She’s learning eh?

Yesterday Norma pointed out that the TUFT agenda was missing a few important classes. Namely the “learning how to sit on the chesterfield class” or the “knitting whilst playing broomball” class, and I thought about it….and Norma is right. What with most Canadians knowing a great deal about American culture, and most Americans needing a little education about ours..I realized that I had a responsibility to teach Juno the ways of our people while she is here. To that end Canadians will be relieved to know that I have undertaken the following, and begun the process:

1. We have introduced her to the milk of our people, which, while we drink 1% and not “homo”,


was still nothing she had ever seen the likes of before.

(Bonus question: snip both sides or only one? Discuss.)

2. We took her out into the weather of our people…


which was mercurial, vicious and then lovely, and then brutal and very Canadian all day long.

3. At lunch in the village I purchased for her the dessert of our people. She said it was “good”. She may have been lying, I can’t tell.

The day rolled on (I took her to the famous old Runnymede Theatre, now a bookstore) we bought Canadian cheese at the market, we ate it with pears and good bread…and then we went out into the night to the Knitlit 3 Launch. Many thanks to those of you who staggered into the snow to come. It was brutal weather.

Juno got to hang with local designer Fiona Ellis and Kelly before,


and after, well. After we had just the best time. The whole gang of friends and family trouped to a local spot after, and each and every person at the table knit.


Our waiter was so freaked out he couldn’t hardly serve us. He’d try to take an order, see some more wool and just come unglued.

Here’s commenter extraordinaire Rachel H. with her very first handspun. (A sacred artifact.)


A group shot, more fun in the weather of our people….


and we drifted home.


Today…nominations for the “yarn of our people” are being accepted and Rachel has procured “the donut of our people” (a Tim Horton’s Maple Glazed.) Suggestions for other educational activities are welcome.

182 thoughts on “She’s learning eh?

  1. I’m awlays fascinated with how many things “canadian” I do not know, simply because I’m in a recalcitrant province. Butterpie? why not rice/bread pudding with maple syrup?
    I am so very impressed with seeing a knitter caught without a hat. It seems almost to be a dichotomy.
    Poutine as Food of the people to end maybe? or it’s just the qu๏ฟฝbecois in me talking?

  2. Stephanie – your blog is the BEST – of all the blogs I have read, yours stands out for humour, regularity of posts and good grammar! AND it’s Canadian. AND I’m envious of your snow – we’ve had a tiny bit here in Kelowna BC and we are looking forward to more so we can go tobogganing! Of course I could drive up to the nearby ski resort but I love having the snow right outside my back door – it makes the yard look so pretty – and tidy!

  3. I am American, enlighten me. Number one, about the milk, is completely lost on me. Is it powdered? Do you by liquid milk in bags? I’m so curious.

  4. Yarn of our people- Definitely Koigu! With a side helping of Fleece Artist/Handmaiden. Yummy! Where did you dine in Bloor West? Looks like maybe ZaZa or Fiasco? Either one is delish.

  5. Laurence: It’s butter tart – not butter pie
    Stephanie, I know you’re vegetarian, I’m not sure about Juno though. If she eats meat she has to have Canadian Bacon (the real stuff – Peameal – not the McDonald’s variety)

  6. The bag of milk should be snipped on both sides. Doing it on one side doesn’t allow air to flow in which causes the bag to collapse. This in turn will cause the bag to ‘conveniently’ slip out of the container and make a charming mess that we aren’t supposed to cry over. I’ve cried. I cut both sides now.

  7. Have you listened to any radio of our people? Now that I’m out in the hinterlands, I find the CBC even more of a lifeline than before.
    (Plus they’re playing lovely choral things on CBC2 as I type this…)
    Oh, and I’d never heard of nipping the bag on both corners — and here I am, born and bred in Canada. Hmm. I may have to try that…
    Also, Tisra — as far as I know everyone leaves the bag in the pitcher. Less cleaning, less surface area to absorb fridge ickiness…

  8. Now I understand why, on TV and movies (many of which are filmed in Canada), they always serve milk from pitchers. I’m always like, who puts their milk in a pitcher? Well, if it comes in a bag instead of a carton, you do. Thanks for clearing that up for me!

  9. My cousin Roy is an engineer and used to work for the company that makes the machines that put the milk in the plastic bags! As a Yank, my favorite thing Canadian is Roy’s wife Sarah. Thanks to “Our Little Import” we now get Turkey,etc in October as well as November. But, you guys can take back Celine Dion any time…please!

  10. what about that weird stuff…what’s it called…the french fries with gravy and cheese curds? while, i’m enjoying the lesson on canadian culture and i’ve loved my visits to toronto and vancouver recently, that fries with gravy thing is I.C.K.Y.

  11. Here out west we seem to have rejected the milk bag. I don’t even think our local supermarket sells them anymore. It’s all cartons and plastic 4L jugs. We used to use the bags when we lived in Ottawa.
    Another Julie

  12. The yarn of your people. Hmm. Koigu or Fleece Artist… hmmm. Ok, since I’ve never knit with or owned Fleece Artist, I’ll have to go with Koigu. Yum.
    And I definitely think Juno needs to play some broomball. It’s a fun and silly game, in which all the laws of physics are against you.

  13. One side! I just hold onto it when I pour. Yay milk bags (heh)!
    The milk bag go into the pitcher; when it’s empty, the bag is thrown out. It’s liquid milk. Somehow, four litres comes in three bags. We have cartons too, but I’ve never seen jugs anywhere.
    I didn’t know they abandoned bags in the West. I live in Toronto.
    The fries is poutine.

  14. I am an American, but live spitting distance from the B.C. Border. Took me a while to figure out what a Chesterfield is (a couch), and learned to like fries and gravy. And Poutine. And, because it is, after all, BRITISH Columbia, the many British things available to find. We call it the Tweed Divide, or the Tweed Curtain. For two countries with so many similarities, there are also great, and fun, differences.
    Blog on, sista!

  15. How about the chocolate of our people? When we were living abroad as kids we used to beg every adult travelling back to Canada to bring us Oh Henry bars and Smarties on their return. We’d promise to babysit, clean house, anything to get those Oh Henrys.
    And it’s true about the bagged milk. It was only when I came back to Ontario after 11 years in BC that I started buying the bags again.
    Ah, memories!

  16. OK, here I am ‘just an Ugly American’ (remember the book?) but butter pies do look like the pecan tassies I make at Christmas (without the pecans). I hate milk in cartons because you can taste the wax from the carton! Milk in bottles is much better (though not sold like that much any more.)Now gravy over french fries I haven’t had in a very long time…and there’s nothing better than cheese curds! (I’m on a personal mission to introduce people to the excellence of squeaky cheese curds!)

  17. While I agree Koigu is beautiful, Patons has been around much longer! My Grandmother knit socks with Patons.
    Oh and did you know Tuque, or Toque as we spell it in BC does not show up in the Oxford Canadian dictionary? I was shocked! But it does show up in the French/English dictionary spelled Toque.

  18. Another “famous” Canadian knit-blogger, Kate Gilbert of the famed “clapotis” design, (, blogged about Canadian color sock yarn just yesterday, (, so, although I’m a Yank who doesn’t get a vote, that would get my vote for the yarn of your people.
    I never knew about the butter tart or the milk-in-the-bag thing. How interesting! And I’m envious of your lovely wintry weather!

