“You’re from Canada? Do you live in an igloo? And see penguins?”
“Yeah. I ride my pet polar bear to school every day.” I replied to my new camp friend.
“Really?” She said, eyes wide.
“No… Do you seriously think we live in igloos? Those are Eskimos in Alaska, Americans, by the way. Plus penguins don’t live in the Arctic. They only live in Antarctica.” I learned that from a 2-Minute Mysteries novel and felt very smart as I said it.
However, the conversation repeated itself enough times throughout my life to create a list of other examples:
13 Things all Canadians have been asked:
- “Is it really winter all year long?” Not in any of the provinces. If you reach Nunavut, maybe.
- “Do your policemen ride moose?” Sometimes the RCMP ride horses on ceremony. The rest of the police force drive cars.
- “Do you say ‘eh’ a lot?” Not sure what you mean by that, eh?
- “Why do Canadians apologise for everything?” Sorry.
- “What’s Tim Hortons?” (*Stunned silence*) I’m not talking to you. Sorry
- “Why are Canadians obsessed with Tim Hortons?” It’s awesome, that’s why.
- “Why do Canadians say ‘a-boot‘ instead of ‘about’?” We don’t…
- “Why do Canadians like hockey so much?” Because it’s fun.
The conversations may include other dumb jokes like:
- “You Canadians can’t spell. Why do you spell ‘colour’ with a U?” It makes us multicultural. Now let that sink in.
- “I don’t like Canada because it gave us Justin Bieber.” We also ‘gave’ you Jim Carrey, Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling, Mike Myers, Celine Dion, Avril Lavigne, Ryan Reynolds, Michal Buble, Corey Monteith, Nina Dobrev, Dwayne Johnson, Drake, and Josh Groban. You are welcome.
- “You money is so colourful. Did you get it from Monopoly?” Shoot, you’ve noticed! Don’t tell Parker Brothers.
- “What are loonies and toonies? Are they called that because Canadians are looney? Harhar!” Our one dollar coin has a picture of a loon on it. So we call them loonies. Our two dollar coins are called toonies, as in two-nies. It’s not complicated, but I’m not sure a country who is still using the imperial system would understand…
- “US currency is much more than Canada’s! Na na na!” So is your country’s debt.
I admit most of these statements were inspired by debates with my American friends. You know you who are, and I’m sorry I’m so harsh. It’s not really nice of me, eh? How a-boot we make up? Come into my igloo, and I’ll give you some poutine.
“What’s poutine?” They ask.
Poutine is layers of French fries, hot gravy, melted cheese, and comforting indulgence. It’s the most famous Canadian food, next to our beer and maple syrup. The first bite of poutine is savoury bliss. The last bite turns into nausea and stomach cramps. As much as we Canadians love our poutine, it’s a hard-core fast food, filled with dairy, gluten, and enough oil to destroy any gut.
It’s a-boot time, we changed that, eh? Here’s a new and improved recipe, using nutrient-packed squash baked into fries, a quick and tasty gravy, and a dairy-free cheese option.
Oh Canada, we love poutine. So put on your hockey jersey, sit under your favourite maple tree, wash it down with a Tim Horton’s Double-Double, go ice fishing, chat with a moose, and share the scrumptiousness with pet polar bear and penguin.
Oh, wait. Penguins don’t live in the Arctic. Sorry.
Butternut Squash Poutine
For the fries:
- 1 butternut squash
- 3 tbsp oil
- 2 tbsp tapioca starch
- 1/2 tsp of:
- garlic powder
- onion powder
For the gravy:
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable soup stock
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp tapioca starch
- salt and pepper to taste
Cheese (I used dairy-free Daiya cheese.)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Peel the squash and scoop out the seeds.
- Cut the squash into French fry wedges. Remember they will shrink when baked.
- Places the wedges into a Ziploc bag with the oil, tapioca, and spices. Shake until combined.
- Spread onto two lined baking pans and bake for about 40 minutes, flipping over after 30 minutes if needed, until golden and crispy at the edges.
- Meanwhile, make the gravy by adding all of the ingredients into a small pot on medium-low heat until combined and thickened, about 5 minutes.
- To serve: Pile the squash fries into a bowl and drizzle on the gravy. Add generous amounts of cheese. Broil at 400 degrees for a few minutes until the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.