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A Yukon News Christmas Special

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Michele Genest Ellen Davignon Michael Gates Jim Robb

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Keith Halliday Jesse Winter Jacqueline Ronson Ashley Joannou

Photo by Jesse Winter

Stories by


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Off-grid with the kids By Keith Halliday

F

or the pioneers, Christmas in the Yukon, far away from home, could be a hard time. Robert Campbell’s men spent the first recorded Yukon Christmas at Fort Selkirk in 1848 cutting firewood, hunting for food and fixing gear. In 1849, their diary entry for Christmas Day reads: “Passed the day as we best could but melancholy thoughts of bygone days lengthened it considerably.” Santa and good Christmas cheer eventually found the Yukon. I remember my grandmother telling the story of Christmas 1918, when she and her brother cuddled under the furs and enjoyed a magical ride in the family’s horse-drawn sleigh out of town to her uncle’s wood camp near McCrae. The sky was full of stars and all you could hear were the horses breathing and the runners on the snow. We now spend Christmas in her old cabin. I have to admit I enjoy watching my kids split wood, melt snow and tromp down the path to the outhouse as we get ready for Christmas. It is a time

for family and, like in the old days, sometimes family means working together. I also enjoy the traditional tree hunt. Every year, we must confront that classic Yukon family debate: spruce or pine? I always vote for spruce, and I refuse to drill holes and stick in spare branches when we get home and realize the tree we picked is some kind of Charlie Brown reject. When the children were little, we used to put the bigger ones on snowshoes and drag the smallest in a little sled for our tree hunt. By the time we got eight boots, eight mittens, half a dozen snowshoes and the baby sled set up, there was always someone already shivering. I considered it a triumph if we made it more than a hundred yards from the truck. Now we go on some grand adventures, often lasting longer than our short December days. Santa has some difficulties visiting a traditional Yukon cabin. The roof doesn’t look strong enough for a flight of reindeer and the chimney is always hot. Some years, Santa seems to have stored

his gifts temporarily in the shed as he got set up, which can result in the mandarin oranges in the kids’ stockings being as hard as baseballs. This encourages unfreezable gifts, as I pointed out to my daughter when she didn’t look very happy that one of the gifts with her name on it under the tree was a six-pound splitting maul. Christmas dinner is always a feast. I go to extreme lengths to make sure the Yukon cranberry sauce and canned milk are not forgotten. My family also enjoys sweet potatoes with melted marshmallows on top, a Christmas dish apparently introduced to the Yukon by U.S. Army culinary ambassadors during the Second World War. Sooner or later the magic has to end. Usually it happens on that corner on the road back to Whitehorse where smartphones start working, and the kids find out via text message that their friends didn’t get axes and frozen oranges for Christmas. Keith Halliday is a fourth-generation Yukoner. This will be his family’s 115th Christmas in the Yukon watershed.

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The Yukon NDP caucus wishes all Yukoners a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Liz Hanson, Leader of the Official Opposition

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By Jim Robb

T

his scene in the above cabin interior and doorway kind of gives insight into the companionship and Christmas cheer of the early days of the gold rush mining camps. Fifty some years ago, I met some old-timers that had spent most of their lives on the Klondike creeks. They were unique, colourful characters. The above painting reminds me of several that will always stick in my mind. People like Ole Josvold who came to Dawson City alone in 1912. Only 22 years old, he was from Norway and was a blacksmith. When cars started coming into Dawson around 1914, they often needed spare parts and ordering them in took about three months, which was quite a headache. So Ole made some in his blacksmith shop. I used to enjoy having a beer with him. Ole remembered that when he was young in Dawson a foaming quart of beer brewed at the Klondike Brewery cost 50 cents. Yes, Ole Josvold and people like him are gone now, but I will always remember them. To all the good people of the Yukon, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Story and cabin sketches by Jim Robb. Cabin interior drawn by W.H. Overend for the Illustrated London News, Dec. 25, 1897. From the Jim Robb Collection. Published by YUKON NEWS December 2013


Jesse Winter Yukon News

Helene Belanger displays her homemade wreaths and other ornaments during Spruce Bog at the Canada Games Centre.

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What makes a reindeer a reindeer? By Jesse Winter

“A

nyone know the difference between a reindeer and a caribou?” It’s a question that Jake Paleczny loves to ask tourists and school groups at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve. It always gets a chuckle, he said. So just what is the difference between reindeer and caribou? Genetically, nothing, according to retired caribou expert Rick Farnell. “They’re the same species. Rangifer tarandus finlandicus, I believe, is the scientific name for reindeer and in North America the scientific name is Rangifer tarandus

Jake Paleczny/Yukon Wildlife Preserve

Caribou at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve off the Takhini Hot Springs Road.

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groenlandicus for Arctic caribou, or Rangifer tarandus tarandus is just caribou,” Farnell said. There is one non-genetic difference, though. The finlandicus subspecies in particular was domesticated generations ago by the Sami people, who live in northern Finland, Norway, Sweden and Russia. When people think of reindeer, they typically think of Sami herds, with their brightly-coloured harnesses and bells like the ones that Rudolph and his friends wear. Farnell isn’t sure where the mythology around the animals came from. Reindeer is a Eurasian term for the animal, and caribou is a North American one. Wherever the confusion arose, it’s clear that humans and reindeer have a history that dates back much farther than Santa and his sleigh. “We have cohabitated with them for many, many thousands of years. The fact that they got domesticated in certain parts of the world and

not in others is pretty irrelevant. They are part of the fabric of human life in the North. I think truly, they are probably the most component species in most human endeavour. They have fed us and made sure of our well-being everywhere across North America and across the world, actually,” Farnell said. Pretty much anywhere that humans live in Arctic or subarctic climates, you find caribou artifacts that made life for people there possible. Their hides and bones have been used as clothing and tools for eons, but Farnell said there is one thing in particular that makes caribou so vital to life up here. “They have a rumen in their bellies that is able to break down lichen to get energy from that, and nutrition. That nutrition is only in their gut. It’s a very remarkable adaptation,” he said. All energy for life on earth comes originally from the sun. Like all plants, the Arctic lichen absorbs

sunlight as it grows. But in order for that energy to be transferred up the food chain, something has to be able to eat it, and caribou are among the only ones that can, Farnell said. Without them to convert that energy from lichen into meat that other animals can eat, it would be almost impossible for anything other than plants to live in such a harsh climate. Farnell studied caribou extensively over his 30-year career, and was involved in archeological digs that uncovered evidence of human and caribou interaction thousands of years ago, but he’s never seen any proof of North American reindeer working with Saint Nicholas. That makes sense, though. Santa comes from Holland, and his reindeer come from Finland. And as Paleczny tells his tour groups at the wildlife preserve, “there’s only one real difference: caribou can’t fly.”