  19. Oh…broomball!!! I used to play in college (not in Canada, but in Potsdam, NY, which is just about there). We sprayed the bottoms of our sneakers with hairspray to help us stick to the ice better. Or so we thought. For not being Canadian, I recognized quite a few things. I’ve had poutine once…I think I’m still working off the calories. I knew about milk in bags, because I read “For Better or For Worse” religiously. And I’ve had butter tarts-my dad’s second wife’s mother is a Canadian citizen living in the US. She also taught me the fine art (???) of getting purchases across the border when you’re pushing the duty limits.
    There’s a Tim Horton’s (for maple glazed donuts) in my hometown now, which is about 45 minutes east of Niagara Falls. I think maybe Ontario is trying to annex western NY. This could be a good thing, but then they’ll be stuck with Buffalo too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Hey Steph,
    how long is Juno here? If you truly want to introduce her to a Canadian game, I’m a certified curling instructor – We can find a club, slip on the kilt, one teflon shoe, one rubber shoe, and toss 40 pound chunks of polished granite around! What could be more fun?
    Sandra aka Curlerchik

  21. I don’t think of milk-in-bags as Canadian, as I first encountered it in Israel 30+ years ago. We had the same 1 liter bags and the same plastic bag-holders. I haven’t seen them in years, even when I’ve been in the Maritimes on vacation. But, then, I don’t drink milk now, so I can’t say I’ve actually paid attention to how it’s sold.

  22. the “milk-in-bags” thing always manages to freak everyone out!
    i do have a question though – who on earth snips both sides? now that is freaky!

  23. If the chocolate of your people is Coffee Crisps, I’m moving north permanently. And I too love Tim Horton’s encroachment upon, I mean increasing and benign presence in upstate NY! I just wish they’d get on with it and establish themselves in Queens already!

  24. It never occurred to me that butter tarts weren’t universally enjoyed. How sad for the rest of the world! I also have to nominate Beaver Tails as the winter snack of our people, although outside of Ottawa they’re damn hard to find.
    And I have to vote for Patons as the Yarn of our people – they have one called Canadiana for pete’s sake!
    (I know I’ve never commented before… been reading for awhile though and love your blog)

  25. What a wonderful post. I always wanted to know more about Canadian peoples. Keep it coming!
    P.S. What is broomball? Sounds suspicously like quidditch (Harry Potter).

  26. Yarn of our people:
    Briggs and Little — a hardy yarn for a hardy people (both a little rough around the edges)
    Fleece Artists — handyed yarn of such unsurpassed beauty that it can only have been inspired by Canadian landscapes from sea to shining sea.

  27. Food of the people must be poutine. Although out West here it is a struggle to get good poutine. But from a chip wagon on a cold Ottawa street – heaven!
    And definately no milk bags out west, only jugs and cartons. I think it is an Ontario thing? We always bought them in Ottawa.
    Tim Hortons – institution of the people.
    Fries with gravy, real Canadian Cheddar, Canadian bacon, tourtiere, Beaver Tails, Smarties, toques, chesterfields, Royal Canadian Air Farce, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, a Governor General, the Trans Canada Highway: Oh Canada!

  28. My Canadian mother taught me to make the sacred butter tarts when I was little. I have two recipes, one her own and thus a little vague: “A lump of butter about the size of a walnut….add water til runny-thick like maple syrup” and one from a Canadian cook book with real measurements. Of course, Mom’s makes better tarts! Thanks for the memory!

  29. My Canadian mother taught me to make the sacred butter tarts when I was little. I have two recipes, one her own and thus a little vague: “A lump of butter about the size of a walnut….add water til runny-thick like maple syrup” and one from a Canadian cook book with real measurements. Of course, Mom’s makes better tarts! Thanks for the memory!

  30. Ha — my mother’s buttertart recipe (inherited from her mother) involves “a lump of butter the size of an egg”, to go along with the actual egg, of course. Clearly we have different views of the proper fat content of our tarts, but I like the fact that we both have recipes with such human measuring scales!

  31. I knew before I clicked on the link that the dessert would be butter tarts. My first thought was Nanaimo Bars, but then I thought, no, the national dessert would be butter tarts. You know that there will be Canadian knitters all across the country salivating and getting out their butter and sugar spotted recipes to make these today, don’t you?
    How about the chips of our people, Salt & Vinegar? Or is that just a west coast thing?

  32. Ohhhh, you made me long for a butter tart. My mom has become increasingly more Americanized over the years and she seems to have forgotten her roots…as we never indulge in that treat anymore. This Christmas I will remember! Thank you! I know this is not Ontarian, but Quebecois, but don’t you think she needs to have some poutine? At least she has to SEE it. (I have not read the other comments, and others may have already said that)

  33. I truly hope you introduce your visitor to a great alcoholic beverage of Canada – hard cider!!
    I recently visited in Vancouver, BC, and immediately fell in love with Growers’ cider. I understand that one has to go to BC to get it, but I’m sure that the eastern Canadians have an equivalent. I don’t think US Customs would permit it, but I long for my Burnaby friend to send me CiderCare packages.

  34. The milk of your people has begun its infiltration of America — I can buy milk in a bag in Wisconsin!
    Enchanting doesn’t even begin to describe her, does it? I’m sure she’s taking her cultural education quite graciously. Have fun. ; )

  35. I’m an American, but I have always wanted to try poutine. You can’t ever get it here unless you live very close to a cheese factory.
    And also – broomballing exists in the US. I’ve done it several times in California.

  36. Milk in a bag made me think of mini-sips. Small 1-cup size milk bags but with a kool-aid type mixture in it. It comes complete with a pointy straw to poke into the bag. My kids always preferred to just chew off the corner to suck the drink out. Is this maybe just a Maritime thing?

  37. Okay, I am an American married to a Canadian. (He’s from Thunder Bay.) Here is what I have learned in 7 and a half years of marriage.
    1. It’s not wheat bread, it is BROWN Bread.
    2. It is BAD form if you wince when offered gravy for your fries.
    3. A chesterfield is a couch, not something you smoke.
    4. I make a really fierce butter tart.
    5. It really is called a toque, not a ski cap.
    6. It is a garberator, not a garbage disposal.
    7. And that I think it is completely wrong to call a bathrobe a house coat! SOMEONE may think they are the same, but noooo-It’s a damned bathrobe!
    8. Poutine isn’t too bad. But the cheese curds- not so much.
    9. And lastly- Guelph- in addition to being a beautiful town in Southern Ontario, is the sound a vomiting dog makes.
    Thanks for a great entry!

  38. Ok, I’m really procrastinating now (this is my third comment on this post!) but here’s my recipe for buttertart filling (just put into normal pastry, in cupcake/muffin tins).
    Combine in saucepan:
    1 cup sugar (brown or white — there’s some disagreement in my family about this)
    1 cup raisins
    1 egg
    1 egg-sized lump of butter
    1 tsp vanilla
    pinch of salt if using unsalted butter
    Stir over low/med heat until melted. Spoon into pastry cases, bake at 375-425F for about 10 minutes (keep an eye on them, though!) until pastry is lightly browned and mixture is bubbling.

  39. I can’t read all the previous comments but I’m seconding the curling thing (there are more people who curl in Canada than in the rest of the world combined). Also, Hockey Night in Canada. While drinking beer. I suppose Molson Canadian or Labbats Blue would be classic but I’m a beer snob so get her some of that Steamwhistle they brew down by the Air Canada Centre/CN Tower/etc. it is a very nice lager. Or beer of your choice, you have taste.
    Too early for skating at City Hall (is that now ‘old’ city hall?) though I remember it fondly from my childhood. If she ever deigns to come to Ottawa in January or February, I’d take her skating on the canal (and give her a nice toque). Sara S. is braving that one.

