Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving, Eh?

The second Monday in October in the states is Columbus Day, but North of the border it is Thanksgiving Day. Canadians and Americans both celebrate thanks for the harvest and bounty of many kinds. The American holiday is perhaps more tied to what is said to be the first Thanksgiving when pilgrims and Native Americans shared a meal together, but Canadian Thanksgiving history also began with early settlers gathering together to celebrate the harvest.

Other than the date, the biggest difference between the holiday traditions of the two countries is this: Brussels sprouts.

We hadn't ever been with the Canadian relatives for a Thanksgiving until just a few years ago when my sister happened to be here for American Thanksgiving. While shopping for the meal she was sure we'd forgotten the Brussels sprouts. Well, none of us had even considered buying them. Shocked she was. Apparently Brussels sprouts are as integral to the traditions of the day as any other of the must-have holiday dishes. Canadians would no sooner leave out Brussels sprouts than the turkey itself.

We have evidence that the preference for sprouts goes beyond a minority of diners and that it is not limited to certain individuals, clans, or provinces and that it is indeed a "Canadian thing". Canadian Living, the premiere magazine of "inspiring ideas for everyday living" has dozens of recipes for Brussels sprouts on their website and 15 in just this one article specific to holiday sprouts recipes.

We grew Brussels sprouts this year, but because there is only one enthusiastic brassica eater in this household we chose to turn our small crop into pickled sprouts that may be enjoyed a few at a time for a long time.

Delicious! Maybe, if there are any left, we'll set out a few at Thanksgiving as a nod to our good neighbors to the North.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Mary B. said...

I had no idea.

wynne said...

We love them at Thanksgiving, roasted with olive oil,nutmeg,salt and pepper. I never knew about the Canadian tradition, but I understand it well!

Jessica said...

we just made them the other day...yummy!!

Georgiann said...

Stragely, although we love them on the holidays, we rarely eat them except with turkey dinner at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Shaundra said...

I enjoy the brussels but have never tried or considered pickled. Interesting.