Canadian Thanksgiving and Back-Up Beef | October 6, 2021

October 11 is Canadian Thanksgiving.  Or, as they call it in Canada, Thanksgiving.  Canadian Thanksgiving is the exact same thing as American Thanksgiving except that it’s in Canada and on an October Monday and everyone says “Eh” a lot.  Also, Canadians watch Canadian Football on Thanksgiving, not American Football.  (Come to think of it, I don’t know if Canadians ever watch American Football because, as the name suggests, they have their own football league – which, like American Thanksgiving, is the same but also slightly different.)

I can’t speak for all Canadians, but my family-in-law usually celebrates Thanksgiving on the Sunday prior so that Monday can be spent eating leftovers.  Americans also do this, of course, on Black Friday.  Canadians have their own Black Friday but it’s called Boxing Day and it’s the day after Christmas – once again, the same…but also slightly different.

Kyle has a huge extended family and so my father-in-law usually makes both a ham AND a turkey (he buys a stuffed turkey that you cook from frozen which sounds like it’ll be terrible but is actually delicious) and my sister-in-law makes wheat salad (which sounds like it’ll be terrible but is actually delicious) and all of the aunties bring other types of salads and pies and cabbage rolls and we sit around and engorge ourselves for several hours and then go for a walk (to the couch – and sometimes the tractor, since Canadian Thanksgiving often falls during harvest) “to digest.”

Here is the recipe for wheat salad:


  • 1-1/2 C whole wheat berries, cooked like rice
  • An 8-ounce package of cream cheese
  • A 15-ounce can of crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 8-ounce tub of thawed Cool Whip


  • Mix and chill.

Anyways, we don’t consistently go up to Saskatchewan for Canadian Thanksgiving because Americans consistently don’t take into account Canadian holidays when setting the schedules for America-based things like youth hockey tournaments and important work events.  However, because I’m a loving wife, and also a loving turkey-eater, I have diligently hosted years of Canadian Thanksgiving for both our ex-pat Canadian friends and our “sure, we like food” American friends.  From this has led to the all-important Amanda holiday tradition: back-up beef.

Roasted turkey is very easy to make.  This is evidenced by the fact that my father-in-law can stick a lump of ice in the oven and pull out a delectable meal, and also because this is the basic recipe for turkey:


  • Turkey, rubbed with butter or another oily product


  • Roast turkey in heated oven until cooked through.

I have successfully made turkey for American Thanksgiving and non-holiday dinners many, many times.  I have successfully made turkey for Canadian Thanksgiving exactly zero times because the universe does not want me to serve America-cooked turkey on Canadian Thanksgiving.  For example:

One year I defrosted an 18-pound turkey and put it in the oven at 10:00 am with the intention of serving it around 3:00 pm.  The general rule of thumb for my old oven was that an unstuffed turkey would roast at the rate of 15 minutes per pound.  At 10:30, I opened the oven to baste it and realized the little popper thing on the turkey had spring.

“Probably defective,” I thought to myself, and closed the oven.

At 11:00, I opened the oven again and was greeted by what looked like a fully cooked turkey.  I stuck my electric thermometer in the meatiest part of the bird and set the temperature alarm.  It went off immediately.  I called my mother.

“There’s no way that turkey is cooked,” she said.

I texted her a photo of both the turkey and the thermometer.

“Hang on,” she said, and conferenced in one of her closest friends – a master in the kitchen.

“There’s no way that turkey is cooked,” the friend said.

I texted her a photo of both the turkey and the thermometer.

After much discussion and 200 more poked thermometer holes, we determined the best course of action was to carve the bird and put it in a sheet pan on low in the oven with a tiny bit of juice on the bottom.  Kyle pulled it out, turned on the electric knife, and cut several slices out of what turned out to be a half-cooked, half-raw turkey.

The turkey did end up getting fully cooked to a safe level of edibility, rendering it dry as a pile of dust.  Fortunately, I had five pounds of ground beef in the freezer and so I cooked up tacos and everyone ate that while gamely pretending like the turkey was “fine with a little gravy.”

The next year, I purchased two identical turkeys and roasted one – perfectly – the month before.  I followed the exact same steps as my initial dry-run (or moist-run) on Canadian Thanksgiving, and ended up with a turkey-shaped lump of coal.  Fortunately, I had tossed a roast in the crockpot earlier that morning and so we dined on hot beef sandwiches.

And so it has gone for the past howevermany years: I ruin a turkey, and save the day with back-up beef.  I’m thinking about skipping the roasted turkey altogether this year and serving a bunch of roast beef sandwiches…just like the settlers in days of yore, only different.

The photos above are from various Canadian Thanksgivings.  The photo of Kyle is legit because it was taken in actual Canada.  The photo of me was taken in America, back before we had children and I apparently had the wherewithal to cook in a cocktail dress.  Notice the crockpot of back-up beef on the counter behind me.

This week’s news has actress Angie Dickinson, author Elizabeth Raum, and a giraffe named Amani. Read on.

Pull out your Bunad because the Western Plains Opera and the Norsk Hostfest Association are hosting “An Evening of Norwegian Song and Story” this Saturday. (Minot Daily News)

After a suicide attempt put Devils Lake’s Josh Wentz in the hospital for reconstructive surgery, the local community rallied around Josh and his family to continue to raise donations and spirits in order to show how much they care. (Devils Lake Journal)

Happy Birthday to Kulm’s Angie Dickinson on her 90th birthday! (KFYR TV)

Fargo’s Elizabeth Raum has written more than 100 children’s books – including her newest about the Flood of 97. (Fargo Forum)

The Roosevelt Zoo has a new giraffe named Amani. (KX Net)

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