  40. Hmmm…butter tarts. Poutine is good, but only if you get the really good squeaky cheese curds.
    Yarn? Well, Koigu and Fleece Artist surely can not be argued with for sheer luxury, but they are relative newcomers …I have to go with Patons (Classic Merino) for the yarn of the people. It’s definitely a traditional Canadian thing… When I knit with it, the good woolly smell of it reminds me of all those mittens my mother made me knit (to replace the ones I was forever losing) when I was just a wee young(er) thing.

  41. Only snip one side of the milk bag and then ๏ฟฝ this is our idiosyncrasy ๏ฟฝ close it with one of those plastic-coated spring clips to fend off imaginary fridge odors.

  42. Y’know I sorta thought of Canadians as being really cold Australians with a bit of an odd accent ๐Ÿ˜‰ but like the MILK IN BAGS? Now that is WEIRD!
    We have our own Patons too. And we have Smarties. And Chesterfields. They are all of British origin I think. We don’t have butter pies, we have lamingtons – sponge dipped in chocolate sauce and then rolled in dessicated coconut. Or in pink jelly and then in coconut. Yum!

  43. Cheese curds must squeak! And must be layered in the chips, not just sitting on top under the gravy.
    The Grey Cup and Canadian Football.
    Thanks Steph, for making us all feel so delightfully Canadian – we forget sometimes the things that we all have in common from one end to the other of this country.

  44. 1 – Definitely snip the milk bag on both sides — a little smaller on the “back” side. Kind of like the way I/we open an apple juice can.
    2 – Brown bread and whole wheat bread are two different things. Brown bread is AWESOME.
    3 – My votes for yarn of our people are Patons, Briggs & Little and Fleece Artist.
    So many other things I could add to the list of things Juno needs to see, but I think I’ll just sit back and enjoy the comments.
    Oh Canada!

  45. the yarn of your people has to be koigu! and does tim horton’s still have a rectangular chocolate donut with walnuts? i LOVED them.

  46. Cheese curds…sigh…I would give my right arm for the fresh warm squeaky ones we used to get at the Amish cheese factory up the road from my grandparents’ house. (The northern New York-almost-in-Canada grandparents, of course.) But that might make knitting difficult!
    Kate from Vancouver Island…are you going to the Grey Cup Festival block party tonight?

  47. My lovely boss who totally didn’t mind that I scarpered off for 2 hours this afternoon to play with you visited the blog today coz I was telling her how much fun last night was. Her comment – ‘They all talk just like you do’. She’s a muggle. I think we scared her a wee bit. Heh heh. ;o)

  48. Yarn of our people? You can’t get Koigu or Fleece Artist within 75 km of my small town, but kick a rock and you’ll find a ball of Paton’s under it. I vote Paton’s.
    And is it still Poutine if I put shredded cheddar on it instead of curds? It may be the vegetarian in me, but I don’t like my food to squeak.

  49. While a right and proper escapee from the States, I still don’t understand the difference between ‘brown’ and wheat bread.
    Might this be the Trashcan of Canada: ?
    I never saw one of these until I moved here.
    Canada, Canada. I love Canada and all of the things that make it a unique place to be. Thank goodness Immigration Canada let me in for keeps!

  50. Both sides? Really? People do that? I’d never conceived of the notion. In all my life I’ve only ever snipped one side and have never had any mishaps (except for the few times I cut the wrong side and tried to take it out and turn it around…..cutting both sides would have saved me that agony, huh?).
    Yarn of the people has to be Briggs and Little. Koigu and Fleece Artist have their share of pretty but, in Newfoundland, in January, I’d take a pullover made from B&L over the cutesy stuff anyday.

  51. Hrm, I never knew cheese curds were specifically Canadian. They are a state treasure in Wisconsin, which is where my mother’s relatives (descended from Swiss dairy farmers) live. I always stock up on cheese curds whenever I’m in WI!

  52. As an ex-pat Canadian (silly me, married an American!) I wholly second the idea that she has to go to Tim Hortons. I would trade all the Krispy Kremes (which I don’t like anyway) and most of the Dunkin’ Donuts (I *do* like their sour cream donuts) just to have a Tim Hortons within a day’s drive.
    How about the ‘chocolate bar (not candy bar, damnit!) of our people’ – Coffee Crisp. Or even an Aero Bar. Would you believe I pay $1.59 US down here for a single Coffee Crisp… and get this, I have to buy them at the ‘World Market.’

  53. Ooh- other things I have learned…Wonder Bars are indeed wonderful.
    Kraft sells peanut butter!! Who knew? When any family visits from Canada, the price of entry is Kraft P-nut Butter.
    Toonies? Here, $2 piece is eyed with suspicion.
    Boxing Day? It is for might than fighting.

  54. Our family visited Canada for a day this past summer, and I had two places I had to visit: the grocery store, and the bookstore. At the grocery, I stocked up on butter tarts and superior chocolate, and at the bookstore, I bought UK imprinted books that I’d otherwise have to order from
    You guys are really lucky. I love butter tarts.

  55. And speaking of Kraft, let us not forget the comfort food of our people which of course is Kraft Dinner (NOT Kraft Macaroni and Cheese or whatever lame name the US marketers came up with).

  56. Just followed the butter tart link and had a hilarious 10 min listening to the radio program. Hells’ bells, the People are serious!
    curds that squeek – what do you do to get that – milk mice or something????
    BTW, there was a period of about a year when I was a kid living in the Adelaide Hills (1980s) when we went from billy can ( milk to plastic bag milk. Everyone felt a bit cheesed – the bags were so awkward to handle and pouring them into the milk jugs without spilling was a rare skill (we didn’t know about the double snip and shove the whole bag in a jug trick) – so it went to cartons and then to plastic bottles. Wish bottles and billycans were back in fashion.
    …and Patons. We’ve got Patons in Australia too (; it started in Tasmania in 1923. I’m thinking it’s a multinational but I’m really curious where it originated. Haven’t found anything in my searches yet – can someone please tell me where Patons originated from?

  57. I think we would snip both sides, but I haven’t seen milk in bags in Manitoba since I was a kid.
    I’m curious… are mincemeat tarts as Canadian as butter tarts? We’d always serve both at the same time.
    You should definitely introduce her to curling. Is ditchball Canadian? (I only discovered it once I reached university in MB.)
    Definitely introduce her to Canadian chocolate too.

  58. That last photo made me seriously homesick for “real” winter. Vancouver is like another country in the winter, I’m not used to it yet.
    I suddenly find myself very motivated to hunt down a butter tart. ๐Ÿ™‚

  59. POUTINE! You absolutely have to get her some poutine. I hear it’s available outside of Quebec now. I’m drooling helplessly just thinking about it.

  60. Minnesota must be closer to Canadian than I thought… I can buy cheese curds at the grocery store, and the milk in bags at the convienence store. (One side.)
    And the weather, of course.
    No poutine here though. I like it, when its not too salty – but then I eat brown gravy on cottage cheese.

  61. I used to have dairy-delivered milk in bags some 30+ years ago in the US. They supplied a plastic pitcher with a hinged lid to drop the milk bags into. I remember snipping only one corner. Milk never tasted so good! And so convenient! I used to store the bags of milk in the bottom drawer of my ‘fridge. I haven’t seen any in almost 30 years. Guess I need to go to Canada for it.

  62. Is Juno balancing a pink box of the cookies of your people on her head in the photo with the designers? (I think it’s a door sticker, but it looks like a box of cookies on her head!) Or maybe I just didn’t eat enough turkey in the national day of giving thanks of our people.

