Kokum’s Bannock and Beyond

Review by Susan Pretty, Photos by Darren McChristie

Caroline Paavola started baking out of her home approximately four years ago as a way of seeking solace after the death of her son. After applying to the city to have her home kitchen certified, Kokum’s Bannock and Beyond was born. With an active Facebook page of almost 3,000 followers, one can easily keep up with the many bake sales and dinner specials.

Caroline had a desire to bake from a young age, after watching her parents cook and bake over the fire in their community of Namaygoosisagagun First Nation. Kokum means “grandmother,” and Caroline  is currently raising several grandchildren, and has others who visit quite often. Her daughter Rebecca Paavola also has joined the team, and her specialty is the low-carb, low sugar desserts.

While chatting, Caroline whips up a quick batch of eight bannocks. There’s no looking at a recipe or measuring. Mixing together a dough of flour, baking powder, and water, she shallow-fries the golden fry-bread within minutes. Suddenly kids are in the kitchen looking for a taste, and sandwiches are quickly made for the little ones.

The menu consists of bannock burgers, dogs, and tacos. Pies and cakes are also a specialty. Caroline caters too, and has churned out 300 bannock dogs without blinking an eye. Christmas and party trays are also available for pickup, with a wide selection of delicious treats and squares. Bake sales happen on the regular out of her northside home.

Kokum’s Bannock and Beyond will also be at the Thunder Bay Farmers Market (the one that used to be in Victoriaville Mall but is now situated in the North End Recreation Centre on Huron Avenue) every Friday from 9 am to 1 pm cooking breakfast and lunch—look for her peppy new logo designed by her niece Aungelle Wabigwan.

It may not always be easy running a busy shop and caring for young children at the same time, but Caroline makes it work. Her daughter Rebecca says “the time spent together is priceless.”

For more information, visit facebook.com/kokumsbannock.