Sunday, 20 November 2005

Above the 49th

Reading with enjoyment the other day of the arrest and indictment of Conrad Black, it occurred to me that Other Men's Flowers has paid insufficient attention to Canada. I frequently post items of interest to Americans, noting some of their quaint orthographical habits or discussing their major historical figures such as Hattie McDaniel and Curly Joe DeRita, but I have never dealt in depth with that great country which Americans from Albuquerque to the Bronx fondly refer to as The Friendly Giant to the North.
I do not know why this should be so, since there has been much in my life which relates to this former—now, alas, no longer—Dominion:
1. My wife was for some years a Canadian citizen and has relatives who live there, except in the winter when it gets cold and they go to Phoenix AZ.
2. I have been there on two occasions, one of them extending to more than a week (not counting several touchdowns in Vancouver en route to somewhere else),
3. I possess a splendidly bound two-volume history of the CPR which I have every intention of reading one of these days, and
4. I am one of the very few non-Québécois who know why they put sweetcorn in Shepherds’ Pie and call it Pâté chinois.
Not only all that, but I have read up on the Yukon, and used to be able to recite the whole of the poem that begins:
A bunch of the boys were whooping it up in the Malamute saloon;
The kid that handles the music-box was hitting a jag-time tune;
Back of the bar, in a solo game, sat Dangerous Dan McGrew;
And watching his luck was his light-o'-love, the lady that's known as Lou.

Anyway, let me now make up for my neglect by passing on some information of interest only to Canadians, hoping that it will bring a moment or two of happiness into their drab, miserable lives. No, on second thoughts, let them wait; I’ll do it in the next post.


The Continental Op said...

I am one of the very few non-Québécois who know why they put sweetcorn in Shepherds’ Pie and call it Pâté chinois.

Do tell!

Tony said...

All right, but it's not really all that interesting:
the recipe originated in Quebec with the descendants of Chinese railway workers, so hachis Parmentier was renamed. I don't actually know why they put sweetcorn in it; doesn't sound a very good idea to me.