  63. My vote for yarn of the people is Patons. I know their are a lot of “nicer”, “prettier” yarns that call Canada home, but dammit, it’s a proud staple of obnoxiously decorated kids sweaters since time began!
    We have milk in a bag here, too (Nova Scotia), and mini-sips, and luckily poutine, too. But I wish you all could try donairs (, a true Halifax favourite! Now that’s Canadian! Probably even MORE fattening than a poutine!
    As for Canadian activities, has she seen Air Farce or This Hour Has 22 Minutes? Or sat down and watched our evening news? It’s kind of funny how much scarier the news is down there, like everything is a “secret danger in your very own house”! Don’t mind me, I watch too much Channel 5 Boston News…
    I LOVE butter tarts, but around here it’s anything made with blueberries or maple syrup, but I suppose that’s not distinctly Canadian.
    Here’s one for you, what would be a distinctly Canadian knitting pattern??

  64. Some people snip the bags on both sides? What the hell? I’ve always just snipped one corner, and I never knew that anybody did it any other way.

  65. Hate to burst a bubble, but a number of these are “Ontario things” that we don’t see out west. I mean here in the far far west. (Such as milk in bags…that’s crazy talk.) Of course, Ontarioans always think they’re the centre of the universe. (Just kidding.)

  66. NO recipe for the butter tart! Pictures of the butter tart, praise for the butter tart, fawning over the butter tart, and no damn recipe. While living in Michigan, I never lacked for butter tarts. They were everywhere. Now, having lived very happily for ten years without even a thought of a butter tart, I am obsessed. I must have one. I am checking priceline for trips to Vancouver. I am googleing butter tart. ( Do not do this with small children in the room. Some of the sites are, uhm, disturbing.) I am bereft of butter tarts. I have a splitting headache. I need a 222. Which I don’t have. I shall fling myself on the chesterfield and wipe my nose with a serviette, as we are out of kleenex.

  67. Ok, the milk bag – I’ve never known anyone to snip both sides… however I can think of a good argument against snipping both sides: Those bloody corners never seem to make it to the garbage. They’re on the counter, they get swept up with the dishcloth, they end up on the floor and then somehow, when you’re washing dishes, there’s one in the drain. ARGH!
    The yarn: I must vote for Briggs and Little. They mill has been around since 1857, has been rebuilt after 4 fires, the yarn is hardy and warm, and I hardly know a soul who hasn’t owned at least a pair of mittens made out of this stuff.
    And as for introducing her to Canadian food… how long is Juno here? I mean, there’s so much to choose from.

  68. How about the language of your people: “process” with a long “O” sounds, and “ass” with an “r” in it. Not that I know anything aboot arses, wise or otherwise, mind you.
    And what about the beer of your people? Hmmm?

  69. I hate to break it to you, but milk is also available in bags in Wisconsin. I wish they’d do it everywhere. I have nightmares about billions of jugs choking the landfills. (Americans are not all good recyclers; better to just give them less to not recycle)

  70. I can’t really say about “the yarn of our people”, considering I am not one of the aforementioned people. Also, I NEED YARN.

  71. I say ick to poutine as the food of the people. And yes, even though I’m out west I *have* had “good” poutine (used to live in Montreal). I still don’t like it.
    The yarn of the people though, I have to go with Patons. At this moment my legs are wrapped in an afgan my Grandma made from Patons yarn. It’s tradition ya know.
    And the milk in bags is available in both Saskatchewan and Alberta, through home delivery service only though. Oh and you only snip one side or the little ones will have two opportunities to spill.
    Liza {who loves butter tarts, but leave the rasins out please}

  72. Better question Patti:
    do YOU have to put raisins in it?
    It can go both ways, but people have preferences
    To the person who wants shredded cheddar poutine, ok, you can put shredded cheddar on your French fries but it is NOT poutine, just some dish you made up. There must be squeaky curds.
    Beaver tails must be an Ottawa thing. I just recently heard of them and, of course, wondered what they did with the rest of the beaver.
    We don’t get milk in bags here either, in BC.

  73. A fun quizz “Are you a True Canadian Kid?”
    The Canadian alphabet… Z is ZED.
    Down here in the East we’d have a Ceilidh – boil some Nova Scotia lobster, BBQ Digby scallops.
    Crack a 2-4 of Canadian beer… um… take your pick anything is better than what Americians call beer.
    CBC TV, Radio 1 or Radio 2
    Canadians are funny
    Corner Gas
    This Hour Has 22 Minutes
    Rick Mercer’s Report
    Have you been to Canadian Tire… Rick Merser & the PM were there last week…

  74. oh my goodness – milk in a bag! we grew up going to our local dairy farm (in pennsylvania) once a week to get milk in a bag and as little kiddos were even treated to purple bag-o-juice (this was in the 70’s, pre-capri-sun pre-juicebox) or the very best ice cream ever. and i was just talking about that with my mother the other day – harlot, you mindreader, you!
    …i say snip both ends or you’ll end up with the glug-glug-glug-splosh-on-the-floor-mess.
    now back to knitting!

  75. Barb – nope no Grey Cup block party. Too cheesed off that the BC Lions, after leading their division all season, didn’t make the cup, the year it is being held in BC. Grrr. But I will be watching on Sunday!
    You all rock, eh. Up here in The Great White North where we are just a bunch of hosers. (Even on the far west coast where it’s hardly ever white.)

  76. We had milk-in-bag in BC in the Seventies, but not for a long time since. We did the double-snip: a little one in the back corner to let the air in, and a big one on the front to let the milk out.
    I agree that the yarn of our people has got to be Patons, though I suspect it has an imperialist history, especially if it’s also widely available in Australia. I, too, have an afghan of Patons yarn, and still use the Patons sock pattern that my mother and grandmother used (but without the “Aladdin Heel”).
    Butter tarts made by my Scottish grandma had currants and walnuts in them, not raisins (oh wait, maybe they weren’t butter tarts). The big butter tart fan in the family these days likes them “pure”, so we eat them plain, if you can call something so rich “plain”.
    The knitting pattern of our people has got to be a Mary Maxim curling sweater with the motif of your choice: ballerinas, stag’s heads, leaping salmon, norwegian stars, hockey sticks, figure skates, or curling stones and crossed brooms. Maybe a ball of yarn and crossed needles?
    The beer of our country is whatever is brewed closest to where you live.

  77. And here all these years I’d thought milk in a bag was available only in Israel. Huh, learn something new every day!
    And what about the infamous Canadian “eh?”?

  78. My three favorite Canadian things (excluding our own dear Harlot – SHE is in a class by herself!), Sun Peaks, B.C. (beautiful, quiet, very nice bike patrol guys and my cell phone does not work there! Kewl!); Tim Horton TimBits (especially the honey dipped ones, Yikes!); and Michael Buble (cute, cute and a silky voice, too). Celine, you can have back, that chest beating is a little too King Kong for me. Funny, used to be a fan, but I heard “My Heart Will Go On,” about 12 too many times! Still like her Christmas album, though.
    Oh, and some of my fav writers are Canadians, too. Carol Shields (rest her soul), Alice Monroe, Rohinton Mistry, and of course, Ms. Harlot!
    Well, then there is that whole thing with all the funniest guys in the U.S. being Canadian; Mike Meyers and Jim Carey, need I say more?? You guys breed ’em funny up there. Pamela Anderson, the Canadians do not have to take responsibility for…she was still really cute when she was Canadian.

