Questions about Canada

Alright! It's time for me to answer some of your questions about Canada! I received a lot of good emails, but the best was from a regular reader named Abby who asked her American friends through her facebook status to think of questions for The Skip-Raid. Um, amazing! See, facebook isn't entirely awful. Sidenote - that embroidery of Canada is one of my favourite pictures to visually describe where I'm from. See how Toronto is represented by a raccoon? Yeah, that's about right. This is actually a pillow from Catstudio.com (please PLEASE click on that link. They sell the best glasses and tea towels with states and cities and stuff on them. I have a Tennesee glass and it's seriously one of my favourite things in my house). Anyways, enough shilling for a company that is paying me nothing...on to the questions!

1. Do you have scrapple?
No, we don't. I only know what scrapple is because on Ace of Cakes one time, they had a competition to see who's scrapple was better: Geoff's traditional scrapple made from pork discharge (or whatever scrapple is made from) and...uh…I can't remember the baker's name with the glasses, but glasses makes a vegan scrapple. Suffice it to say, both looked gross. I just Google image searched 'scrapple' and, while it doesn't look totally disgusting, it looks like welfare spam (pfft, I'd still choke it back).

2. Why are all the HGTV shows filmed in Canada?
Yeah, I guess we do film a lot of HGTV stuff here! Its because, truthfully, Canada has a very big reno scene (does that even make sense? What the hell is a reno scene?) I think it's because we have a million reno professionals in Canada. I think the ratio of interior decorators to normal citizens is like 1:9 or something. Also we have a show called Canada's Worst Handyman. By geeze, if you can find it online, WATCH IT!!! It's so hosery. I really really love it. They take normal Canadians (aka Mostly Rednecks) and ask them to perform simple reno tasks: re-grout the sink, put up some tile, paint a room. And they all fuck it up so badly and then curse out everyone else ("MY DAMN HAMMER WAS ON WRONG!!")

3. Why do you say Aboot?
We don't. It just sounds that way because you pronounce it Ah-baw-utt. Really though, we pronounce it more like "a-boat".

4. Why do so many comedians come from there?
Because Canadians are very funny. I'm sorry, that answer was not funny in the least, but it's the truth. But for every funny Canadian you meet, there are about 10 who are really boring and love bragging that they don't own a TV and wear a million layers of loose clothing and listen to nu-jazz.

5. Is Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan as awesome a town as it sounds like it would be?
HELLS TO THE NO, BOBBY B!!! The only thing good about Saskatchewan is that they filmed Corner Gas there (prepare for hatemail from Saskatchewan in 3-2-1...)

6. Are you cold? Do you want me to mail you a sweater?
I know that America loves to joke about this, but for real - from October to May, I am constantly wearing a sweater. I was listening to the radio the other day (shit, that makes me sound like such a hick) and they described Canadians as "A Winter People". Very accurate. We are a winter people. But in some parts of the country, we're also Summer People (Toronto) or Rain 24-7 People (Vancouver).

7. What's the obsession with curling?
Fuck me, I have no idea. Nobody I know curls. One time when I was about 10 or 11 I tried it with my sister. We didn't have proper curling shoes, so we had to put duct tape on our soles to make them slippery. After like, 2 minutes, I was so ready to go home. But really, I'm the wrong person to answer that - I'm so inactive, climbing stairs is like a sport for me (if it were an Olympic event, I'd take home the Gold! Kidding, I'd be disqualified for cheating and using an elevator).

8. Are there really only 42 Canadian actors?
We literally have 42 actors. They appear in every TV show. You see the same faces in commercials over and over again. And TV? Holy god, if you appear in one failed TV pilot, you're sure to be cast in another 1 week after it's been canceled. The thing about Canadian actors is that they usually have 50+ acting credits on their IMDB page, and yet they still work at Foot Locker. One of my friends in High School was a Canadian actor who had been on countless TV series since she was like, 6 years old or something, and yet she was always worrying about selling her car to pay her phone bill. She now lives in LA (smart move).
It's sort of a Catch-22, though. 99% of American programming is American, right? Sometimes you get the odd episode of Extras, but for the most part all the shows you watch are made is the Good Old USA starring red-blooded 'Murricans. Okay, so now when you look at Canadian TV programming, most of it is...American. It's so bad we have this thing called CanCon (Canadian Content) which means a tv station/radio station, by law, has to have Canadian content. So then we get those really shitty shows that are canceled within the first 3 months, and it just keeps going and going and going...etc etc till death do us part. The only exception to this rule are the following shows:
Corner Gas
Trailer Park Boys
Degrassi Junior High
Degrassi High
Degrassi: The Next Generation
The Kids in the Hall
Dragon's Den
These were/are all amazing TV shows that didn't make you embarrassed of Canadian television (I'm speaking to you, Little Mosque on the Prairie).

9. The only knowledge I have of Canada is from the movie Canadian Bacon. How accurate a portrayal is that? Also, why is your bacon so weird and not as delicious as American bacon? Do you ever call it ham?
First, I think I have seen about 1/2 of Canadian Bacon, and it would have been purely by accident in like, a dentist's waiting room or something. So let's just say that that movie both accurately portrays Canada and is completely wrong about Canada (I'll have to re-watch it...someday. I have a dentist appointment coming up soon). But on to your question about Canadian bacon:
a) We have normal American bacon. We call it "bacon". We put it on everything and use it the same way Americans do.
b) Canadian bacon is only sold in America. You will never, ever find Canadian bacon in a Canadian grocery store.
c) The closest we have to Canadian bacon is Peameal bacon, but Peameal bacon is waaaay better.
d) We have ham. We treat it the same way you treat ham. Jesus, how confusing is pork, eh?

