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Sunday, 2 May 2010

Prairie Dinner

Last night, while writing to a friend in the UK, I began to consider culture and food. What we eat, when we eat it, how it's served etc.

Last week I was in Alberta, the westernmost of the Prairie Provinces. The purpose of the trip was to present an award in a small town between Calgary and Edmonton. The award ceremony included a dinner - pictured above. It was a meal that I've had many, many times in small town prairie towns, with just a few little differences. There was turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and mixed vegetables, green salad and home-pickled beans and asparagus. The crowning glory was a big dish of pirogies with sour cream......home made pirogies! I had to take the picture for The Great Dane, who is at heart, a gastronomic Ukrainian.

This same meal can be found at church suppers, weddings, school banquets and service club dinners. There might be cabbage rolls added, but the basic meal remains true to the picture. Afterwards? Tea and coffee and pie. It's comfort food, usually served by women from whatever club/church was hired or offered to cater. Seconds, and even thirds are encouraged, and God help the man who only fills his plate once.

What's standard 'big crowd' fare where you are?