  79. my stepdad has a cabin in Canada, and we went there for the first time this summer. my mom took one look at milk in a bag and denounced it. you should hear her rant.
    have you ever seen the show Arthur, on public television? some of the scenes are drawn in Canada, and some aren’t, so a kitchen scene will have milk in a bag in one shot and then in a carton in the next.

  80. Funny, milk bags obsolete out here in BC too.. Been many years since I have seen them in fact. But yes, 1% all the way. Had no idea about the buttertarts being Canadian. Hubby loves them, saved link to make him some for Cmas. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Snow already?! We are just heading into the rainy season out west. Not as pretty but I don’t have to dread driving in it (as I did when we lived in the Okanagan.)

  81. Ahhh yes- I’d forgotten about milk in bags… I’m actually canadian (in addition to Australian)- but it’s about 15 years since I last dropped in to say g’day to my canadian rellies.
    I trust that Juno is already familiar with the delights of pancakes with bacon and maple syrup? Mmmmmm

  82. OKAY the whole milk in a bag concept freaked me out a little bit – being from Southern California I’ve seen only bottles and jugs. However our schools use mini-milks in a bag for the kids lunches and as a teacher I had to teach the kindergartners how to shove a pointy little straw through the bag to drink and not all the way through the bag to create a lake of milk on their lunch plates. Milk in a bag good for adults bad for little kids with pointy straws.

  83. AH! Time Horton! I live in a Tim Hortonless area (the USA, South) but as soon as I drive over the border into my native habitat – Ohio – the search begins and my Subaru automatically pulls into the first one it senses…PLEASE, Tim, move south of Nashville, TN……Jamie

  84. Patons Yarn is in Listowel, Ontario. It’s a small town about an hour north of Kitchener. My husband was born there, and his mom and brother still live there, so we visit at least once a year, and I like to drop in at the Patons outlet store.
    We have milk in bags in Nova Scotia, and I’ve always only snipped one side. There’s a special tool (Snippit) for snipping the bags. It has a magnet so you can stick it to your fridge, so it’s always handy. It also has a clip for attaching to the side of the pitcher. Here’s a link with pictures of a Snippit:

  85. Does the myth that Canadians drink ‘homo’ milk still perpetuate? I’ve lived in this country for 16 years and have yet to hear anyone call it that. *shakes head* Though it sure would be amusing. I may start calling it that, just to be funny. (Even though I prefer skim milk to anything else.)
    As for cutting the bag at one end or the other, I’ve always just done it at one end. The pouring end, of course. *chuckles*
    It is funny how a lot of Americans know so little about their northern neighbours. And I’m not just talking about the funny cases of people tricked into congratulating Prime Minister Tim Horton on his first double-double, either. I’m British, as are my parents, though we moved to Canada when I was 5. We’ve all kept our accents (though I’ve developped the ability to switch back and forth as I please, a ‘trick’ which amuses people to no end, for some reason.) My mother used to work in a call centre, often dealing with Americans. They’d ask here where she was talking from, and she’d reply, in her British accent, that she was in the east coast of Canada. To which the Americans would often reply, “Ah, I thought I heard a Canadian accent in your voice.”
    So to all Americans who do not know, Canadians do not speak with northeastern British accents.

  86. The milk bag…they had it in BC when I had my kids, but the doctors told you not to use it, because the bags were clear, and stored under flourescent lights which destroyed some of the vitamins. Shortly after, they weren’t available (this would be the early 80’s) History trivia.
    Butter tarts…not raisins, currants.
    Canadian wool…Briggs and Little. It is available everywhere, in every weight, and most importantly is from Canadian sheep. Fleece artist is imported wool they dye. Koigu is Canadian all the way I believe, but has never been available in the boonies where I’ve lived. (Fort McMurray and the oil patch for example)
    We had some American ladies in our spinning week in Olds Alberta, and did our best to define a toque for them. We were agreed that it differs from a “knitted hat” in that it must give you severe hat head or it is a fraud.
    They all wrote down the spelling of serviette, and used the word as many times as possible in sentences so they wouldn’t forget it.
    I vote for TimBits on the food. Remember the Rick Mercer thing where he talks about “pummling the caribou with timbits?”
    White vinegar on your plain old fries.
    Barb B.

  87. butter tarts– in US made larger (of course made larger, isn’t everything in US made larger?) are know as Chess pie, (why Chess pie? one story says a young, southern miss offered a guest (a northerner) some pie, and he asked “what kind of pie?”, and she replied, “It’s chess (just) pie!”) raisins are considered optional in chess pie–and often left out. (so the custard filling is sugar,egg and butter.)

  88. Now for a Quebec perspective…
    The best poutine is found at any of the “casse-croutes” in Quebec and is made with floppy greasy fries and squeaky cheese. Milk bags…we got ’em and I vote both sides for better milk flow. Tim’s is a classic. Butter tarts are not as big here but sugar pie is a must. We also have beaver tails – or should I say “queues de castor” – and for any non-Canadian I thought we should clarify that these are actually not made of beaver-tails but are rather fried dough in the shape of beaver-tails. Beer? Molson is the classic though we’re partial to Sleeman’s honey-brown. “La soiree du hockey” aka Hockey Night in Canada is what everyone’s watching Saturday night. Every junk drawer in the province has some Canadian tire money in it. French fries are served with mayo or with salt and vinegar. Our potato chips come in a zillion flavours including ketchup, salt and vinegar, all-dressed, and dill pickle. In Quebec, I’ve never heard anyone use the term “chesterfield”, we call a couch a sofa. Of course everything here is metric, thankfully, since imperial measures are so complicated. Finally, I’d agree with everyone about Paton though my grandma knit all of our slippers and weaved garden chairs with Phantex which I don’t think is technically yarn. Anyone else heard of it?

  89. Juno got to see the best part of Toronto – our beloved Bloor West Village! I am stuck at home with a fractured rib after a fall on the Red Rocket – my fault. Reading all your references to the Village is driving me crazy – I want to go shopping – so near and yet so far! Note for Erica, Za Za and Fiasco sadly closed a while ago, I share your fond memories of their menus. As to yarn – I am an old Patons fan – many many moons ago I used to knit at home for them, testing patterns and making samples. Discovered knitting blogs a couple of months ago.. I thought we were on the Canadian endangered species list! Thank goodness I have a large stash of yarn to keep me going until I can go shopping again!

  90. I was amazed when I, a American, went to grad school of the U. of Windsor and everyone had those bags of milk with the little plastic pitchers. It seems so sensible, really, but at the time it was a puzzlement. That, and the souvlaki restaurants on every corner.

  91. Note to Mary: Kate Gilbert is not a famous Canadian blogger. She’s an extremely recently transplanted famous New Yorker blogger who has only just discovered that yes, they really do put cheese curds on fries here…
    Yuck. Give me homemade mayonnaise avec des frites any day of the week.
    Juno has to learn to say aboot. A wee little coupe of ice wine would also be a nice idea. Preferably while she is learning to say aboot. And I’m a transplanted Boston girl myself, but even I know that Patons is THE Canadian yarn. Koigu and Fleece Artist are the recent additions, icing on the cake, really, but Patons is the bedrock of the knitting world here. (How’s that for a mixed metaphor….)
    Canadian Tire money. She has to go home with some of that in her portefeuille.
    Damn, I wish I could have come to see you guys…Rachel’s first handspun, Juno learning to say all things Canadian, a whole famdambly knitting and freaking out the waiter…what a blast!

