Eating Well in the Afterlife

I loves me some Mexican food, so the first thing we did when we hit the Day of the Dead festival at Harbourfront Centre yesterday was to grab some grub. Our favourite folks from El Jacal were there serving up their awesome nachos, which meant we ended up ignoring the tasty-looking tacos from Mariachi’s, but we were just too full to eat any more.

Seating indoors was packed, so we ended up on an outdoor patio in the cold, but even that couldn’t quell our desire for nachos and tortillas and flautas and oh… the lovely wonderful churros. They weren’t hot from the fryer and I had to ward off hungry sparrows, but they were still amazingly fluffy and sweet, rolled in cinnamon sugar and doused in chocolate.

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Over the Moon

Despite the fact that it’s 32 freakin’ degrees celcius in Toronto today, it is actually Autumn. And in Chinatown, where they’re getting ready to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, they’re buying mooncakes.

Wikipedia says:

Mooncake is a Chinese pastry traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Typical mooncakes are round or rectangular pastries, measuring about 10 cm in diameter and 4-5 cm thick. A thick filling usually made from lotus paste is surrounded by a relatively thin (2-3 mm) crust and may contain yolks from salted duck eggs. Mooncakes are rich, heavy, and dense compared with most Western cakes and pastries. They are usually eaten in small wedges accompanied by Chinese tea.

I’ve been able to find non-egg mooncakes all year long throughout Chinatown, but the ones with eggs are more readily available during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

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The Holiday That Canada Gave the World

The Labour Day parade goes right by our apartment. It’s senseless to try and ignore it – it’s loud and raucous and it takes a full two and a half hours for all 25,000 marchers to go past. That’s the right number of 0s there. Crazy, huh?

Parade marchers get into the Canadian National Exhibition (the finish point of the parade) for free on Labour day. Many groups had extras of the wristbands that are given to marchers and were handing them out to people watching the parade at the end of the route where we were. We were offered wristbands a half dozen times – next year we’ll plan on taking some and joining the crowd.

What I didn’t know was that Labour Day actually started in Toronto, but apparently this was the first place where people marched, in 1872. There’s a long history of the city being a “union-town” and with so much history, it’s easy to understand why.

People marched with their kids and dogs and families. Almost all unions had snazzy matching shirts or even jackets. There were plenty of bands, especially steel drum bands. While I still find it hard to muster up sympathy for things like the recent job cuts that will affect unions like CAW (Canadian Auto Workers) because I really believe there should be fewer cars on the road, I grew up in a union household (both my parents belonged to unions, as did I at my first job working at a hospital), so for the most part, I believe and agree with the presence and power of the unions.

The parade is really a celebration of humanity and what people can achieve when they pull together. Our society owes a lot to the work of unions, and while they’re not always perfect, they do a lot to make our quality of life one of the best in the world.

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Fruitcake Pr0n – Assume the Missionary Position

Every year there’s at least one of them. The fruitcake-hater. They’re a timid lot. Someone, at some point in time, has put “the fear” in them. In many cases, it was years ago; some manufactured atrocity handed out at the office, or Great-Aunt Bertha’s dry stale creation that’s been handed back and forth from branch to branch of the family for a dozen years or more.

I take my work as a fruitcake missionary very seriously. The thrill of the challenge of fightin’ words laid down with a combination of stubbornness and trepidation; it must have been what brought the religious zealots back to the south seas islands again and again for the chance to convince the heathen natives that clothes really were better than running around naked. Fruitcake really *is* better than no fruitcake, you just have to trust me.

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