Turkey supper a prairie icon

by Ruth Griffiths

The fall/fowl supper is an icon of the Prairies. It’s as traditional as Mom’s apple pie, or maybe pumpkin pie, if you prefer.

When the Saskatchewan Pavilion at Expo ’86 in Vancouver picked a menu, they recreated the fall supper complete with saskatoon berry pie, rhubarb pie and raisin pie. People lined up all the way around the pavilion and stood in line for hours to sample traditional roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, garden-fresh vegetables and home-baked buns. And keep the coffee and tea comin’!

Talented singers and dancers from Saskatchewan entertained those who ate at the pavilion. It was like a hometown talent show that totally won the hearts of everyone who attended. Many attended more than once, the food was that good. The pavilion got rave reviews in the local and national press. It was a smash hit.

That Expo pavilion succeeded because they didn’t need to reinvent the wheel. The community supper has been popular for generations and continues to be so. It’s a great place to meet your neighbours and make new friends.

Calvary United Church is holding one of the first fall suppers of the season on Sunday Sept. 17. There will be sittings at 4:30 and 6:15 p.m. Buy tickets in advance: adults $12, children 12 and under $6, preschool free. Tickets are available at the church office 306-763-8695. Families with young children get special treatment.

Years ago, when I worked full time as the Lifestyles Editor for the Daily Herald, I would prepare a full page of listings for the fall community supper season. Most featured turkey, but some included ham or beef. Some added cabbage rolls and perogies. All of them served pie. But the women (and men) who prepared those huge meals are getting older and are no longer able to produce the mountains of delicious food we have come to expect. There are fewer fall suppers today than there used to be.

I no longer go into the Herald office to write this column. I’ve retired and now work from home. So I don’t know if other groups have sent in information for the listing of upcoming events to publicize their fall suppers. I hope they will. I certainly wouldn’t want to miss one of those icons of the Prairies.