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Letters to Santa from Jack Hulland’s Grade 1 students

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Elder recalls Christmas past in Old Crow the land, living off the land,” he said. “All the trappers were out isps of smoke curl and all the women were in town around Randall with the children. Going into Tetlichi’s hunched shoulChristmas, all the women were ders, swept by the eagle busy sewing. We made all our feather in his hands. He’s own decorations, our own ornakneeling before a small rise ments,” he said. of sandy earth at the door Instead of today’s gaudy of a sweat lodge outside plastic baubles with their riotWhitehorse. ous colours, the decorations of It’s early December and Tetlichi’s youth were fashioned his breath steams in the cold out of pinecones and spruce air as he quietly intones a Jesse Winter/Yukon News boughs. Even bits of coloured prayer to the creator before paper were used, whatever the Old Crow elder Randall Tetlichi. taking his place inside the kids could get their hands on. lodge. colourful blankets inside the lodge, While the trappers were This weekly sweat is just one of the steam begins to waft around a pile of busy on the land, the women would myriad ways that Tetlichi works to heated rocks. Outside, the tempersew and bake, making new boots and maintain the traditions of his people. ature dips below minus 20, and the slippers and mitts for the town. As the Originally from Old Crow, the Vuntut trees are heavy with snow. As this year dog teams began to return in mid-Defrom thedraws Stafftoand Gwitchin elderHappy works Holidays at Yukon Cola close, Tetlichi took some cember, children like Tetlichi would lege as a spiritual leader and sort Management at of time to think back to the Christmases know that a big community feast was cultural touchstone for the students. getting closer. of his youth. As he settles himself on rough, “As children, we’d get excited. By “Most of the men were still out on By Jesse Winter

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December 15 you’d start to see teams of trappers coming back. We’d run out to meet those trappers and see what they’d bring,” he said. “It was exciting to see them come back with moose meat, rabbits, ptarmigan, all sorts of things. They were our mentors, our idols. We looked up to them.” The bounty from the land would yield a huge feast, with dancing, singing, and fiddle music until five or six in the morning. In the days leading up to the big party, carolers would go around to all the houses with a blanket to collect donations for the feast, singing on every doorstep. Along with the trappers, there was a second homecoming at Christmas as well. “We would celebrate the students who were coming back for the holidays from mission school. We’d have a feast for them, and we’d honour them. It was always exciting to see them come back. They’d look different, and they’d come back with different clothes, with different outfits,” Tetlichi said. Presents were almost entirely homemade. Tetlichi remembers one gift in particular that he got from his father. “It was a bow and arrow, and it had different kinds of arrow heads that he made. I was always excited about that.” As Christmas Eve drew closer, the community would look to the heavens and track the course of four stars: the three wise men and the Christmas star, Tetlichi said. “On Christmas Day, the three wise men come together with the Christmas star. Even today, we still watch those stars.” It’s been five years since Tetlichi went home to Old Crow for Christmas. Things are different in the community now, he said. “Nobody’s on the land anymore. Everyone’s in town, working. Today, everybody comes to Whitehorse to shop. Some go to Edmonton, Vancouver, to get all this readymade stuff and spend money. It’s really not like how it used to be.” The collection blanket for the feast still happens, but nobody sings anymore. Today it’s more likely that a family will have an imported turkey on the diner table instead of moose or rabbit. Parents fly to Whitehorse, Edmonton or Vancouver to buy presents for their kids instead of making

them by hand. The dances end much earlier than they used to. “There was no alcohol back then. Celebrations at Christmas used to be for our kids, but now people forget and they use alcohol.” But Tetlichi said some of the old traditions are starting to come back. The ever-increasing cost of living makes it difficult to continue buying all the plastic toys and gadgets, and many people are looking to their past as a way forward. “Slowly but surely, some of our traditions are starting to come back because our young people from Old Crow want to learn them. They want to learn how to drum and sing old songs.”

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Christmas at the Eagle Plains Hotel By Jacqueline Ronson

I

f you were to be stranded away from home at Christmas time, you could do worse than the Eagle Plains Hotel. “We’re the best-kept secret around,” said Cathy Brais, who moved to Eagle Plains, population 14, in 2008. Secrets are easy to keep when they are hidden halfway up Canada’s most northern highway, in the dead of winter, in almost 24-hour darkness. But friends, co-workers, family and strangers at the Eagle Plains Hotel have found an unlikely place to call home. Brais is the Yukon government’s road foreman for the Eagle Plains maintenance section of the Dempster Highway, between kilometre 286 and

kilometre 465 at the N.W.T. border. Christmas is a quiet time of year for Brais and her road crew, and she always plans something to make it extra special. Last year, that meant loading her hot tub onto her trailer and hauling it up to the Arctic Circle for a dip. It was a bucket list item, she said. The weather had not been co-operating, but turned for the better on Boxing Day. Pretty much everyone in the lodge came out to witness the event, said Brais. Seven people braved the cold and hopped in for a dip. Peter Mather/www.petermather.com New Year’s celebrations at Eagle Plains Hotel on the Dempster Highway in 2011.

