Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/9/2016 (1288 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It’s the season of feasting here on the Prairies, a time to break bread with your neighbours and share stories from a busy Manitoba summer. Call them what you will—fall suppers, harvest dinners, fowl suppers—it’s time for a home-cooked meal with plenty of pie for dessert.
To find a fall supper this season, watch for posters on post office doors and grocery store billboards. They’re most often held in church basements and community halls in cities, towns and even the smallest hamlets. Outside Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, fall suppers are rare, so count yourself lucky to take part in this Prairie traditions. One of the best sources for planning your rural fall supper strategy is put together by Orest Kinasevych, a local blogger (kinasevych.ca/2016/08/09/manitoba-fall-suppers-2016/). For city suppers, see DiningwithDonald.com.
Last year, there were no less than 80 suppers held in rural communities across the province. And that doesn’t include the dozens held in churches and community halls in cities including Winnipeg and Brandon. Or the more elaborate dinners held at FortWhyte Alive or St. Norbert Farmers’ Market.
The menus tend to reflect the cultural make-up for the community hosting the dinner. You’ll always find perogies and cabbage rolls in Ukrainian communities (and sometimes in non-Ukrainian communities too). In Manitoba’s francophone towns, you’ll see tourtière (meat pie) and sucre à la crème (a fudge-like candy). Once in a while, you’ll see one of these events advertised as a fowl supper, a clue as to how they got their start. Across Prairie Canada, waterfowl is plentiful and the fall brings opportunities for harvest. Originally, many suppers would serve duck and goose. Today, the menu has evolved to feature turkey or chicken as the main entrée (with mashed potatoes and gravy, of course). While the birds may have changed, the side dishes continue to reflect the cultural individuality of the communities.
Fall suppers are now underway and usually run until mid November. The sweet spot of suppers seems to be the third week in October. But don’t delay. These are popular events. In Cooks Creek, the Immaculate Conception Church feeds 650 people in three seatings in the church basement. It’s always sold out.
Keep in mind that advanced tickets are mandatory. Organizers need to know how many people they will be feeding, so showing up on a whim is not an option. Make your plans in advance and look forward to a fabulous feast.
Because many fall suppers are organized by church groups, be prepared to bow your head before the meal. And if you have food allergies, it’s probably best to choose another dinner option. Ticket prices range from $10 to $20 and children are usually half price. Some dinners includes dances and silent auctions too. Second helpings are encouraged—pie for dessert is nearly mandatory.