Canadian Thanksgiving, pt. 1: Starters

October 12, 2011

Hi all!

So yes, I know it’s the Wednesday after Canadian Thanksgiving (which, given Canadians’ general confusion over when this plagiarized holiday even is, makes me either two or three days late), but I’ve been busy—namely, busy preparing a 12-course vegan Thanksgiving dinner! Forgive me that I’m only getting around to blogging it now. But let me tell you: it’s worth the wait. This meal was so major that I’m going to break it up into three separate blog posts! (What’s that, it’s still VeganMoFo, you say? What a coincidence…) And today I’m featuring where it all began: the starters!

But first, for those of my American readers unfamiliar with the great northern tradition that is (Canadian) Thanksgiving, let me rehearse a brief explanation I shared on this occasion last year:

While all you Americans are busy enjoying Columbus Day, Canada is busy with its own holiday this weekend: Thanksgiving. Yes, that’s right: Canadians don’t know when Thanksgiving is. Why do Canadians even have Thanksgiving, you ask? Well, it’s because Columbus never discovered Canada, since it was too cold (leaving it instead to the French), and the Canadians, being jealous of their Americans neighbo(u)rs always getting the second Monday of October off, needed some other reason to get a long weekend. And, since by the end of November everything in Canada is already frozen, the beginning of October seemed the perfect time for a harvest festival. And that’s the history of Canadian Thanksgiving.

(Actually, I just checked Wikipedia, and it appears that Canadian Thanksgiving may have actually started before American Thanksgiving, but, like the Canadian origins of Labo(u)r Day, I think everyone has well forgotten this by now, in true American, culturally imperialistic spirit.)

So there’s your spurious history lesson of the day. Now let’s move on to the food! For my Thanksgiving feast’s starters, I wanted to prepare a few easy dishes that could be pleasantly noshed on as my guests trickled in. First and foremost, this meant bread—French bread from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, to be more precise:

I’ve raved about Peter Reinhart’s bread formulas before, and I am just going to continue that praise here. Though this bread was perhaps not the most amazing thing that’s ever passed my lips (or even my favorite bread recipe from the book), it was a solid loaf, and very satisfying for something made entirely from scratch.

To go with the bread, I whipped up two batches of hummus: Creamy Red Pepper Hummus from Oh She Glows (which had already knocked me out twice before) and Apple Pie Hummus, a recipe from Healthy Kitschy Vegan which I was referred to by Prairie Vegan. The red pepper hummus was, as expected, a big hit. And the apple pie hummus was remarkable: it really tasted like you were eating an apple pie filling, even though there were two cups of chickpeas in there! Perhaps not the best starter due to its sweetness, but still an excellent recipe that I will definitely be keeping in my arsenal for later use.

Last but certainly not least, I made a big bowl of kale chips—or rather, Sour Cream & Onion Kale Chips à la Cupcakes and Kale! It’s been so long since I’ve had actual sour cream and onion chips, I really can’t say how well these emulate the real deal, but I do know that they are superb all in their own right. I loved the flavor of the cashew cheese topping paired with the crispness of slow baked kale, as did my guests—the bowl was empty before mains were even on the table.

And those were my starters! Come back tomorrow to see what I prepared for my entrees, and to see more of my favorite dinner guest:

“Well, that was pretty good I guess… but what’s next?”

VeganMoFo #12/31

Until we eat again,




  1. That is one adorable puppy!

  2. I really love your style so I’m going to stay a reader after Vegan MoFo is over! Yay for discovering your blog.

    I would really love baking more bread. How long did it take you to get consistently good results?

    • Wow thanks!! How cool—you’re the first German reader I’ve heard from! As you may have already seen, I spent some time in Berlin this summer, and blogged about the experience here and here. I’m definitely going to start following your blog too now! I know you’re writing in English now for VeganMoFo, aber ich freue mich darauf, dein Blog auf Deutsch zu lesen, um mein Deutsch zu üben (während ich auch gleichzeitig tolle vegane Rezepte entdecke).

      Anyway, about bread: It didn’t take me too long to get good at it. The toughest part is learning when a dough “feels right”, both when initially mixing the ingredients together and when kneading it. I think it takes everyone a few times (and a few mistakes!) to learn this. So don’t be discouraged if your first few tries don’t turn out that great. Just keep at it!

      (Also, a good tip I learned that’s always helped me: When kneading by hand, it’s virtually impossible to over-knead, so just continue kneading until the dough feels right!)

  3. What a fabulous feast! I’m very impressed by the bread (and I’m grateful for the “it’s virtually impossible to over-knead by hand” tip above). I look forward to reading about parts two and three of your Canadian vegan Thanksgiving! Will you be celebrating American Thanksgiving as well? (Yes, I’m hinting at more photos and tales of feasts.) 🙂

    • Thanks! Part Two just went up, and Part Three (the desserts!) will be up tomorrow. And yes, I will be celebrating American Thanksgiving, here in Toronto, sometime in late November / early December (I’m already getting the feeling that my hectic school schedule will prohibit me from hosting a dinner on Thanksgiving Day proper). So yes, plenty more photos and tales of feasts to come! I love being able to have two Thanksgivings every year now that I’ve moved to Canada.

  4. […] We Eat Again Vegan Adventures from Toronto « Canadian Thanksgiving, pt. 1: Starters Canadian Thanksgiving, pt. 2: Mains October 13, […]

  5. […] been blogging the Canadian Thanksgiving dinner I made last weekend, and having now covered my starters and my mains, it’s finally time to get to the desserts. I made a lot, both in terms of […]

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