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An Invitation from Foreign Affairs Canada [-]

Canadian Expatriates, its contributors, and readers have been invited by Foreign Affairs Canada to participate in a series of eDiscussions. The current topic is “Showcasing Canadian Culture and Know-How Abroad”.

We are asked to consider the following questions:

  • What role does Canadian culture and know-how play in our foreign policy?

  • How might the government best promote Canadian talent and expertise in the world?

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    The Expat admin team encourages its readers to join in the eDiscussion at the Canadian International Policy website.

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    Posted by Admin

    Tuesday, July 19, 2005

    Canuck Care Package
    by Expat

    I received a care package in the mail last week from a good friend and fellow expat Canuck. She is fortunate enough to live in Seattle so she can make it home to British Columbia for frequent visits. Opening the box, I was delighted to find Old Dutch Chips in both Dill Pickle and Ketchup, a container full of Sour Soothers, a couple of boxes of Smarties, and a couple of Coffee Crisp bars.

    I feel truly spoiled. Thanks T-girl! :)

    Seeing the familiar packaging brought back such a rush of childhood memories. I remember taking a detour to the local gas station on my way to elementary school to buy Sour Soothers and Belly Buttons. The Belly Buttons were tiny round gummies covered in sour sugar. I remember three or four of us pooling our change together to buy three hundred of the candies which were priced at a penny a piece. We stood there counting them one by one, wasting time until we were late for school. Now that I am an adult, I am amazed that the store clerk had so much patience with us!

    I can only remember two major chip companies from my childhood - Old Dutch with the windmill on the package and Hostess with the goblinesque Munchies. As odd as this sounds (and it does sound odd), I remember putting the empty chip bags onto a cookie sheet and baking them. When they were pulled out of the oven, they had shrunk to about 15% of their original size and were hard plastic. All of the detail was still there though, it was just minaturized. I am not sure what the purpose of the entire activity was - perhaps making keychains or something of that nature.

    When I saw the boxes of Smarties, I immediately got the Smartie song in my head:
    When you eat your Smarties,
    Do you eat the red ones last?
    Do you suck them very slowly,
    Or crunch them very fast?
    Eat that candy-coated chocolate,
    But tell me when I ask,
    When you eat your Smarties,
    Do you eat the red ones last?
    Growing up, I truly believed that there was a skill to eating Smarties. Heck, I still do. That is the power of marketing! To eat Smarties properly, you have to pour all of the candies out of the box and sort them out into their proper colour groups. Then you may ensue with eating them, but it must be in the correct order. First brown, followed by blue, then purple, next is pink, followed by green, chased by yellow, then orange, and finally red. Red is always last.

    Smarties do exist in the US. You can usually find them at Halloween, but they are entirely different from the Canuck version. Rather than being milk chocolate covered in a sweet candy coating, they are a sweet and sour powder formed into pill shapes and piled up together into a roll. In short, they are what Canadians would call Rockets.

    Coffee Crisp, on the other hand, can be found in the States. Thanks to a great tip from Mudpuppy, I learned that Cost Plus World Market does have some Canadian chocolate on the shelves. They also carry some British made chocolate that is found in Canada as well. Prices generally vary between $1 to $1.75. If you can believe it, the $1.75 was for a Crunchie bar. That is $2.13 Canabuck for one chocolate bar. Mama mia!

    Seeing as this has been quite an odd post all the way around, I will close with a song to bring all of the displaced Canucks a little closer to home:

    I am Canadian.

    Posted by Expat at 12:33 AM

    There is definitely a skill to eating Smarties, but the greatest skill of all is eating Cap't Crunch and not tearing apart the roof of your mouth.

    No kidding!

    Cap't Crunch is akin to the Simpson's Frosted Krusty O's with the jagged silver O's. LOL

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