Canadian Thanksgiving food is prepared in Canada to mark the occasion of Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Day, celebrated on the 2nd Monday of October. It is essentially an annual Canadian holiday to give thanks, as the harvest season comes to a close. Pumpkins are a very essential part of the feast and are cooked in various ways. One of the most significant differences between American and Canadian Thanksgiving is that while Americans remember the Pilgrims who settled in the New World on this day, Canadians offer their thanks for a bountiful and successful harvest.
A contemporary Thanksgiving in Canada features a very large meal that is generally centered round a roasted, stuffed turkey or any other meat of preference. Most of the dishes are made from foods that are native to the New World like beans, corn, cranberry, hominy, peppers, blackberries, livestock, poultry, etc.
Traditional Canadian Thanksgiving Foods
It is widely believed that 'The First Thanksgiving' that happened in 1621 between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag featured turkey, fish, berries, fruits, pumpkin, waterfowl, clams and squash. Many of the foods that were a part of the first Thanksgiving, except for the seafood, have gone on to become the staples of the celebration. French soups (introduced by the migratory population), have also become an important part of the feast over the years.
A regular Canadian Thanksgiving dinner menu consists of meat (a large bird, mostly turkey but can also vary), beverages like cocktails, spirits, coffee, apple cider, wine, etc. and an array of side dishes like yams, mashed potatoes, corn on cob, deviled eggs, green beans, green bean casserole, dumplings and winter squash- to name a few. Desserts are also a very important feature of the feast table. Pumpkin pie, pecan pie, puddings and flans are quite popular. It is interesting to note that Thanksgiving food is not served in courses. All the preparations are laid out at once and people eat in any order that they fancy.
Traditional Canadian Thanksgiving Food Variations
Sometimes, non-traditional foods are served for a Thanksgiving dinner, based on personal preferences and the region where the holiday is being observed. Goose, duck or chicken is served instead of Turkey. Some families prefer turducken, which is actually turkey, duck and chicken nested inside each other and roasted. Recipes used for cooking the main course bird also vary from one region to another: a Chinese recipe could be used to cook goose instead of stuffing it in the traditional way and then roasting it. Vegans and vegetarians replace meat with tofurkey which is a tofu-based preparation with imitation turkey flavor.
Side dishes and desserts also differ depending upon personal tastes and preferences. Mincemeat pie, sweet potato pie, Tourtiere (served essentially in Quebec) replace the traditional desserts and as far as side dishes go, instead of making and serving elaborate preparations; some families simply serve fruits and/or nuts on the side.
Traditional dressing is made from cornbread and the stuffing generally has white or wheat bread as the base. Variations are often made with apples, oysters, raisins, celery, carrots, onions, sausages or turkey giblets. Rice dressing and stuffing are also popular.
Canadian Thanksgiving- Trivia
Contrary to popular belief, Americans did not invent Thanksgiving. It actually began in Canada in the year 1578. The traditional food that marks the day (pumpkin pies and turkey) as well as the tradition of families and friends eating together was also started by the Canadians.