10. You should teach us all how to use "eh?" properly, because we have no idea.
Oh, hello! My favourite question. Using Eh is really easy, and many Canadians act like they never stoop so low, but we all do it. Especially those of us who were raised "up north". In America, you refer to rednecks as "southerners" and "down south" etc etc but in Canada, it's anyone who lives north of the American border. So you talk about people being from "Up North" (aka Narth) instead of "Down South". I'm from up north, and no matter how much I try, I cannot never be total trash. So when I use Eh, it's like:
"They've got some really good dresses at H&M, eh?"
You always use it in a question, you use it like the word "right". But also Eh means "believe what I'm telling you is the truth, for real". And you pronounce it just like the letter - A. Americans are always doing the "eighhhhhh" thing, but it's just like "A". Aye. And it's never a separate word - you attach it to the end of your sentence. For instance:

"Jenny was pretty drunk, eh?" sounds like:
"Jenny was pretty drunkaye?"

Kind of like when The Fonz says "Ehhhhhhh, sit on it". We never add it on for no reason (well, maybe super rednecks do) so it's never just "How are you doing, eh?" No one ever says that. Its always like, you add Eh if you want someone to agree with you. And it's something that spills out. It's never forced. It just happens. "That guy was a dick, eh?" Sort of like how Americans use "huh?".
And something all Canadian rednecks say: Get R Done. I hate it.

11. Ummmmm wtf is poutine?
Boom goes the dynamite! There's the question that most Canadians are asked most, and I do not mind answering it.Poutine is very simple: french fries (usually fresh cut, but shitty places will serve frozen bagged fries. It's okay) are put into a bowl, sometimes a plate. The white cheese curds (never orange cheddar) are sprinkled generously over the fries. If you have no idea what cheese curds are, imagine taking string cheese and ripping it up into little quarter-sized pieces. So then brown gravy is poured over top. It's sort of like beef gravy? But not au jus; it's thick, like KFC gravy. And it's loaded on. You get it really hot and it's so salty and fatty. You can try to pick at it with your fingers, but it's best to eat it with a fork. Now, Quebec has the best poutine because they have amazing cheese, and it was invented there, so they've perfected that shit. You can go anywhere in Montreal and get the shittiest, most pedestrian tourist poutine and it will still be awesome. In Toronto, we try to make poutine 'jazzy'. We can't leave anything alone. Fuck. So you get garbage like Mexican Poutine (fries, cheese, gravy, TACO MEAT!! SALSA!!!) or Indian Poutine (fries, cheese, gravy, BUTTER CHICKEN!!! NAAN CRUMBLES!!) and it's like, not a dumpster, stop throwing everything in there. In Toronto we have a restaurant that isn't...totally tragic...called Smokes. Visit their website to see all the abominations to the word 'poutine'. With the exception of the Pulled Pork Poutine, which RULES. In case you're wondering how it's pronounced, there are two ways:
Correct French: puh-TIN
Trashy Anglophone: POO-teen


SJM said...

Is poutine ever made with white gravy? Why is it always the meat gravy? If you love Cracker Barrel as much as I think you do, you would have tried this with white gravy already.

casu marzu said...

omg,SJM, I think you're on to something! However, if Cracker barrel made this, they'd file it under the "vegetable" section of the menu.

The Mayor said...

Here's another fun fact about Canada! We don't have white (Sawmill) gravy. I absolutely love it, and when I go to 'Merica, I like to buy packets of it. I'm actually saving one so I can make Cracker Barrel brunch for my friends. In Canada, we have two kinds of gravy: regular (so, like Thanksgiving dinner gravy) and Au Jus (the brown gravy you dip beef sandwiches in).

So I don't believe there are any documented cases of white gravy on poutine, but now I want to try it. And yes - this totally sounds like something Cracker Barrel would make. And put into the "Vegetable Sides" section of the menu.

Alice said...

You forgot "The Beachcombers" and "The Littlest Hobo" on your TV list.

They just had a "Littlest Hobo" marathon on TV a couple of weeks ago and it was...awsome (so awsomely bad that it's good).

The Mayor said...

Shit! I forgot! Littlest Hobo :(

Dylan said...

in some of the northern states you can get "disco fries" which is kind of like poutine except they use grated mozzarella and cheddar instead of curds. and it's total bullshit.

Marina said...

Another thing americans don't have and we do for some reason.. is our milk comes in bags, and THEN we put the bag into a bag holder to be able to pour it.

Rachael said...

Corner Gas DOESN'T make you embarrassed about Canadian television?! That it was considered to be a prime example of a successful Canadian show is mortifying! I would rather stab myself in the eye with a fork than watch that stupid show, it would be less painful. Ugh. It is EXACTLY what is wrong with Canadian programming. It perpetuates all the wrong ideas about Canadians. I couldn't even stomach watching the promos that played perpetually on CTV.

Cherry on the bullshit sundae? Not only is the main actor ugly, irritating and entirely un-funny, his name is Brent Butt. Really? Come ON.

That said, how did Being Erica not crack the list? Quality production value, good writing, great acting. It's also been syndicated all over the world and has already spawned a British remake. Just sayin'.

The Mayor said...

I have watched Being Erica. I have tried, honestly. It is the largest, steamiest pile of garbage I have ever seen. I'd rather stab myself in the face with a convicted murderer than watch that show.

Corner Gas was, in a word, brilliant. Every episode was written perfectly. I stand by my sentiments.