October 18, 2017 10:51:58 AM
Oh, to be Canadian and live in the United States. Then you'd have the opportunity to celebrate two Thanksgivings! Yes, Canada celebrates the bountiful harvest on the second Monday of October, and we celebrate on the fourth Thursday of November. Reason leads me to think that the Canadian harvest would be earlier as they are further north.
The official date for Canada was decided by their Parliament in 1957. Although the history behind the holiday is a little vague (as is ours), celebrations have been held to mark everything from Martin Frobisher's successful crossing of the Northwest Passage in 1578, to victories on the battle field, to the recovery to health of the Prince of Wales in 1872. What our two countries have in common for the holiday is taking time out to be with family and be mindful of all we are thankful for.
While the Canadian thanksgiving isn't as strongly associated with shopping as it is in America, there is football. The Thanksgiving Day Classic is a doubleheader played by teams in the Canadian Football League on the Monday of the long weekend.
The menus of the two countries are very similar, probably because of the time of the year and what is available. I saw lots of root vegetable recipes, desserts with spices and pumpkin, and turkey. Muriel Porteous, formerly of Canada, now of Columbus, gave me her recipe for carrot cake which she has made for 30 years. She told me that for her family, Thanksgiving was more of a religious or spiritual day.
Although the following recipes are Canadian in origin, they are perfect for our November Thanksgiving. And here's hoping the weather will be in the spirit of fall then.
One of the recipes is for Nanaimo bars. Nanaimo is a town on Vancouver Island, and I've included this recipe in honor of my oldest friend, Pooh Ossa, who lives there. The recipe comes from a contest held by Nanaimo Mayor Graeme Roberts in 1986 to find the ultimate Nanaimo bar recipe. This one was the winner, submitted by Joyce Hardcastle. The background of Nanaimo bars remains a culinary mystery.
Anne Freeze was a restaurant general manager and owner of a gourmet food store before moving to Columbus. She can be reached at [email protected]
MURIEL'S CARROT CAKE
1 cup sugar
1 cup sunflower or canola oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups grated raw carrots
1 1/2 cups grated raw apples
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional
Add the carrots, apples, raisins, walnuts and mix well.
CREAM CHEESE ICING
1 package (4 ounces) soft cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
For the bottom layer:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 cups graham wafer crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
1 cup coconut
For the second layer:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons cream
2 tablespoons vanilla custard powder
2 cups icing sugar
For the third layer:
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (1 ounce each)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
ULTIMATE BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH BACON, BEER, MAPLE SYRUP AND MUSTARD
1 1/4 pounds Brussels sprouts, tough ends removed and halved
4 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup beer (preferably dark ale)
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon bacon fat or unsalted butter
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs