But Marco Smits, actually, his mother taught me how to make it. He filmed it, while she was making it. So it's a really thick, stick-to-your-ribs pea soup. It has peas, obviously, split peas, carrots, potatoes, leeks, onions and that's about it.

Reporter: “Do they throw in a ham bone?”

Tracey Boyd: “No, there isn't. Sometimes you can put Oktoberfest sausage in it, or some pork. We don't have any meat in it here, just because it was easier to make and a little more profit for us, 'cause we're really working hard to earn some money here.”

Reporter: “Was this the first time you made it?”

Tracey Boyd: “First time. Seven batches in one day. There was about three trial and errors, before that.”

Reporter: “What goes wrong?”

Tracey Boyd: “Well, the first time, I used a different recipe, so it wasn't very good. The second time, I couldn't get it thick and I was using the wrong peas – I was using yellow instead of green. The third time was perfect! And we just ran with it then.”

Reporter: “Do you have enough to supply the crowd here today?”

Tracey Boyd: “We're getting down, actually, we're down to two last containers. So probably another  thirty bowls, and that'll be it.”

Reporter: “And you're raising money for a particular cause?”

Tracey Boyd: “We are. We're trying to go to go to Nunavut in 2012. (Note: Nunavut is Canada's largest and newest territory.) And we're going to go up and spend a week, in the summer, up in Iquluit (the capital city of Nunavut, formerly Frobisher Bay). It's very pricey – as you can imagine – flying out of Ottawa to a northern city. So, it's going to cost each girl about $2,300. We've a lot of fund raising, a lot of donations and a whole lotta work ahead of us for the next year!”

Reporter: “What made you choose Nunavut?”

Tracey Boyd: “The girls wanted it. We asked the girls, talked to them, and we kinda looked at a map and said 'Hey! That looks like a cool place!' Put it forth, majority won. And that's where we're headed! (someone sneezes)  In the cold! This is a good preparation for it, I'm thinking!”

Bonus Video: "My Mom (Anneke Smits) Makes the Best Snert"

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