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“It was just a big photo shoot. I put they decorate it. And we all sit down pared to rescue anyone who has run my Christmas tree from my living and we have turkey dinner and wine into trouble. room on my trailer and we lit up the and chit chat. Just like family.” That’s what happened to a family Arctic Circle sign.” There is a gift exchange, and the headed for Inuvik on a recent ChristIt was a special treat for the hotel staff always bring a few extra presents mas Eve. bartender’s daughter and son-in-law, in case of unexpected visitors. They broke down at 11 p.m. at 30 who were visiting from Germany. Sometimes the visitors are very below, said Brais. Brais also contributes to “They had blown a belt, the festivities with about about 15 kilometres south of “They join us for Christmas dinner. Eagle.” $1,000 worth of fireworks each holiday season, she They built a fire in the bush (The hotel staff) put the tables tosaid. to survive the night, she said. gether in the restaurant, they decoShe’ll probably set some The road crew found them off on Christmas or Boxing at about 9 a.m. Christmas rate it. It’s just beautiful how they morning. They brought the Day, but most will be kept for New Year’s Eve. decorate it. And we all sit down and family into Eagle Plains, fixed “That’s my gig, every up them and their car, and we have turkey dinner and wine and sent them on their way. year,” said Brais. Some holiday visitors are No one would choose to chit chat. Just like family.” unexpected. spend Christmas in a broken “We usually have a blizdown car on the Dempster zard. The road sometimes closes, and unexpected. The driving on the Highway, but assuming you’ve got the we sometimes have truckers that are Dempster Highway is treacherous at requisite survival gear and skills, just stuck here. the best of times, and breakdowns outside of Eagle Plains might be just “They join us for Christmas dinare common. the place to do it. ner. (The hotel staff) put the tables Luckily for stranded travellers, “If you have no other place to go together in the restaurant, they Brais and her crew drive their section for Christmas, this doesn’t suck at all, decorate it. It’s just beautiful how of highway every day, and are preyou know?”

Smile and say Trees! Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year to all of our Yukon Friends and Family! It has been an honour to naturally serve our community this past 15 years; we look forward to seeing your smiling faces again in the New Year!!! Big Hugs and Enjoy the Winter Solstice from Beverley, Fanny, Cathy, Egle and Michelle NEW YEar’S rESolutIoN SalE

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‘Pray, think of us poor children…’ By Ellen Davignon

W

e didn’t start out, that Christmas Day in 1946, to ruin our reputation as “that nice Porsild family, you know, the one that lives in that old twostorey log house on Lambert Street.” It was just that Jo and I had played the heck out of our new toys and were getting a little bored and fractious. Our easy-going Mum had finally blown a fuse and kicked… well… sent us out for some fresh air. “Shame on you for acting that way. And on Christmas, too. Go outside and don’t come back until you’ve learned to behave!” Dad had come home from Burwash Landing where he was building a lodge for the Jacquot brothers. We’d had our usual Scandinavian Christmas Eve, with roast goose dinner with all the trimmings, followed by gathering at the piano for a sing-along, followed by the ripping and tearing into the modest pile of pakke under the tree. By midafternoon the next day, we’d exhausted the supply of candy pills in our nurse kits and were tired of reading our new books and, as I mentioned, had become somewhat disorderly and inclined to behaving badly. We were arguing bitterly over something trivial when Dad came into the kitchen for his mid-afternoon open-face cheese sandwich and a glass of homebrew that Mum had made especially for Christmas. Before sitting to his snack,

Courtesy of Ellen Davignon

Ellen Davignon and her younger sister, Jo, seen in the early 1940s.

he had leaned down and given his wife a leisurely kiss. “Thanks, darling.” “You’re welcome. How’s the beer? Here, give me a little drink, I haven’t tasted it yet.” She’d taken a small sip… “Hmm, not bad…” and smiled at Dad, returning the salute he’d given her moments before. We had stopped arguing to watch. Dad was home for only a few days and there’d been a lot of kissing going on. The moment over, we’d resumed our bickering. “Girls, for heaven’s sake, stop your fighting!” Mum had sounded a little shrill. “Really, Bob, they’re just being impossible.” She’d paused, looking a tad wild-eyed, then gone on to the

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“Shame…’ and the “Go outside…” part of our program and moments later, Jo and I had found ourselves out on the sidewalk, all dressed up in our snowsuits and felt boots, with no particular place to go. Six-year-old Jo looked to me for leadership. “What are we going to do now?” she asked plaintively. “I dunno,” I replied. “Let’s go see what Nancy and Patsy got for Christmas.” Frances Holt answered the door. “Hello, girls. Merry Christmas.” “Merry Christmas,” we answered in unison. “Can we come in and play?” Helge, a tall, good-natured Norwegian, came up behind his wife. “Sure, you can, they’re

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in the front room.” As we started in, Helge asked, “What are your mother and dad up to?” Jo looked at him soberly. “Oh, they’re busy kissing and drinking home-brew.” Helge grinned. “Are they, now? Well, Merry Christmas, Bob!” Frances gave her husband a little push. “Oh, Helge, stop! Go ahead girls, into the living room…” We stayed at the Holt’s until playing with Nancy and Patsy’s new toys, so similar to our own, began to pall. Then we said our goodbyes and headed home again. Our steps slowed as we neared our house. “Do you think Mum is still mad?” Jo asked, anxiously. “Nah,” I said. “But we should visit Miz Layton. She doesn’t have any little girls – it’s very sad – and she’d like to have us come and visit on Christmas.” We continued up the street, passing the white-and-green Lambert Street school before coming to the first of two small houses. Here lived Lenore Layton, my Grade 2 teacher, a pretty, young woman with shiny black curls and an equally shiny little husband named Laurie who often came to our classroom to visit his wife. “Hel-lo, Laurie!” we’d sing-song in response to Miz Layton’s dainty hand signals. Now, Laurie opened to our knocking. “Lennie,” he called. “We’ve got company…” Jo and I settled ourselves comfortably on the Layton’s chesterfield while Miz Layton went into the kitchen and Laurie put a Christmas record on the little gramophone in the corner. “I’ll be home for Christmas…” Bing Crosby’s mellow tones ushered Miz Layton back into the room carrying a tray bearing glasses

of something pale pink and a plate of cookies. “Now,” she said, eagerly. “Tell us what Santa brought you this morning.” “Oh, Santa doesn’t come to our house. There wasn’t anything under the tree.” Both Miz Layton and Laurie blinked. “Nothing at all? Surely there was something… Oh Laurie…” Miz Layton looked ready to cry. Jo shook her head. “We got up early too, but he didn’t come. But it’s alright, we read books and ate some pills. Then Mum told us to go out and not come back ‘til we learned to behave…” We ate all the cookies and drank all the lemonade and then said our goodbyes. “Please, come back anytime, girls. You can come here anytime you need to…” Miz Layton still looked a little teary. It was almost dark on the street. “I want to go home now,” Jo said. “I can behave.” “First we’ll visit the McBrides.” I nodded my head at the second small house. The McBrides invited us in as if we’d been expected. “Are you out working up an appetite for dinner?” Mr. McBride asked, with a is “Happiness is twinkle in“Happiness his eye. as a butterfly which,which, as a butterfly when pursued, when pursued, “Oh, we don’t is always beyond is always beyond have Christmas our grasp, our grasp, but which, but which, dinner…” Iif you didn’t down ifwill yousitwill sit down consider all the quietly, quietly, may alight upon upon you.” you.” may alight special little dishes, along with the slices of cold roast goose from the night Nathaniel Hawthorne, c. 1860 Nathaniel Hawthorne, c. 1860

