Have you ever wondered how the Holidays are celebrated in a different country? Although we always spend our Christmas close to home, I’ve always wondered what it would be like to hop on a plane and immerse myself in another culture in December. After all, that would be the best time to really see, smell, and taste all of the different goodies that are truly authentic to the places they come from.
Canada is a country that can’t be defined by any one way of life. We’re a country based on multiculturalism, and you can easily see that whether you’re on the East Coast in Prince Edward Island and Quebec, steadfastly in the middle of central Canada, or on the West Coast and way up North.
Even though we’re all from the same Country, those of us on the West Coast aren’t always up on East Coast traditions. I’ve had quick visits to Toronto on many occasions, including one particularly rushed visit as a contestant on CBC’s Dragons Den in 2006, so I can’t say I’ve ever been able to stop and drink in the sights, sounds, and smells of the East Coast the way I would have liked to.
People on the Prairies tend to talk a lot about how cold it is out, and because it can often dip below -40 on any given winter day, I’d say they have the right to. But when someone asks me now what I think of the Saskatchewan/Manitoba region, I look back on living there for 18 years and I can’t help but think it was warm. No, I’m not talking about outside. Unless you’ve lived in a place where the wind-chill was a common problem and you’ve never experienced what it feels like for your calves to freeze to your jeans, you don’t know cold. I’m talking about the people – they were warm, friendly, and very welcoming. I also think ‘warm’ when I think about my Grandma’s kitchen and everything we baked together on those cold winter days.
When I was a kid, almost every vacation involved driving for 24 hours from Saskatchewan to central British Columbia. We came for the scenery – mountains, icy blue lakes, and Bedrock City in Kelowna (why they would close that place I’ll never know). We also came for a few other reasons, namely salmon, blackberries, and peaches. Oh and throw a few apples in there and you’ve got a nice pile of souvenirs for people from the prairies.
Maybe because I’ve always been a fan of a good, old fashioned haunted house and am one of those people who can become unglued by a really scary movie, but Halloween ranks right up there with Christmas as one of my favourite times of year. I’ve always been slightly envious of people who live in warmer climates during Halloween, because they are almost always guaranteed a nice night for trick or treating and great weather for getting outside and having some scary Halloween fun. But the one great thing about living in a place where the fog and chill sets in around mid-October? You have the opportunity to cook up and really enjoy some delicious hot food to get your Halloween night off to a great start.
When you’re throwing a big party for Halloween, there’s a lot of prep involved. Not only do you have to decorate your party area, you have to come up with a variety of food, drinks, and munchies to keep your guests happy. This past month I’ve been talking about different Halloween treats you can whip up if you’re having a Halloween party or just need snacks to feed a few ghosts and goblins on All Hallows Eve. From sugar cookies to some seriously gross treats, there are so many different things you can serve. But the one treat I absolutely rely on when it comes to the snack table? Cupcakes!
Even though I tend to keep the family eating on the healthy side of things, I usually throw all of that out the window every October when Pumpkin Spice Scones are readily available and Halloween treats must be created. Because I’m planning a huge party this Halloween, I’ve been a little more focused on Halloween treats than usual. After all, what’s a party without gooey white chocolate eye balls and buckets of candy corn?
I love to bake, so trying new and cool recipes comes second nature to me. Some people (or so I’ve heard) don’t love it quite as much as I do. Take my sister in law for example – if she needs cookies, she buys them at the grocery store. If she wants to pass off those cookies as her own, she buys them at a bakery. I gifted her with a big bag of flour one year during a visit, and she said its still sitting there 2 years later. We’re all different, and because of that I realize sometimes, if you’re not into baking a lot, you just need one recipe that will work for you and go the distance. Something that you can make once and throw it in the freezer for an event, holiday, or just a rainy Saturday afternoon.