On the Friday night before Thanksgiving….


Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to all !

This is the long weekend and this is where we stop doing whatever we would normally do and take a break. School has been in full swing for a month now and having a three-day weekend is nice.

If young families are lucky, the crisp fall days will not be too cool and will not hinder squeezing in one more camping trip. A visit to the out-of-town grandparents is always a treat too.  But with the family or alone, just having a bit of time off of work is something to look forward to.

When I was younger, I do not recall Thanksgiving weekends at our house. I am sure that to a young kid it didn’t matter what the occasion. It was just a fact that we had a family dinner and everyone got together to visit. Our extended family, though small, was quite close. If we didn’t have the relatives over, then we were invited out to their house.

Mom and dad would invite my grandpa, uncles, aunts and cousins to come over after church for dinner. Now we are from the prairies and coming to dinner meant to come at 12:00 noon. Supper was served at 6:00pm.

We raised chickens on our small acreage and often had roast chicken for these Sunday dinners. But Thanksgiving was a special occasion and a huge turkey was purchased. I wonder if we ever got turkeys from Uncle Jack’s farm? I would assume that we did. As I mentioned in an earlier post, those turkeys loved my dad’s orange car!

But I really do not want to continue talking about thanksgiving dinner. No, when I think of this weekend, there’s other unique memories that come to mind.

Okay, so picture this…we race home from school with our paper bag turkey centre pieces.  As kids we were very excited because the teacher told us that we were so lucky to have fresh produce and good food to share with our families. We couldn’t wait for that pumpkin pie! We had a lot to be thankful for.

We lived in an agricultural area. Everyone, and I mean everyone either planted a vegetable garden or came out to a farm and helped the farmer take off his grain. Everything was ripe and getting harvested now. As kids, my brothers and sisters and I helped by picking the carrots, beets, cabbages and the potatoes.

The smell the fresh turned soil still lingers in my mind. We had a root cellar, made out of dirt and the vegetables were carried down there and stored for the winter months.

But there’s still another reason I loved this coming weekend. It was because of Friday and the часник and сметани (garlic and cream) buns. Mom would bake fresh buns in the afternoon and then just before supper, she would break the buns apart, add minced cloves of garlic (like 15 – 20) and pour in a pint of fresh farm cream.  Oh, I can hear you gasp! Yes, full of calories and high cholesterol ingredients. But that was it. That’s what we would have for supper. So delicious!

And why did we have these only on the Friday before a long weekend?  Well, by the time we went back to school on the following Tuesday, we did not have any lingering smell of garlic on us!

Our society is better now but it was tough back then for Ukrainians. My dad would often come home and say that the other men he worked with called him a  “garlic loving immigrant” or other words that I will not write here. We were not allowed to speak Ukrainian when at school either. We were told that we had to be Canadians now. So our parents were careful with us and wanted us to fit in with the other kids in the community.

If I had my way, I would of eaten часник  buns everyday!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

(Try the buns for yourself. I’ve added the recipe under Traditional Ukrainian Foods).

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