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334-3216 titaniumstorage.ca Published by YUKON NEWS December 2013

before, that Mum had spent most of the day putting together for our Christmas Day smorgasbord, as dinner. “We’re just having leftovers.” “Oh.” Mrs. McBride looked startled. There was an awkward silence, then she said, brightly. “Well, I’m sure it will be delicious, whatever you have, your mother is an excellent cook. And look at the time! Perhaps you should be getting home, your parents will be worrying…” “Nah,” I said. “They don’t care if we stay out. They were drinking beer and told us to go away…” Inevitably, we had to go home. “Here you are!” Dad beamed as we came in. “We were just thinking of sending out a search party!” Mum came in with hugs for each of us as she helped up take off our snowsuits and boots. “It’s almost suppertime! Where have you been?” “Oh, here and there.” I said, airily. “We were telling about Christmas at our house. People seemed really surprised…” Ellen Davignon is a longtime Yukon writer and author of The Cinnamon Mine: An Alaska Highway Childhood.

Cheryl Buchan Cheryl Buchan Cheryl Buchan Trager bodywork, NTS, RMT Trager bodywork, NTS,NTS, RMTRMT Trager bodywork,

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JOY•LOVE•PEACE Hope your holiday, has it all! With best wishes and heartfelt thanks from

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Season’s Greetings from the Yukon Kennel Club

We wish everyone and all your furry friends a safe and happy holiday season.

new training cOurses starting January: • Puppy Kindergarten • Novice Obedience • Agility Fundamentals • Canine Nosework

Our up-cOming events fOr 2014: • Come Meet the Dogs! March 1, 2014 • Yukon Kennel Club Dog Show 2014: June 13, 14 & 15

For more information on our training classes please contact Wendi Arcand @ 633-4952. For all updates on coming events please check out our Facebook page www.Facebook.com/YukonKennelClub or our website

www.YukonkennelClub.Com

Merry Christmas

This illustration, placed in American newspapers during Christmas of 1897, portrayed the first Santa Claus to visit the Yukon.

By Michael Gates Christmas in 1896 was special for the tiny community of Forty Mile, the jumbled assemblage of log cabins nestled at the junction of the frozen Fortymile and Yukon Rivers. For one thing, gold had been discovered 80 kilometres away on a tiny tributary of the Klondike River, but the magnitude of the new discovery had yet to be realized. For another, it was the first time that Santa Claus visited the Yukon.

Holiday Gift Ideas for Him & Her!

from

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18

Published by YUKON NEWS December 2013


The native people clustered around the nearby Buxton Mission had not, to this point, celebrated Christmas, so Bishop Bompas, the Anglican missionary, had always maintained the regular routine during the holiday. Charlotte, his wife, and Margaret MacDonald, the teacher at the mission school, however, longed for something more. This year, their wish for a traditional celebration came true. Reverend Harry Naylor, who had joined the church staff the summer of 1896, was determined to make Christmas special for the 20 or so native children they were schooling at the mission. By a stroke of insightful forethought, a man named Wilson arrived at Forty Mile that year, bearing a pack filled with toys. According to Mrs. Phillie Engel, wife of a miner at Forty Mile, “Every white mother in Alaska was willing to pay its weight in gold for any pitiful looking little toy that bore the trademark of a city store.” The three little Engel children woke up Christmas morning in their tiny log home at Fort Cudahy, a short distance from Forty Mile, to find their stockings filled with presents and candy. Then everyone bundled up against the frightful chill and they sped on their dog sled to join the festivities at the Anglican mission. There, the waiting children were in a delirious state of expectation at the arrival of every guest. There was a wondrous Christmas tree, around which the gifts were arranged. The gaily decorated dolls, the tiny figures, horses and wagons, and other “eccentric contrivances” were packed in bags of mosquito netting, as the usual wrapping materials weren’t available. Finally Santa appeared, although to the seasoned eye, he didn’t meet the normal specification for a Santa Claus. Instead of a red suit with white trim and a black belt, he was attired in a heavy parka pulled close up around his face. The beard, though not white at all, was heavily dusted with white powder to impart the impression of the standard snowy whiskers. The youngsters played a variety of games, the most popular of which proved to be blind-man’s buff. The heat radiated from the glowing stove while the chil-

dren played merrily in the cheery decorated interior of the old log building. The party broke up at midnight, everyone having had a marvellous time. The Engels loaded their three tired children under the robes on the dog sled, and the youngsters were all sound asleep, still clutching their Christmas presents, when they arrived back at their snug little cabin. A few days later, Charles Engel staked a fraction high up on Bonanza Creek, while Phillie remained at home, unable to travel. A short time later, she gave birth to their fourth child, a son named Jasper Talbot, who was baptized on February 10, 1897.

Season’s Greetings from your Klondike MLA,

Sandy Silver

Sandy Silver MLA, Klondike Yukon Legislative Assembly Box 2703 Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 2C6 867-393-7007 Toll Free – 1-800-661-0408 sandy.silver@yla.gov.yk.ca

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3123 3rd Ave • Mon-Fri 10:00-5:30 • Sat. 10:00-5:00

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year On behalf of the Government of Yukon, I send you warm Christmas greetings. This is the time of year to be with family and friends and spread the spirit of generosity and peace. During this season I hope you can spend time with loved ones, and celebrate the holidays with joy and good cheer. Good health and happiness to you and yours in 2014. Darrell Pasloski Premier

20

Jesse Winter/Yukon News

The old Whitehorse Inn sign is lit up in front of the MacBride Museum.

