We have been attending this annual dinner with our family and neighbours ever since we moved to rural Saskatchewan in 2010. In the years when I felt cranky, I misheard it as “foul supper,” and in others, with yellow leaves filling my eaves and rain barrel, I heard “fall.” Regardless of pronunciation, fowl suppers are a Prairie harvest tradition, usually held under the auspices of churches and volunteer community groups, with women dishing up and washing up in the church kitchen the day of, and women cooking and baking in their home kitchens for days in advance.
Regardless of which small town you find yourself in, the fowl supper menu is changeless and most of it is homemade: turkey, stuffing, gravy, mash, rutabaga, carrots, salad, buns, and pie. Pie, glorious pie, in all manner of flavours, including — this lucky year — homemade butter tarts. As I picked up a plate of apple pie and added a tart to my plate, I observed many others doing the same thing, usually with a grinning glance around. The presence of Ontario-born butter tarts on a Prairie groaning board is a small indicator of our mobile population: I’ve eaten them in Newfoundland, too, as a partner to figgy duff following a traditional Jigg’s dinner.
Fowl supper tables are communal, so when we sat down, I was elbow to elbow with a stranger, who promptly introduced himself before tucking into his spuds and turkey. Several tables over, I saw some good friends, our nearby neighbours, but they were deep in conversation with their tablemates, so visiting waited until we’d all eaten our pie. As I munched, I recalled the bartering power commanded by butter tarts in the bidding wars that accompanied school lunchtime in my childhood. A butter tart could get you anything, but who’d want to trade it away? from Glacier Farm Media
Read- Was the Butter Tart Really Invented in Barrie, Ontario? Jaan Kolk Files
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