  92. Whooo… I.. as a milk loving American.. am totally facinated by the milk-in-a-bag concept.. I was first introduced when we moved from one school district to another.. and while previously having tiny milk cartons at school.. was suddenly given little clear bags of milk with a pointy straw… I *hated* them.. they were so obnoxious and they leaked all the time.. They had these things piled up on eachother in milk crates.. and there was always some on the bottom that were empty.. having their milky guts squished out of them by the bags on top.. So sad.. And it made for a pretty embarassing first day of school new kid day.. “Um.. where’s the milk?” “Oh, it’s right here..” “UMmmmmm…. ooookay.”
    It was many years later when I was talking to an online canadian friend who said her milk did something in a bag and it started from there… She actually ended up making me a photo documentary which followed the milk bag from the store.. to her glass at home.. Facinating stuff..
    I do remain distrubed by milk remaining open in the fridge as to become fridge-funk velcro.. I hope yall do something to combat that.. And don’t you dare tell me you don’t have fridge-funk.. EVERYONE has it!
    Milk-in-a-bag is my favorite Canadian topic : )

  93. There are Tim Horton’s in the US??? We don’t have them in Washington! All we have is Krispy Kreme, which I used to think were great, UNTIL my first Tim Horton’s experience in Abbotsford. We get lots of Canadian things in WA, why not Tims!!

  94. I confirm Alice’s report about milk bags in Israel.
    Imagine the stress when a both-sider marries a one-sider …horrid cross-cultural situation…

  95. How about Shirl the Purl and Margaret Atwood for Authors of the People? Two different genres, I realize, but both titans in their chosen fields. ๐Ÿ™‚

  96. Hmm, I’m not good at things Canadian. However, I can vouch for the fact that milk in bags is also sold in Wisconsin and Minnesota and that my parents regularly have the milk in a bag stuck in the plastic pitcher. Then snip on one side, but just a small hole! Size of the hole snipped can be important, according to my mother. I’ve not been to Canada since I spent a summer studying french in Quebec City, a most pleasurable experience. I can share a Wisconsin tradition with you, to delight your visitors. That is, heat apple cider, add cloves or cinnamon as you wish, then add a shot of brandy! Great treat after shovelling snow, skating or whatever. Good treat for knitting in the evening in the COLD house, where the thermostat is set lower than normal these days given the price of gas and oil!!

  97. Milk in bags?? Interesting. Steph, how about SHARING your recipe for ‘Butter Tarts’ for Xmas? I would love to try making them!!!

  98. How about doing a ‘butter tart’ along???????? That’s the ticket!!!!!! I’ve never had one, you know!!!!! I have my Grandmothers ‘Crown Kuchen’ up on my blog if you want to try that.

  99. Oh, it IS like chess pie! I used to make a wonderful chocolate chess pie . . . there was an article about the origin of the name as “jess pie” as in “just” pie. Oh, now I want chess pie. I will join a “butter tart” along.

  100. Like Barb, I went to school in Potsdam and learned a few things about Canadian culture (yes I played a mean game of broomball – usually under the influence of #2 below). You should teach Juno about:
    1) Canadian humor (or is it humour?) – SCTV… nuff said.
    2) Canadian beer – much of my college time was spent drinking the higher alcohol content Molson Brador, Stock Ale, etc. (Sorry Mom.)
    3) The Canadian way of saying “out.” “oooot”

  101. Please get Juno some poutine. I vote for Nanaimo bars as Something of the People because they are so divine. DH and I spent our 3-week honeymoon camping, biking, shopping, eating, dancing, etc. from Niagara Falls to Toronto to Montreal to Vermont and back to hot, sticky Georgia, USA. We seriously consider relocating to wonderful CA on at least a yearly basis, and my primary motivation is the poutine. I ADORE POUTINE, almost as much as I adore CA in general. Now I have 2 more reasons to go back: butter tarts and milk-in-bag (somehow we missed learning about those). Thanks for having such a great country, y’all!

  102. One side – and I agree with Dena about the horrors of marrying a “two-sider” (what the heck? the bags are plyable for a reason – you don’t need airflow! I’ve only ever had a fall-out-the-pitcher accident once, and that was when they switched to the new bigger bags and we hadn’t gotten the bigger pitcher yet). The hole is very tiny, so there’s no fridge-funk transfer, and the bags are held in a large opaque bag at the store, so there’s no worries about vitamin loss due to fluorscent lights.
    Actually, I did grow up with ‘homo’ as one of the options (southern Ontario) – we always had 2%, but my cousins had a pitcher of skim and a pitcher of homo – my sisters and I would try mixing the two to get the right consistency!
    Hate to say it, but I never liked butter tarts. Nanaimo bars on the other hand… every ounce of willpower to get out of a bakery without spending $4 on one little piece. Definitely get her to try sea salt and malt vinegar on her fries, and dill pickle chips!!

  103. I’m obviously not as Canadian as I thought I was….I’ve never heard of snipping both sides. I see the logic, though.
    I don’t know how many points it’ll win for “Canadian-ness,” but for goodness’ sake, take her to BCE Place. You can point at the Hockey Hall of Fame, which is very Canuck. And you can look at the GORGEOUS lights (I suggest going after dark) inside the building right now. That beautiful big open part? Even more beautiful with the “holiday” decorations.
    Finally, you can eat at the Movenpick Marche (“Richtree” something now?) and have an Asian woman tell you (in a very heavy accent) that she has lovely handmade bruschetta (pronounced properly and everything) for sale. That happened to me last night, and it seemed like a very “Toronto” moment. I loved it.

  104. Hi Stephanie–I live across the pond from you in New York State and Tim Horton’s is definitely taking over here–a good thing. The two things my boys always want though when we come up for a visit are aero bars and dill pickle potato chips–the adults of course want the beer–Canadian beer in the U.S. just isn’t the same as in Canada! The one thing that does impress me the most though is how clean your cities are and how absolutely pristine your wilderness areas are–we could certainly learn a few things from you there. Oh, and your weather is our weather too…Enjoy the season.

  105. Definitely Briggs and Little. Took a two week trip to the Maritimes in September to hide from my husband the fact that we were making a pilgrimage to the Briggs mill in New Brunswick; only to get there at 11:45 on Friday morning, on the one day a year they were shutting at noon for the lunch hour. The mill was in production hiatus so no tour. Fifteen minutes to shop the outlet store- thank goodness I had a plan before I got there!
    This is my favourite blog- it’s like having a secret plan about which mere mortals know nothing.

  106. Ooh, I second the other Monica — ketchup chips. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I left Toronto when I was 14, but… do people/kids (I grew up in Etobicoke) still point when they’re crossing the street? The power of the finger!
    Definitely fries with gravy, though curds are new to me.

  107. My husband just recommended Caesars! I don’t know how I could have forgotten Clamato, but that’s definitely a Canadian treat to be savoured. (If you can get past the idea of tomato and clam- together at last!) Honestly, it’s a great drink for those who haven’t tried one. Kind of like a Bloody Mary but much more tangy.

  108. The Yarn of our People has to be Briggs and Little. They’ve been around forever, and are still a fammily business.

  109. Milk in a bag isn’t an Ontario thing, you can get in in Ontario, Quebec and points east. And Patons yarns originated in England, which is probably why you find them in Canada and in Oz. I still think Briggs and Little is the Yarn of our People.