Published by YUKON NEWS December 2013


Season’s greetings to al l from Commissioner of Yukon Doug Phil l ips Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season! You are invited to attend the Commissioner’s New Year’s Levee Wednesday, January 1, 2014 • 2–5 p.m. Awards 2–4 p.m. • Reception 4–5 p.m. The Long House at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre

ECO OC NY Levée 3.375x4.625 N.indd 1

Published by YUKON NEWS December 2013

11/27/13 2:05:19 PM

21


Jesse Winter/Yukon News

Patrick Singh takes in a sundog reflected through ice fog on the Yukon River.

Happy Holidays from office of

Grand Chief Ruth Massie Executive Office, Education, Finance and Administration, Circumpolar Relations, Natural Resources and Environment, Self Government Secretariat, Justice, Health and Social and Yukon Native Language Centre. Ut’àkwädích’e dzänù nàkwìtth’ät • Ut’óhudìnch’i húlin dzenú Drin Tsal zhìt shòh ohłìi • Gu.àlshé hà s’àtí yagìyí i jiyís wùk’ê Kuhini kuts’ih nahts’í’ Denetie Chué’ • Drin Tsul zhìt shò ähląy Jesus kòhdlïni dzenès kut’eh • Dzeen shìit choh shìit soonayh ahłii

22

Published by YUKON NEWS December 2013


Happy Holidays On behalf of all of us, best wishes to you and your family this holiday season and in the new year. We hope that you find yourself in the company of family or friends this holiday season, wherever they may be.

Celebrate

....and enjoy all that is wonderful this Christmas. Best wishes for a happy, healthy New Year to one and all. Published by YUKON NEWS December 2013

Published by black Press GrouP ltd.

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Don’t let the holidays curb you from having a healthy lifestyle. Here are some helpful tips…

J OLLY – It’s a merry time of the year. Celebrate the joys of the holiday season and create family memories and traditions that inspire health. I MMUNE BOOST – Keep yourself healthy! Include foods with vitamin C, zinc and probiotics. Wash your hands often, get plenty of sleep and be food safe when preparing food.

N UTRITION – Avoid skipping meals in preparation for holiday meals, this can set you up for

overeating later. Take time to nourish your body with small balanced meals/snacks throughout the day.

G IFTS – Give gifts that inspire a healthy lifestyle! Buy locally made gifts as often as you can or create

personal homemade gifts.

L EISURE – Research shows families that play together, stay together. Get outside and be active with your family. Take the family skating, or hit the local trails for a snowshoe or cross country ski.

E XERCISE –

Is a great way to relieve holiday stress. It can also help to balance those extra calories we may consume. Aim for 22 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every day!

B AKING – Holiday baking for many of us is a tie to fond family memories. Research shows that more variety of foods = eating more. Pick a couple of your favorites to bake and savour each morsel. E NERGY – Spend a few minutes each day to yourself to recharge your batteries. Find a quiet place to stretch in the morning or get outside for a walk.

L IQUIDS – Stay hydrated with lots of water! Be mindful of calorie-containing beverages. Try adding carbonated water to your juice or spice up your water with sliced cucumbers, mint or lemons. L END A HELPING HAND –The holidays are a time for giving so let’s give back to those who are less fortunate.

S TRESS – The holidays can take a toll on our mental health and well being. Stay organized, prioritize what is important to you and keep your goals realistic.

24

Published by YUKON NEWS December 2013


RPAY PROGRAM…

RPAY’s 22 for 22 Activity Challenge January 8 – 29

Get an active start to your New Year! Can you commit to being active for 22 minutes each day for 22 consecutive days? RPAY encourages you to take the challenge and make daily exercise a part of your lifestyle. • • • • •

Register for FREE at www.rpaychallenge.org Input your daily 22 minutes or more of exercise each day for 22 days and track your progress. Choice any exercise you like to do. Exercise at moderate-to-vigorous intensity for healthy benefits. Missed a day of exercise? You can make it up anytime throughout the challenge. Participants who complete the challenge can WIN some great prizes.

Registration starts December 20 www.rpaychallenge.org

Traditional Hummus This healthy dip is an excellent source of fiber, which can help you stay full longer and is packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Enjoy it on vegetables, pita bread or as a spread in a sandwich. Ingredients • 2 – (15.5 ounce) cans no salt added chickpeas, rinsed and drained • 2 garlic cloves, crushed • ½ cup water • ¼ cup tahini (sesame seed paste) • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil • ¾ tsp salt • ¼ tsp black pepper

RPAY PROGRAM…

On the Right Path This virtual walking program allows you to walk the historic Overland and Silver Trail. Track your daily progress in kilometers or steps and walk as an individual or as a group. www.ontherightpath.ca

Preparation Place chickpeas and garlic in a food processor or a blender, pulse until chopped. Add ½ cup water and remaining ingredients; pulse until smooth. Source: www.cookinglight.com

Need some motivation to get moving more? Contact RPAY at: Phone: 867.668.3010 or 1.888.961.WALK (9255) or visit us at: www.rpayschools.org or www.rpaywinteractive.org Follow us on Twitter @RPAY1 or Facebook at facebook.com/gorpay

Published by YUKON NEWS December 2013

Community Services

Sport and Recreation Branch

25


Yukon College offers a home away from home for the holidays By Emily Dayboll

T

he end of the semester at Yukon College is often busy and stressful, with students facing final exams and assignments. With the arrival of December comes residents’ anticipation for the holiday break. Many students travel back home for the break. However, there are still several students who stay and celebrate the holidays in residence. Yukon College is one of the few institutions in Canada that does not require their residents to vacate during the holidays. Staff recognize that residence is for many students their home, as is the case for 22-year-old Morgan Hendrie, a third year renewable resources student who has lived in residence for two years. When asked where his home is, he replied, “here at the college.”

