Saturday, 1 October 2011

Canada's Own Thanksgiving!

Canadian Thanksgiving is always celebrated on the second Monday of October.  But, that was not always the case.  A few years ago when I was a contributing writer to an educational textbook, I discovered that our holiday had an interesting beginning.

The very first Canadian Thanksgiving commemoration took place in 1578 in what is now called the province of Newfoundland.  According to historical records, Martin Frobisher, a British explorer and navigator, arrived in Newfoundland.  There, he and his crew held a ceremony.  It was to give thanks for surviving the long journey across the Atlantic.

Other settlers who later arrived continued holding the same thankful observance.  These were thought to have influenced the Canadian Thanksgiving tradition.  Now what followed is the confusing part so I will break it down: 

  • For a few hundred years Thanksgiving was celebrated in either late October or early November. 
  • The first Thanksgiving Day in Canada after confederation was observed on April 15, 1872. It had nothing to do with any harvest festival but rather it celebrated the recovery, from a serious illness, of the Prince of Wales. He later became King Edward the seventh. 
  • There is no record of a Thanksgiving Day between 1873 and 1879.  
  • In 1880-1898 Thanksgiving was celebrated on a Thursday in November. 
  • By 1908 the holiday was predetermined on a Monday in October. 
  • In 1921, Parliament passed the Armistice Day Act, which stated that “Thanksgiving would be observed on Armistice Day”, which was November 11. 
  • Ten years later Parliament adopted an amendment to the Act that stated that “November 11 would be known as Remembrance Day and Thanksgiving".
  • Thanksgiving became an official holiday in 1957 when Parliament announced that there would be a day of general Thanksgiving to celebrate ‘the almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada had been blessed’.  
  • Until Thanksgiving became an official holiday in 1957, Parliament announced the date of the holiday every year. Ever since then we celebrate it on the second Monday of October.

I make the traditional turkey dinner with all of the fixings.  Usually there are plenty of leftovers.  I like to make my version of a recipe that was served to me in England many years ago.  The dish was called Bubble and Squeak.  It is usually made from the cold leftover vegetables of a roast beef dinner.  I use the leftovers from a turkey dinner.  If you are a vegetarian there are ample   versions of this recipe available online.  Here is my adaptation:

Gloria’s Bubble and Squeak

It really depends on how many leftovers you have and how many people are going to eat.  I base my recipe on four.  My measurements are very approximate. 


Cube two or three cups of leftover turkey into bite size pieces combining dark and white meat. 
About three cups  of a mixed assortment of veggies like brussel sprouts, mashed potatoes, carrots, green beans, squash, peas.
1 chopped onion
¼ cup of vegetable oil for frying
Season with salt, pepper, sprinkle of dry sage

Pour enough oil to cover the bottom of a heated heavy duty frying pan. 
Once it sizzles add the chopped onion and lightly fry.
Add the vegetables and the leftover turkey mixing them together in the pan.
Add a bit more oil and press the bubble down into the pan
Fry over a moderate heat until it is browned underneath, about 15 minutes.
Turn the bubble over and add the rest of the oil and fry until the other side is browned.

You can then serve this as a light meal or as part of a brunch with fried eggs, sausages, bacon and sliced tomatoes.   Bubble and Squeak is a great way to use up leftovers from Thanksgiving Dinner.

In the childhood memories of every good cook, there's a large kitchen, a warm stove, a simmering pot and a mom.  ~ Barbara Costikyan

1 comment:

Mama of 1 Princess said...

I loved this post!!! And the recipe I look forward to trying! We always have so many left overs when its just the 3 of us! So this year it will be nice to have something OTHER THEN soup to use the leftovers for!!!!! Great post, as always Gloria!!!