  110. Don’t forget Tanya Huff–official sci-fi writer of your people…besides the Bouchard (sic) gardens and the loveliness of Victoria, she’s the first reason I ever wished in my secret, Maple-leaf loving heart, that I had been born one of your people… (and Koigu… anything that lovely needs to be adopted by a country…)

  111. you know, I think they had milk bags and milk bag jugs when I was a little girl in the 70’s, but they are long gone with PET and cardboard milk cartons

  112. Someone up top said Newfie fries!!! You MUST introduce french fries, dressing (as in the type of dressing that would be stuffed into a turkey) and gravy. Much more appetizing than poutine. I’m sad about moving back to BC in a month for many reasons, but the lack of french fries, dressing and gravy is what hurts the most.
    And Briggs and Little. Definitely. I dropped by the outlet store in the factory in NB once, and apparently I looked so stunned by the fact that yarnwasmadethere! that the guy behind the counter offered to let me go on a one-on-one, guided, behind-the-scenes tour. It doesn’t get any more Canadian than that.

  113. i nominate coffee crisps, ketchup chips (or all dressed, or roast turkey, or dill pickle) I’m not a huge fan myself of all of those, but all these yanks seem to bee SO SURPRISED whenever I mention such things!
    and have you seen Canadian Bacon (the movie?) I find it entertaining, and very educational for the americans!
    I do also enjoy “Talking to Americans” … but it’s not such a great thing for *teaching* the Americans, unless you want to pause every thirty seconds to talk about why what they just said was wrong… ๐Ÿ™‚

  114. I suggest also exposing this person to the language of our people, and calling it a “doughnut” instead of a “donut.”

  115. Does anyone in Toronto hear a TV commercial in his/her head with this phone number? 967-1111 (read the numbers separately, as in nine-six-seven, eleven, eleven)
    And as to the spelling for donut or doughnut, I always figured it was something like cream and creme. If it’s homemade, it’s a doughnut, with ingredients you can pronounce. If it’s from a box, it’s a donut, with a serious lack of “dough”. I know, too complicated. ๐Ÿ™‚

  116. Here in Southeastern Connecticut, Tim Horton’s bought out the failing “Bess Eaton’s” a couple of years ago. In the one stupid place where Tim’s and Dunkin Donuts are side-by-side, Tim’s does not do well at all. Other spots, where you might have to cross traffic to get to DDs, Tim’s on this side of the road does well enough. There are about a dozen Tim’s shops in my county.

  117. Mmmm….timmmhorrrtonnnn’sss….now also in some parts of Michigan and Ohio…
    My eldest brother?has lived in Canada for, oh, twenty-two years or so?been married to two Canadian women (not all at once, silly!)?lives in Guelph at the moment, and has a 13-year-old Canadian son?. Be sure to teach Juno the lovely Canadian lilt which causes the voice to dance up and down and questions to pop up in every sentence? Dear brother?goes oot of the house? and gets in his car?to take me to Tim Horton’s?when I visit, eh?
    I love to hear him speak! He has not yet treated me to butter tarts, though…

  118. Wait a minute. Cheese curds are from Wisconsin, not Canada. Here in Wisconsin, we even deep fry cheese curds! (Not something I’d recommend, from a healthy diet point of view. But, no one ever accused Wisconsin-ites of being slender!) We love our squeaky cheese curds–I think the squeaky-ness is enhanced when they are room temperature. Nevertheless, I agree that Canada seems much more sane and good humored than the US.

  119. I no longer smoke but I can’t believe no one has talked about cigarettes. When I lived in Windsor for grad school (I’m a Yank and it was the early 80’s), I loved the DuMaurier cigs. Very classy looking cardboard packs with 25 cigs per. They were very expensive though which contributed to my quitting. Thank you Canada for that blessing.

  120. Good work, Steph. I hereby cede my position of interpreter to Juno, who clearly will be conversant in Tomfoolerism and the like by the time she sneaks back through customs, passing for an American.
    (and Kate Gilbert would snort milk out her nose if she knew people were referring to her as “famous”).

  121. What is the milk in a bag? Is it powdered?
    I’m confused – and while I envy your ability to wear many knitted things due to the weather of your people, my teeth are chattering just looking at the pics!
    Boy, I’m glad I live in Southern California (even if I can’t wear half the stuff I knit)!

  122. How great to listen to Peter Gzowski again. Another Canadian institution.
    I would nominate the Nanaimo bar as another dessert. It is mentioned above and I think has great lasting power — but not as awesome as my grandma’s butter tarts. They would arrive every week in a Salada tea box and had a lovely aroma because of this. Sometimes made with coconut – but the best ones were plain or with raisins. The mystery was — how did Grandma, who lived alone, drink enough tea every week to have a new tea box ready?? We never found out.
    I loved Barbara M’s post. I, too, have a recipe which for the tarts which lists a “lump of butter the size of a walnut”…
    Other thoughts for Juno…
    1) Making snow angels.
    2) Shovelling snow (but if the theme is fun.. maybe not.)
    3) French fries with vinegar.
    4) Listening to the Stuart MacLean Christmas stories while baking in the kitchen (especially the original when Dave first cooks the turkey.)
    Happy knitting.

  123. Hey! Re: milk of our people, I’m almost 100% sure this is a pure Ontario thing, I grew up in Manitoba where we drink milk the right way, out of a 4L plastic jug. None of this weird needing scizzors and a jug to consume. The first time I bought milk in a bag was my first weekend living in residence. I held the bag in my hands, took the scizzors and looked in disbelief as the bag slipped out of my hands and drained on the floor. Who knew milk-drinking was so complicated?!? WHY ONTARIO, WHY?

  124. I just got back from your lovely country (long holiday weekend near Victoria, BC) and I could not, for love or money, convince my traveling companion that a) a stop at a LYS for ‘Tofurkey Day Canada 2005!’ for yarn to commemorate my trip (probably in socks) and b) to stop at Tim Horton’s, because it was the only restaurant that I recognized (and someone told me there might be Mounties there, free to admire and gaze at to my little hearts content).
    It was her car, and wouldn’t relinquish the keys. I was doomed. And now I must finish my pack of Smarties.

  125. Ahhhhhhh… This post and the following comments could not have come at a more appropriate time for me! I’ve been living in Japan for the last 16 months and last night starting getting Canada cravings, then this morning came upon this wonderfulness!
    I vote for dill pickle chips (and ketchup, too), Stuart McLean stories, the Ottawa canal (if you can make it up there), the AGO for some Cdn art, Keith’s India Pale Ale, and OF COURSE beautiful, delicious, wonderful, glorious, make me drool just thinking about it Tim Hortons. *sigh*
    I loved reading this. It made me a little homesick, but it was great.

  126. I spent Thanksgiving weekend at my parents in Buffalo NY. Mom had a boxed mix for some cookies called Naniamo (or something like that) that she told me was the Canadian national desert – not some butter tart…..

  127. I am convinced that we (western New York state) are being taken over by Tim Horton’s. This is a very good thing, actually many good things…iced cappucino (even in the winter), Timbits and most anything else on the menu! Squeaky cheese curds can be found in many stores around here. Butter tarts sound delightful and may make some for the holidays. Milk in a bag? Sounds more practical and easier to handle to me!
    However, I’m not sure of the sanity of many of the other commenters(?) that seem to miss snow. Honestly, after the first few inches/days, snow has worn out its welcome and becomes a challenge. Perhaps I feel this way as we average about twice as much snowfall as Toronto (Rochester 93 inches vs. Toronto’s 55 inches). At least winter gives lots of spinning and knitting time!