Morgan spent the last holiday season with his family in the Northwest Territories. His family opens all of their gifts on Christmas Eve and the days that follow are filled with parties, family dinners and community dances. This year Morgan has decided to stay in residence and he is looking forward to seeing what it will be like. “I’m looking at it like an adventure,” he said. Like most students, Morgan is looking forward to being on a break and having nothing to do. Over the break Morgan hopes to visit friends and relatives around Whitehorse, learn how to snowboard, visit the gym, and go skating. He is also looking forward to the holiday dinner that will be taking place in residence, and to fill up on turkey. This dinner is organized by resi-

dence staff and prepared by the students that are staying for the holidays. The college provides all the ingredients and food for a dinner with all the fixings, including a dessert. The students have always enjoyed the feeling of family when they come together to prepare and then enjoy the feast. For 21-year-old Chunmyung Kang, an international student from Japan who goes by “Chiaki,” staying in residence over the holidays is both a new and exciting experience. This will be the first time that she will be away from her family. Chiaki has been a student at Yukon College for three months and is currently completing upgrading courses. She can’t wait to “be lazy” this holiday season because it has been so busy recently with assignments and

Merry Christmas and all the best for 2014! Warm regards,

Ryan & Dan Ryan Leef, MP (yukon) Ryan.leef@parl.gc.ca 867-668-6565 www.ryanleef.ca HonouRabLe DanieL Lang, SenatoR (yukon) Daniel.lang@sen.parl.gc.ca 613-947-4050 www.danlang.ca

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Published by YUKON NEWS December 2013


finals, she said. Chiaki hopes to catch experiencing more Canadian traditions sumed on the second day, and so on. up on her sleep, read a few books, and and sharing a few of her own. One She enjoys rice cakes with red beans, or recharge with some much-needed “me tradition that she is planning on sharsoya sauce and sugar, and said the secret to a delicious rice cake is to toast it. time.” ing with the other residents over the About 15 students plan She loves Yukon Colto stay in residence over the lege, but misses the warmer break. The resident community weather of her home city, is filled with holiday cheer durSakai in Osaka, Japan. ing the month of December. During the winter holiEach residence is decorated days the atmosphere of her and several events take place home city is “everything that celebrate the season and Christmas.” There are a lot of bring students together. sales near the end of DecemStaff also deliver stockings to ber in Sakai, and everyone the residents’ doors the night of looks forward to the holiday Christmas Eve. For the past five shopping. years, the residence manager, Originally, Chiaki thought Andrea Clark, has organized that her holiday away from this special delivery. The stockhome would be boring and ings are filled with wrapped lonely. Ian Stewart/Yukon News gifts of goodies, useful items for However, she is now students and fun trinkets. excited about the traditional International student Chiaki Kang, centre, decorates the Yukon College residence with her fellow students. Students are always surCanadian holiday dinner. prised and thrilled to wake up Also, she has recently been and open the presents on Christmas invited to spend New Year’s Day in break is rice cakes after New Year’s. Haines Junction with two other college In Japan, rice cakes are enjoyed each Day! residents. day after New Year’s, with one being Emily Dayboll is a residence She is greatly looking forward to consumed on the first day, two conmentor at Yukon College.

Season’s Greetings from Muktuk Adventures Ltd. This year give the gift of a Dog Sled Adventure Ph: 668-3647 Toll Free: 866-968-3647

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Published by YUKON NEWS December 2013

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Putting on the big red suit By Ashley Joannou

T

hey’re big shoes to fill. When Johan Groenewegen prepares for his latest foray into character, he knows the importance of the role he plays. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Santa Claus is a superstar. Groenewegen is one of seven Rent-a-Santas and nearly two dozen mock Mrs. Clauses who are part of the Yukon Hospital Foundation’s annual fundraiser. After all, at this time of year the real Big Guy could certainly use a little help. The Santas attend everything from office Christmas events, children’s parties and major community gatherings. The program itself has been in the territory for more that 30 years. The Yukon branch of the Canadian Cancer Society originally ran it. Ian Stewart/Yukon News

Santa Claus hands out presents at a Christmas party in Whitehorse. Mr. Claus said he'd be very busy with parties to attend throughout December.

Haines Visitor Center 800-458-3579 www.HainesInfo.net

We Know You Love It Here And We Love Welcoming You!

Come Play In Our Backyard...

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Winter Is Waiting!

Published by YUKON NEWS December 2013


After the society closed its doors locally, the Yukon Hospital Foundation took over for the first time this year. “Basically, we look for people who really love what they’re doing, who can get into the spirit of what this is all about,” said organizer Marsha Cameron. Santa’s visits are paid for by donation and the money still goes to help people with cancer. It’s now sent to the Yukoner Cancer Care Fund, a charity created by Geraldine Van Bibber after the cancer society’s office closed. Groenewegen has been putting on the red suit for the last four years. “I got sort of hooked into it at a party,” he said with a laugh. “Someone looked at me and said, ‘Oh, you look like a good Santa.” For anyone looking to channel their inner Claus next year, Groenewegen warns you have to be prepared to answer all sorts of questions from visitors.

“They throw you curve balls and you always have to be on your toes to come up with answers. “That could mean everything from ‘why are you so skinny?’ to ‘where are your reindeer?’” “If it’s too warm I don’t like to run my reindeer outside, or if it’s really bad weather I might park them at the outside of the city so they don’t get in accidents,” Groenewegen said. His relatively svelte size comes from a healthy life, even in the North Pole, Santa tells the kids. “I’ve talked to the North Pole doctors and they advised me that diabetes is a very serious issue so ‘you better watch it, Santa.’ That’s what I put out there,” Groenewegen said. “I encourage the parents when they are around to get away from all the candy and the garbage, so to speak, and get them outdoor presents so they can get away from the TV and the video games.” Like any good relationship, even

a Rent-a-Santa knows it is important to acknowledge his better half. “Mrs. Santa is a very important part. She is the backbone to Santa performing well,” Groenewegen said. “She picks up all the little threads I drop. Either I can’t hear a child’s name, because I’m half deaf on one side and they are not speaking clearly, or maybe I am scrambling for a question.” At 6’4”, Groenewegen has to be prepared, especially when the young ones want a hug from Santa. “A lot of the little guys will come hug me, and I’m a pretty tall Santa,” he said. They will basically come to my kneecaps so I will have to bend down a little so they can get to beard level. But the hugs – from kids young and old – make it all worthwhile, he said. “I get the fun of a little acting on my side, but mostly the fun of seeing the kids enjoying the thrill of Santa.”

Happy Holidays from the Kutters Girls! Juan Beverly Hills, Joico, Moroccanoil Holiday Packs are a great last-minute gift idea! Give the gift of beautiful hair! Joico Litres on sale all year long for only $20! Phone 668-6422 to book your appointment • Hours: Monday – Friday 9 am -7:30 pm • Saturday 9 am -5 pm • 309 Wood Street Published by YUKON NEWS December 2013

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Published by YUKON NEWS December 2013


serving the Yuk s r a e on 0Y

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Jacobs

Industries Limited

...wishes all our customers Past, Present and Future...

