Happy Canada Day - Time for an Canadian Foods Recipe Roundup!
So I’ve been procrastinating on writing the text part of this entry for a while, as I haven’t known what to say.
Canada Day used to be so easy for me. It was a favourite day of the year - celebrating the country I love, with amazing music and food. Even when I was living in the USA, we marked the day every year.
This year, I’m having some incredibly complicated feelings on the matter.
On one hand:
We’ll be marking 2 years since I dragged my husband home from Minneapolis. Not only has the move been amazing in its own right - we LOVE our new city, Hamilton! - it’s also been sobering to watch everything that we left. The problems that we saw - and suffered under - in Minneapolis are finally coming to a head and being dealt with. (Remember, the final straw for us - accelerating our timeline for getting out - was the huge uptick in Nazi activity in 2016!).
We’re watching, horrified, as friends left behind tell us not only about what’s going on with all of that, but also of the COVID situation. Between the coverage, the response, and even the financial help from the government? There’s no comparison between how it’s been handled, and how much better off we are, here.
Parallel to all of this, I am currently recovering from surgery. This is surgery that saved my life, that I never even would have known I needed, had we not moved home. Due to the nature of our insurance, they never would have found this until it was too late. I’m out a grand total of $36 for the whole thing, btw - 2 CT scans, an MRI, several specialist visits, surgery, 5 days in the hospital, prescriptions, a walker rental, and 6 in-home physiotherapy sessions. Thirty-six dollars.
I don’t want to get into it too much, but “Moving home to Canada has now literally saved my life” definitely weighs into my complicated feelings on it.
For those reasons - and many others - I am extremely thankful to be home in Canada.
There’s a lot to love about this country. The land, the people (for the most part, anyway), the talent, the food, and more. Multiculturalism 100% is what makes this country great, from my point of view.. And it’s something that flavours almost every aspect of all of the things to love about Canada.
As a food blogger... I love going grocery shopping and hearing upwards of 6 different languages spoken as I wander the aisles. I love the HUGE variety of both ingredients and prepared foods available, as a result of the cultural diversity. I love that the music playing over the loudspeakers at grocery stores sometimes involves different languages, and that even the CanCon playing tends to reflect various cultural backgrounds of the singers. The diversity of it all really brings a richness to life that I missed when I was living away.
By now, I’m sure you can feel that there’s a big “BUUUUUT” coming. You’re right.
The thing is, I’ve been noticing more and more that Canadians are resting on “better than” when it comes to matters of civil rights. We point the fingers south and thank our lucky stars that we’re not “them”. For a lot of people, it feels like pride in being Canadian is fairly well centered on what we’re “not”, rather than what we are.
And you know, for a lot of things -healthcare, for instance - that’s ok.
The thing is, it’s a problem now, for where we are in the world. We may not be facing the frequent lynchings that are happening in the USA. We may not have experienced the near daily mass shootings that they had before the pandemic... but “better than” doesn’t necessarily mean “good” or even “good enough”, especially when we’re talking about such a low bar.
News coming out of our very own country has been horrific lately. Multiple people - usually BIPOC - being murdered by our own police. The courts finding that intoxication is an acceptable defense against sexual assault charges. STILL with the First Nations communities without clean water - this is all barbaric.
How much “better” are we, really?
I want to be proud. I want to celebrate Canada, and really just revel in this country that saved my life and has given us a much better life, peace, freedom, etc... but it really feels wrong to do so, when knowing that is NOT the reality that other Canadians are living. The very same government that is shielding us from absolute personal financial collapse from the pandemic... hasn’t done anything about the water situation for others.
I can celebrate MY love for the cultural diversity all day long, but then ... Jagmeet Singh got booted from the House for pointing out the racism of another member.
How much “better” are we, when our government centers the feelings of racists, over those negatively impacted by their racism? Why is pointing out racism more “unparliamentary” than actually engaging in racism? I don’t even care what your politics are, what party you normally vote for, or even what your personal feelings are on him specifically... that he was kicked out over that is a moment of such deep shame for Canadian politics, I hope it makes the history books. I am SO disgusted.
As privileged as I feel, I'm not unaware of the fact that I'm only arms length from some major problems, myself. My grandmother was a victim of the residential school system. I'm an autistic with a lot of "pass privilege" (most of the time, anyway)... yet I see my fellow autistics - right here in Canada - targeted by unfair politics, policies, and policing. I am VERY aware of the fact that I'm also potentially just one bad/overwhelmed day / meltdown away from a life altering - or ending - experience.
These are the things weighing on my mind, as I’ve been trying to write up holiday themed text to go with my Canada Day blog post.
I’m just not feeling it this year, Canada.
The thing is, we COULD be so much better.
We could see past our own egos, our own fragility, and take a good hard look at what we are. We could stop being defensive and pointing fingers elsewhere. We could stop resting on “better than” and aim for GOOD. We could aim for actual equality.
As many of us are using these weird times to better ourselves personally - whether in skills, health, or just cleaning up, building gardens, etc... why shouldn’t we devote the same introspection to improving our country, and life for ALL?
We could look at the positive strides that the US is making, and see what could apply here. Especially with regards to shuffling police power with regards to mental health calls - even just changing that ONE area would be huge.
Yes, this is all the stuff that comes to mind when I think “Canada Day”, this year. Have a maple buttertart recipe, it comes with a free rant.
Truth be told, I wasn’t even sure I should post anything, but as with most things... I tend to think of silence as being complicit. None of what’s going on is acceptable and more people need to acknowledge and address that.
I don’t want to shame anyone away from celebrating Canada, whether for Canada Day or any other day. I’m just asking that - moving forward - such observations aren’t done without a bit of introspection.
For many of us, Canada is a great country that treats us well... but until ALL of us can say the same, is it really “great”, in its own right?
I don’t have all of the answers, I just think that acknowledgment is a really good first start - especially considering how rare and taboo that acknowledgment seems to be, especially of late.
I’m a person who has a hard time enjoying what I have, when I know others are suffering.
Since moving home, I feel incredibly guilty to enjoy things such as our healthcare system, as the friends we left behind are in such a terrible situation. My $36 bill for the entire medical drama is a relief to us, but then I see friends who can’t afford to see a Dr at all, or the thousands of dollars a month for life saving prescriptions.
Celebrating, now, feels a bit like hosting a lavish feast, while starving people watch from within arms reach. I certainly wouldn’t be able to enjoy such a situation, and would be inviting them to the table.
Can this be the Canada Day that we finally invite ALL Canadians to our (metaphorical) table?
Anyway. Things to keep in mind, as we plan for Canada Day!
... so here are some great Canada Day recipes 🙂
Condiments and Beverages
Snacks and Main Dishes
This recipe is one of many fantastic Canadian recipes in my cookbook, "More Than Poutine: Favourite Foods from my Home and Native Land”. "More than Poutine" is a Canadian cookbook like no other - written by a Canadian living away, it includes both traditional home cooking recipes, as well as accurate homemade versions of many of the snacks, sauces, convenience foods, and other food items that are hard to come by outside of Canada! Order your copy here on this site, through Amazon, or through any major bookseller!