Y is for Yukon

For some reason, when I think of the Yukon Territories I can’t get the image of the Calvin and Hobbes book, Yukon Ho! out of my mind. I guess that’s because the Yukon has always been associated with exploration and adventure. The Yukon is our last stop in Canada on our alphabetical journey around the world after visits to British Columbia, Quebec and the Maritimes and I sort of included the rest of Northern Canada in our explorations.

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We started with a trip to the library to pick up a few non fiction books about the Yukon as well as several fictional books as well. Most of the books were about the Klondike Gold Rush and we talked a bit about how gold was found along rivers and how people sold everything they had to go up to the Klondike in the hope of getting rich. We had visited Fort Edmonton, which has a gold rush era village a few years ago and we looked at some of our old pictures, but the kids couldn’t really remember their last visit. I guess that means we’ll have to try to get back there this summer, then!

Just by chance, my daughter had picked up a copy of the Brother Bear book from her school library this week and she was quite fascinated by the story, so that gave us a great chance to talk about the flora and fauna of the north, the original inhabitants of the Territory  and the northern lights. We used chalk and black paper to make a northern lights craft after watching a few video clips of the northern lights in action. For some reason my daughter’s efforts looked more like a psychedelic volcano.

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Reading the Brother Bear book with the kids reminded me that we had the movie somewhere, so we ended up having an impromptu movie night. While it might have been a bit of a stretch to call the movie Yukon themed, it did have lots of great animated scenery.

For our Y is for Yukon dinner, I have to admit I struggled a bit. I did a google search to find out what sort of vegetables grow in the Yukon and I came up with beets, turnips, carrots, spinach, and lettuce. So, carrots it was. I also threw in Yukon Gold potatoes, which don’t actually come from the Yukon itself (it was developed at the University of Guelph) but I couldn’t resist adding them to the menu. During the gold rush, old timers were called “sourdoughs”, and they often used sourdough starter instead of yeast because of the cold conditions, so a loaf of sourdough seemed like an obvious addition. And when I found a local store that carried Arctic char the menu was complete. I made it campfire style; dredged in flour and cornmeal and pan fried.

And the verdict? Well, it was carrots, potatoes, bread and fish. I don’t think they really found it any different than most other meals I make for them. My husband and really enjoyed the Arctic char, though. It was a nice change from salmon.

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I did a bit of research on beverages from the Yukon and although they do produce several local beers, none were available in our part of the country. The Canadian north also has several distilleries that produce specialty gin and a couple were available locally, but we don’t even really appreciate ordinary gin, let alone the specialty kind and that seemed like it would be a waste of money. In the end I stretched the association a bit by going with a wild berry cider cooler. Hey, there’s lots of wild berries in the Yukon, right?

For dessert I was able to find some Saskatoon berry preserves and I made a batch of blueberry and Saskatoon berry tarts. The kids thought they were just okay, but fortunately my husband will never turn down a pie, no matter how tiny it is.

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And that was Y is for Yukon, our second last letter of the year. It was a lot of fun to look at somewhere in our own country, and it was fun to look at the history of the Klondike gold rush as well. And now we have one more week of our alphabetical global adventure to look forward to. On to the letter Z!

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