Today is Canada's Thanksgiving. Is it the same as ours, with table groaning with family dishes and a big bird?Yes. Although there are some surprises that would shock us Yanks to the south and west of them.
Of course the big difference is the dates. We celebrate on the fourth Thursday of November and it's the stepping stone into the Christmas season (after all there are some big box stores that open at eight PM that night).The Canadians always celebrate the second Monday of every October.It was started in 1897 with the chosen day only gelling in 1957.Both countries have the English Reformation and the Puritans to thank for the day, since both had harvest festivals and "days of thanksgiving." Surprisingly one day of thanksgiving evolved in Guy Fawkes Day after the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1606. The Puritans , as we know, brought it to America but the Canadians were already celebrating as early as 1578, thanks to Martin Frobisher who navigated his ship through the treacherous Northwest Passage. The French Canadians call it "Action de grace" or an act of grace.Only the Atlantic Provinces such as Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Labrador consider it an optional holiday. It sort of falls under the Days of Rest Act where government employees and banks have a designated day off. What is great about the Canadian Thanksgiving is that the indigenous people are also thanked for their generosity of food and land. We need to incorporate that into our blessings.this November.
What do the Canadians eat? Is it the same as what we Americans eat?. Yes and no.Many Loyalists left the Colonies after the Revolution and headed up north. They brought turkey and stuffing recipes with them.and tweaked some of our recipes along the way. Their pumpkin pie is a bit spicier than ours with the addition of such spices as ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. Ours is a bit more custardy and sweeter. We also have apple pies along with that Southern classic pecan. Canadians are also big on breadcrumb or rice stuffing. while we Yanks also like that,We vary it with oysters and sausage. Our neighbors up north also prefer healthier breads, going for whole wheat loaves while we go mad for those yummy King's Hawaiian rolls , or artesenal breads. The French Canadians have a decidedly more Gallic spin on their holiday meal.Some families may make apple tarte tatin, a buttery, fruity pie with a base of puff pastry,Others may end their feasting with a quartre quatre cake, a twist on pound cake.Varied recipes include adding dried cranberries , walnuts or even extra vanilla.Their dindon or turkey is stuffed with a flavorful mix of pork and beef,, spiced with poultry seasoning and cloves. Russet potatoes give it body.
Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian readers. Enjoy the feasting and leftovers along with family and friends. It is a day of celebration but also of thankfulness and thought.