A Merry Christmas & A Very Happy New Year! Machining • Hydraulics • Welding & Supplies ManufacturerS of: oxygen, acetylene & commercial Gases

4269 - 4th avenue, Whitehorse, Yt (867) 667-7606 • jacobsind@northwestel.net

Happy

Holidays from

Northern Hospital & Safety Supply Inc. Ian Stewart/Yukon News

The Christmas tree in front of the White Pass building on Front and Main streets in Whitehorse.

Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année

Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon

Feliz Navidad y Feliz Año Nuevo Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wishing you a Mummer’s Christmas!

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Published by YUKON NEWS December 2013

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The Staff and Merchants of Chilkoot Mall would like to give their heartfelt thanks for your patronage.

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Published by YUKON NEWS December 2013


Christmas fruit cake

S

oak raisins overnight in brandy and drain cherries overnight. Mix all ingredients together. Line pans with paper and grease. Pour mixture into 2 pans. Bake at 250F for 2.5 to 3 hours. Do not wrap for 2 days. Let the air get at them. Soak in brandy (optional). 2 cups butter 2 cups fruit juice 1 teaspoon cloves 2 teaspoons nutmeg 2 teaspoons cinnamon 4 cups brown sugar 5 cups flour 4 teaspoons baking powder

4 lbs raisins (dark and light) 4 jars maraschino cherries 1 package mixed fruit 2 cups dates 2 cups nuts 2 teaspoons baking soda 8 eggs

Season’s Greetings from the staff at

the largest self-storage provider in the Yukon

Hours: Monday - Friday 9am-4pm Closed December 23rdJanuary 5th

Recipe provided by Whitehorse’s Dawn Holt.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year One of our real joys of the festive season is the opportunity to say ‘Thank You’ and to wish everyone the best for the new year.

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Closed Christmas Day & New Year’s Day Published by YUKON NEWS December 2013

Happy Holidays! We will be closed at 12:00 PM on December 24th & 31st, Closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day & New Year’s Day.

3173 3rd Avenue • Whitehorse • PH 667-4275 • Reg Hours: M-F 8-5:30 • Sat 8:30-4

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The Christmas cassoulet By Michele Genest

T

wo factors influenced the making of this dish: the discovery of a whole goose in the freezer, and the knowledge we were going to spend Christmas in a remote cabin, travelling on Christmas Day. Christmas dinner needed to be something that would cook on top of a wood stove, and it had to be both delicious and ceremonial. I’m happy to say the cassoulet succeeded on all three counts. The long, slow preparation at home on Christmas Eve day satisfied the need for ritual so strong at this time of year. Six different kinds of meat, including confit of goose, a cooking liquid made with all the different meat juices fortified with white wine, and buttery-soft lima beans combined to create a rich, subtle and deeply satisfying version of that homey old favourite, pork and beans.

Ian Stewart/Yukon News

Michele Genest prepares spices for the meat in her Whitehorse kitchen.

Yes, cassoulet is a farm-house, peasanty kind of feast, exactly right for a four-day retreat in a cabin on the edge of the Tatshenshini-Alsek Park. This one changed with every reheating. Different flavours dominated each time; lamb, goose, fennel and orange caribou sausage, Dall sheep. In the candle-lit dusk of the cabin we couldn’t see the different morsels of meat, and had a great time identifying them by flavour alone. We had a jar of homemade Quebecois tomato and apple ketchup as a condiment; its cool piquance was a perfect counterpoint to the cassoulet’s warm and earthy flavours. Note to travellers: We hauled our supplies in on snowshoes, pulling pulks (toboggans) behind us. We simply taped the casserole lid shut and wedged it between boxes on the pulk and it survived the hilly, jolty journey from truck to cabin no problem.

Happy Holidays!

THE WILDERNESS CITY

The City of Whitehorse wishes our residents a safe and healthy holiday season, and all the best in the New Year. Season’s Greetings from Mayor and Council

www.whitehorse.ca

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Published by YUKON NEWS December 2013


Northern cassoulet

C

assoulet is a great adaptor; it will take any combination of meats and become your own creation. Curnonsky reminds us that “true cassoulet” contains only beans and local sausage: freed from the need to be authentic, we can do anything we want. I assembled a northern-western medley that included homemade caribou sausage, side pork from Mission, B.C., a goose from Hutterite farmers in Peace River country in Alberta, wild Yukon Dall sheep, spring lamb from Saltspring Island, and pork rind from our farm-gate pig raised on the Alaska Highway. In the final stage, the key to success is the brown crust that forms as the cassoulet cooks, which you must push down into the middle of the casserole several times. With our woodstove on the first night in the cabin we were heating a cold cabin and cooking dinner at the same time; the heat was uneven, and the crust tended to form at the sides rather than in the middle. Not that it mattered. But cassoulet cooked on a stove-top over even heat, or in the oven, will form a crust in the orthodox way. There are several stages to this dish. Count on three to four hours of preparation before cassoulet is assembled and ready for its final cooking.

To All of Our Customers

Merry Christmas

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The Christmas brand angels, reindeer, babe-in-a-manger, red and green ... that’s how we recognize it.

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Our wish for you this Christmas is that you may live the brand, now and throughout the year.

