Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sausage and Eggs

I enjoy sausage and eggs for breakfast from time to time. I ate one of the most memorable such breakfasts at a home where I was staying in Newfoundland over 20 years ago. The sausage on that occasion turned out to be made from moose. Delicious.

But in Alberta sausage and eggs are not only a good choice for breakfast. They also make for monuments.

Today I visited Vegreville to take a service at the local church. It was a nice group of people, and an enjoyable service. After the service there was a lovely coffee hour with loads of food and loads of discussion about tomorrow's provincial election. Then it was time to play tourist a bit on the way home. It was a perfect day for it – warm and sunny.

First stop was Vegreville's famous pysanka, or Ukrainian Easter Egg. Constructed of aluminium in the mid-1970s, the pysanka is enormous. It weighs some 2.5 tonnes and is mounted in such a way that it can turn in the wind, like a giant Easter weathervane. The pysanka was built to honour both the Ukrainian heritage of many of the area's residents and the centenary of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It's still billed as the world's largest pysanka.

Very impressive!

Then, on the way home, it was from the sublime to the, er, ... not quite so sublime. We stopped in at Mundare to see their giant kubasa, constructed in honour of the local sausage maker. “Kubasa,” I discovered, is a Canadian English word, evidently a corruption of the Ukranian “kovbasa”, which is a cognate of the Polish “kielbasa,” which means sausage. The origin of the term seems to be a Turkic language. Kubasa is pretty commonly eaten in Alberta, either on a hot-dog bun, as a “kubie”, or on a hamburger bun (a kubie burger) or in slices on a tray of snacks. In fact, there was some kubasa and cheese as part of the coffee hour this morning.

Another lesson in Alberta's geography and culture.