It’s Thanksgiving: that time of the year again when you can load up on carbs so that when you’re scrambling into Walmart at 1 a.m., the extra fat will pad you from the corners of HDTV boxes and elbows as you squeeze through the doors with thousands of other Americans. Good times!
Of course, up in Canada, we do things a little differently when it comes to Thanksgiving.
Like, for example, having it a month earlier.
This is what Jason Andrew Kaufman, a cultural theorist, said of the illustrious Canadian holiday: “There is no compelling narrative of the origins of the Canadian Thanksgiving day.”
Well, Kaufman, that’s kind of the point. Eh?
You see, when you Americans were oppressing Native Americans, we were hanging out with them, mostly just being cold together. We didn’t need a reason, we just did it. It seemed like a good idea at the time and it’s worked out pretty well for us. When you Americans fought for your independence with blood, we just asked for it. And guess what? Britain just gave it to us. Well, was that so hard, America?
So no, Mr. Kaufmann, we don’t need to invent a compelling, Western exceptionalist narrative to have a reason to overeat. We just can.
My advice, as a Canadian-American who’s lived here in the States for a good portion of my life, is this: relax. Be a little more Canadian this Thanksgiving and you’ll find things come your way a little easier.
Here are five tips to Canadianize your American Thanksgiving:
1. Embrace Obamacare. You just elected President Obama a second time. What’s to hold him back from enacting his socialist agenda? There’s no accountability to the people anymore. It’s a veritable free-for-all, and it’s just a matter of time before there are car-shares and marijuana and National Parks everywhere.
It’s okay, though. It means you can eat as much as you want, because health care will take care of the bill later when they’re pumping out your arteries. Canada will even come to you and drag you to the hospital–no charge to you, dear taxpayer!
See, it’s not so bad! You just let it happen. Like Canadian Thanksgiving.
2. Eat Kraft Dinner. Author and Canadian Douglas Coupland says that “cheese plays a weirdly large dietary role in the lives of Canadians, who have a more intimate and intense relationship with Kraft food products than the citizens of any other country.”
We make Kraft Dinner for everything. Why not American Thanksgiving? And why spend hours and hours cooking a turkey when your K.D. is ready in seven minutes? The way the noodles ooze in the cheese is reminiscent of the way America is melting together–a new thing to be thankful for–and the way Kraft mass-manufactures this stuff is just so American. It’s like the one percent and the 47 percent come together in one delicious dish.
If you want to class it up a little, Prime Minister Harper likes to add cut-up weiners to his Kraft Dinner.
3. Pour maple syrup on it. We do in fact pour maple syrup on everything. If you are throwing a Canadian Thanksgiving and do not include a jug of maple syrup on table, your Canadian guests will become very offended. They may even apologize. Don’t let it come to that.
Maple syrup is really good on mashed potatoes, ham, and even Tofurky. Don’t buy that Vermont stuff, though; get the pure stuff from across the border.
4. Watch hockey. Football is fine. But it’s a game of fits and starts, which might explain why leading up to Thanksgiving you Americans will diet on raw meat, nuts, and crossfit, and then day-of plow through five plates of yams and marshmellows, sugared ham, and down it all with half a box of wine.
I recommend hockey instead. It’s steady and strategic, with regular but impressive bursts of strength and speed. And unlike football, which is mostly just John Madden rambling as you drift to sleep, you’ll have to pay attention to hockey. Yes, it is really hard to see that puck. But don’t worry, you’re getting that 60-incher HDTV tonight at Walmart, remember?
5. Make butter tarts. If you only take one point from this list, make it this one. And then invite me over. You might think butter tarts are easy. They’re butter, right? In a tart? Doesn’t butter just, you know, melt? Into a tart?
You are so wrong. Butter tarts are so, so, so much more.
In fact, butter tarts are kind of like Canadians: seemingly sweet and saccharine, but inside quite complex–prone to pastry-like flaking, and exceptionally difficult to get right. Think of Butter Tarts as the Souffle of the North.
Your go-to recipe is this one on, appropriately, Canadian Living.
But don’t let that intimidate you. Once you make them, you’ll never stop. You might make them next Thanksgiving, too. Then the next. Then before you know it, you’ll be taking your shoes off at the door, watching reruns of SCTV, celebrating Thanksgiving in October, and wondering why you ever invaded Native America in the first place.
Happy Canadian Thanksgiving, eh!
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