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Published by YUKON NEWS December 2013

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Rinse the soaked beans and place in a pot with water to cover. Cook pork rind or blanched, salt pork rind 1 Tbsp (15 mL) rosemary in simmering water for 30 minutes. Olive oil, butter or melted duck or Drain, cool and cut into pieces about goose fat for frying ½-inch (1.25-cm) square. Add to pot 1 lb (454gr) fennel and orange with beans, the piece of side pork or caribou sausage (or substitute chorizo blanched bacon, and the bouquet or Italian sausage) garni, bring to the boil, turn down the 1 leg and thigh and 2 wings of heat to low and simmer for 1 hour and preserved goose, or substitute 2 lbs 30 minutes, or until beans are nearly (900 gr) pork tenderloin, spread with cooked. Remove from heat and drain, Dijon mustard and 1 tsp (5 mL) thyme reserving liquid. Remove the side and roasted for 1 hour 30 minutes in a pork and reserve. Cover the beans and 325F (160C) oven—you can roast the reserve. (The bits of pork rind will tenderloin while the beans cook stay in amongst the beans.) 2 medium onions, chopped While the beans are cooking, mar2 Tbsp (30 mL) tomato paste inate the lamb and mutton: 6 cloves garlic Place the meat in a shallow dish, 1 Tbsp (15 mL) sage whisk together marinade ingredients, 1 tsp (5 mL) thyme pour over the meat, turn meat to coat 2 cups (480 mL) strong beef stock thoroughly, cover and leave to sit at 1 cup (250 mL) white wine room temperature, turning every so 3 bay leaves often. 2 cups (480 mL) breadcrumbs To brown the meats and assemble 4 Tbsp (60 mL) melted goose fat or the cassoulet: butter Melt the fat in a large, oven-proof casserole over medium-high heat and

INGREDIENTS 2 lbs (900 gr) dried baby lima beans, soaked 8 hours or overnight (navy or Great Northern are the traditional beans, but these work beautifully) 4 oz (115gr) pork rind (substitute salted pork rind, blanched for 10 minutes to reduce saltiness) 1 lb (454 gr) side pork (basically, unsmoked bacon. If you can’t find side pork, substitute 1 lb of unsliced bacon, blanched for 5 minutes to tone down the smoky flavour) A bouquet garni: 3 bay leaves, 3 cloves, 1 tsp (5 mL) thyme, wrapped in cheesecloth and tied with string 2 lamb shanks, or about 1 lb (454 gr) ¾ lb (340gr) Dall sheep rib steak or round roast (substitute moose or venison) Marinade ingredients: 1 cup (250 mL) white wine ¼ cup (60 mL) olive oil 1 shallot, chopped 3 cloves garlic, minced

Merry Christmas from all of us at

Wishing all our loyal customers a happy holiday season and a safe and prosperous New Year.

Canadian Tire Store #452 18 Chilkoot Way Whitehorse, YT (867) 668-3652

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Published by YUKON NEWS December 2013


brown all the meat in stages. Begin with the sausages, left whole (later you’ll slice them). Remove the lamb and mutton from the marinade and pat dry before browning on all sides. Brown the goose pieces briefly, leaving the skin on. As each piece of meat is browned, remove and reserve. Preheat the oven to 300F (150C). Reduce heat to medium-low and brown the onions in the same fat, adding more if necessary. When the onions are soft and slightly caramelized (about 10 minutes) add the garlic, tomato paste, sage and thyme, and sauté for 2 more minutes before adding wine, beef stock and returning the sausage, lamb and mutton to the pot. If the liquid doesn’t quite cover the meat, add enough reserved bean cooking liquid to cover. Add bay leaves, cover and cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Add the goose for the final 30 minutes. When done, remove the meat and let cool. Drain the cooking liquid into a bowl. De-bone the lamb and the goose and separate the meat into

serving-sized pieces. Cut the mutton into six or eight pieces. Slice the sausages into ½-in (1-cm) chunks. Slice the side pork width-wise into pieces about ¼-in (½-cm) thick. If you substituted pork tenderloin for the goose, slice it into ½-in (1.25-cm) thick pieces. You’re ready now for the final assembly. Line the bottom of the casserole with a layer of beans, followed by the side pork, beans, lamb and sheep, beans, goose, beans, sausage and beans. Don’t worry if the layers of beans are scant in the middle, but do make sure the final layer is plentiful. Combine the bean and meat cooking liquids and pour over the beans until the liquid is just visible at the rim—don’t cover the beans, liquid will bubble up during the cooking. Keep extra liquid in reserve. Tuck three bay leaves into the casserole. Cover with breadcrumbs and drizzle with goose fat or butter. Cook the cassoulet, uncovered, in a pre-heated 375F (190C) oven, or on top of the stove over medium low heat

for about 1 hour. When the first crust forms, after 20 minutes or so, push it back down into the casserole with the back of a spoon. Turn the oven down to 350F (175C) at this point. Push the crust in 2 or 3 times. The crust may take longer to form if you’re cooking on top of the stove, count on 1 hour 30 minutes total cooking time. Serve with crusty bread and a hearty red wine. Makes 8 to 12 servings—2 people for 4 days

This recipe is an excerpt from Michele Genest’s celebrated cookbook, The Boreal Gourmet, published by Harbour Publishing. Genest lives in Whitehorse and is passionate about using northern ingredients in her cooking.

Did You Know?

Using a space heater to keep a room warm can cost you more than $68 a month. Using an electric blanket to keep you warm at night can save you enough money to buy 40 cups of coffee. Contact your local customer service advisors if you have questions about your electrical bill or would like more information on how to manage your own consumption.

100 – 1100 1st Avenue, Whitehorse, YT Y1A 3T4 867-633-7000 | 1-800-661-0513 | yukonelectrical.com Walk in Customers: Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Published by YUKON NEWS December 2013

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Greetings of the Season Wishing all our clients and friends the warmest wishes for the Holiday Season. We also want to Thank you for your patronage in 2013 and look forward to serving you and your families in 2014. Alex & Maureen Belcourt

from the

Whitehorse Chamber of CommerCe

38

Suite A - 2193 2nd Ave, Whitehorse, YT 867-668-6982 • alex.belcourt@investorsgroup.com Published by YUKON NEWS December 2013


Winter has a style all its own.

Sterling silver charms from $29

INTRODUCING PANDORA’S WINTER 2013 COLLECTION.

207 Main St. Whitehorse • Yukon Gifts Gifts 207 Main St. www.murdochs.ca GoldGold Whitehorse • Yukon 867.667.7403 Jewellery Jewellerywww.murdochs.ca

867.667.7403

Published by YUKON NEWS December 2013

39


presents

“The 5% Fire Brigade” a new limited edition* print from

Chris Caldwell

$250 plus… a bonus “Cast of Characters” program guidebook *only 250 prints available

“Song of a Sled Dog ” Posters $20/ea

2 0 5 M A I N S T R E E T • ( 8 6 7 ) 6 6 8 - 4 3 5 0 • M o N d Ay- S AT u R d Ay 9 - 8 , S u N d Ay 1 0 - 6

December 09, 2013  

Section Z of the December 09, 2013 edition of the Yukon News