  128. My own education in things Canadian has included the comedy of your people – the Vestibules! But don’t worry, I don’t believe the stuff in “I Don’t Want to Go to Toronto”. Well, not most of it anyway. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  129. Canada is not the only country that sells milk in bags. I can vouch for the fact that Chile and Peru both do the same, though in Chile you can also buy it in tetra-paks. When using a bag, I usually only snipped one corner, especially if I didn’t have a pitcher to empty the extra into. And Steph, why did you make no mention of the beer and ice cream of your country? Once when I was 17 I smoked a Canadian cigarette and nearly puked after a few puffs, so I guess you don’t need to advertise any of those to your readers. After all the canoeing, camping, and driving around I’ve done in your fair land, you’d think I’d have more suggestions for your cultural education class, but I think my brain is still working more slowly than usual due to the overeating this past weekend…

  130. I gotta tell ya, the idea that so many people are nostalgic for the SOUND of cheese curds freaks me out just a little.
    Maple donuts may make up for that. We have Krispy Kremes here (and everywhere) and I have to say, they just aren’t All That. I need some Tim Horton’s to compare. Dang, now I need some maple donuts.

  131. My Canadian husband opened my eyes to true Canadiana, from fries-with-malt-vinegar to the Group of Seven.
    I learned the hard way that one ONLY snips the corner of the milk bag AFTER nestling it into its custom made tight-fitting pitcher. Use your imagination.
    We live near Detroit, so we’ve been able to get CBC television over the airwaves. Much better news and Olympics coverage! I sorely miss that it hardly carries any curling broadcasts anymore.
    And 967-1111! The customs agents at the Detroit/ Windsor crossing used to ask about it to test people who claimed to be from Toronto. If you didn’t know that was the number for Pizza Pizza, you were a fraud for sure.
    Thanks for the fun.

  132. In preparing for my trip home at Christmas, the following things are on my list to do while in Canada or bring back with me: Shopper’s Drug Mart, Swiss Chalet, Coffee Crisp, Crunchie, Tim Horton’s, Pizza Pizza, poutine (definitely yum!), and Hostess Potato Chips in dill pickle.

  133. Some of the dairies in Michigan used to offer milk-in-a-bag. I used to love having it when I visited my friend’s house. ๐Ÿ™‚
    This ‘butter tart’ thing sounds fascinating… what would you cook it IN? Are there special ‘butter tart’ pans, or are these the 4″ tart pans? I’ve never made a butter tart but I’m willing to give it a go… tips?

  134. Coffee Crisps and MacIntosh toffee are what I bring home after every trip to Canada. The toffee has been the cause of some serious dental work, but it is irresistable! I grew up in Niagara Falls, NY with a Canadian mum, and we went across the border often to replenish our stores of the essentials….

  135. Sorry to be a little dense, but is that milk wet or powder? If it is wet, how do you keep it from losing it’s riboflavin in the see-thru bag? I am intrigued…

  136. I have to comment again to wholeheartedly support the suggestion that you should listen to “Dave Cooks a Turkey.” I’m giggling just thinking about it. I love Stuart MacLean.

  137. I miss dill pickle and ketchup chips the most. (For those not in the know, they are two seperate varieties.) Recently, I’ve begun finding the dill pickle chips in an Asian grocery store here in California but I still have to wait on the occasional luggage-popped bag to satisfy my ketchup chip lust.

  138. I hate to admit this, but dyed-in-the-wool Canadian that I am (learned to knit at my Amma’s knee when I was about six – you mean there are people who didn’t?), I had never eaten a butter tart until I moved to Ontario. They’re okay. However, if you want Manitoba Canadian, Saskatoons in a sealer or blueberry pie, the blueberries having been picked by the nimble fingers of children forced into the woods back of the cottage. (Think child labour.) Chokecherry jelly.
    Milk comes from cows – and there was a time when little farms could ship the cream to the creamery – not now. Cats like cream. Most of the milk went to the pigs. Now it comes in plastic bags and when I go back to Manitoba it will come in four litre jugs. Snip one side if you have children, two sides if you do not. Children love the challenge of pouring backwards. It should be avoided.
    Yarn of our country – I go for Briggs and Little. I visited the mill once and it was wonderful. Yarn of my country – the yarn my Amma spun from the fleeces dumped at her back door by the only farmer in the area who kept sheep. I think he kept them for her because he stopped after she died.

  139. White Buffalo. Have you no patriotism? WHITE BUFFALO is the Canadian Yarn. Even I know that, and I haven’t even been to Canada since I was 10. Of course, I may be the only person who likes it anymore, but my vote is still

  140. To the milk-bag questioner: I believe the milk bags are themselves bagged (3 or 4 together) in blue plastic, which probably shields it from light. Of course, if your refrigerator light has a short and stays on while it’s closed, you have more problems than just losing the riboflavin in your milk.

  141. Must play games of the people: shinny, and sledding. (Assuming snow comes back while she’s here, of course. Damned rain.)
    Must drink beverage of the people: anything microbrewed, preferably trying several different ones.
    Must eat #2 dessert of the people: Nanaimo bars.
    Maybe have some food of the people (except us veggies): tourtiere.
    Dude can provide edumacation on the music of the people.
    Must listen to Rex Murphy, Stuart MacLean, and watch This Hour Has 22 Minutes and Rick Mercer Report. Also, rent old Beachcombers collections that explain everything 70s of the people.
    Must take home and study one copy each of McLean’s Magazine, The Walrus, and Flare.
    Required test before passing honourary Canadian exam: 1) spell “neighbour”, “flavour” and “colour”, 2) make a snowball that holds it’s shape until impact, 3) extricate oneself successfully from a Muskoka chair after consuming several beverages of the people.

  142. My favorite memory of a recent visit to Victoria, B.C. was the (very handsome and dignified) slightly bemused hotel desk clerk teaching me about Canadian money, specifically “loonies” and “toonies.”
    I could listen to a Canadian speak English all day.

  143. I had to go and look up recipes for butter tarts. Now I want one. I may have to be the first person in Texas to make a butter tart. Yay! New desserts through stalking.
    Have a good day, Steph. ๐Ÿ™‚

  144. This has been a very helpful tutorial for those of us longing for Canada after enduring nearly 5 years of amazing stupidity…..maybe now they’ll let me in!! I’ll prove I can be taught Canadian! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  145. Briggs and Little is my vote for the yarn of our people. It’s basically omnipresent. Patons is a good second choice.
    How about drink of our people? I can’t speak for the rest of Canada, but the drink of our people is a cup of tea (our people being Newfoundlanders). My vote is for Tetley.

  146. All this talk about “oot” and “aboot” makes me want to puke. I’m Canadian, I’ve travelled from one coast to the other AND back and have NEVER heard those words pronounced that way. It is a myth!

  147. I rise each morning in the dark, push the button for the coffee and wait. Wait for the coffee and my eyes to blink into the light. I grap your little book and read a few pages. What a great inspiration knowing there are others as obsessive about knitting as I. Thank you for that bit of sanity in my busy day.
    From the Haven of Bliss….Crescent City, CA

  148. And if you’re ever in Manitoba, you MUST experience shmoo cake or shmoo torte. The best Canadian secret ever kept.

  149. oooh cheese curds HAVE to squeek! it’sa not a poutine if it’s not layered and squeeky! la belle province hase aaawesome poutine, but on the way up north in qc, you’ll find many a tiny shack selling some of the most amazing poutines ever! granted, you’ll know you’ve eatten one for the next week or so, but well worth it!
    as for oot and aboot…pay no mind! lol americans spell nearly every word the rest of the world uses “ou” for without the u. eg: doughnut, colour…..we may say oot and aboot, but it sure as hell isn’t ot and abot! =) pay no mind!
    hmmm cannuckness….i think it ironic, but i find the most patriotic live here, in montreal. stuck in a province threatened over and over by separation from anal petty politicians…our canadianess oooozes out! *paints maple leaf on face!* have a good day all- was most amused by this page!

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