Last updateMon, 08 Dec 2014 1pm

Thanksgiving pre-Costco and Walmart

With Thanksgiving 2014 (both the Canadian and the U.S. celebrations) now just a memory, I’ve been remembering some of the adventures of planning and preparing Thanksgiving dinner at lakeside 20 years ago.

Many of us turned to international smuggling to stock up on ingredients for pumpkin pies, cranberry sauce and sage or cornbread dressing. Twenty years ago, most Lakesiders drove to the border twice a year to renew the required six-month car permits. Those making November trips concealed butternut and acorn squashes, bags of fresh cranberries, and boxes of brown sugar in their luggage and swaddled frozen turkeys in insulating layers of newspaper and foil so they would survive the trip back to Mexico.

Preparing sweet potatoes could be a problem. Stores didn’t stock brown sugar, molasses or even agave syrup. There were no imported marshmallows and the Mexican brand didn’t melt, plus they were strawberry flavored. Some fresh local sweet potatoes looked like the real deal … until they were peeled and revealed the white flesh inside. Always innovative, the late Morley Eager, founder of La Nueva Posada, was sure Chef Lorraine could turn them orange byadding a mixture of red and yellow food coloring. To say it didn’t work would be an understatement of the ensuing mess. 

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