While our American neighbors celebrated Columbus Day yesterday, Canadians were elbow deep in turkey and all the fixins. Nephew Lord C and his mom Lady J did not fail to disappoint at our family gathering this year with a 20 pound free range turkey and a whopping 8 sides. With a tribute to the US, we did have a taste of lasagna as a starter. Food coma.
While US Thanksgiving is the jumping off point for the holiday season, our Canadian Thanksgiving triggers pumpkin season for me. Today‘s treat is pumpkin bread, a low fat quick bread which fills your home with the smell of those lovely pumpkin spices.
Canadian Thanksgiving Launches Pumpkin Season
The Dowager might quip “What is Thanksgiving?” since the UK doesn’t celebrate a one day feast; instead there is month of Harvest Festival events.
The Canadian Thanksgiving holiday was officially proclaimed by Parliament in 1879 and draws upon three traditions: European harvest celebrations; the first North American Thanksgiving (1578) observed by Martin Frobisher in the Arctic Circle; and the Pilgrims’ 1621 first celebration in Massachusetts. In 1957, the date was set for Second Monday in October, and of course Americans know that US Thanksgiving is the held the 4th Thursday in November.
You know Fall is here when pumpkins line the outside of your grocer, and huge displays of canned pumpkin appear out of nowhere. Pumpkin appears on every coffee shop menu: from pumpkin lattes at Starbucks, to pumpkin muffins and donuts at every donut shop.
Part of the allure is the smell of pumpkin spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger), so fill up your kitchen with these wonderful smells by trying a few of these delights:
- Guilt Free Pumpkin Tartlets (a wee taste of pumpkin pie)
- Low Fat Edwardian Pumpkin Banana Bread
- Healthier Pumpkin Bran Loaf/Muffins
- Pumpkin Waffles
- Pumpkin Scones
Cook the Downton Way: A pumpkin yields a lot of flesh, and while canned pumpkin is convenient, you can easily make your own pumpkin purée (see below).
UK fans are now at the mid point of Season 4, sharing both laughter and grief with our favorite characters. In the US and Canada, PBS launches in January (see the countdown clock above). Each week I share Downton news, but if you haven’t seen all seasons (1-4) beware of spoilers below.
- US Downton fans rejoice! Susan Sarandon hosts “Return to Downton Abbey” Special which airs Dec. 1.
- The Roaring 20s: It was the decade that allowed women to love, work and play
- Channel your Inner Mary: Michelle Dockery summed her stern voice to quiet noisy neighbors.
- Downton Tourism: Highclere Castle sees $16,000/day from visitors
- What will they ask for next? Bizarre requests from Downton film crew
- Downstairs Edna has a sexy side: MyAnna Buring shows off her blonde roots off camera.
- Five Key Subplots for Season 4: You can expect more of the same from your favorite characters.
What I will Say about Season 4
Since Downton fans span the globe I am watching along with the UK fans, but promise not to divulge major spoilers before January. I did keep quiet last year (although it was really hard) so I think I can be trusted, mostly.
There are a few things I will say about Season 4E4:
- You can’t have the roaring 20s without jazz, so we see the younger Crawleys plan a visit to a jazz club.
- The kitchen staff are still in love with the wrong people as this story line plays out while poor Mrs. Patmore can only stand back and watch.
- While eligible bachelors begin to swam Lady Mary, she is still very much in mourning and has taken a more active interest in the running of the estate.
Abbey Cooks Entertain
With 220 traditional Downton era recipes with a modern twist, this is a great book to have on hand when planning a Downton cocktail party or hearty downstairs meal with family and friends.
Book sales help offset my costs in food, equipment and time to keep bringing you new dishes each week.
While the book is available on Amazon, you can only get a signed copy here on my site. If you don’t have an eReader I would suggest the PDF version which allows you to print recipes as you go, if you wish.