It’s a plaid alert

By Penny Caldwell »Penny Caldwell

September 21st, 2011



A good plaid is hard to find. At least, for me. Guest post by Jackie Davis, assistant editor.

One of our summer-long traditions at Quarto Communications—the company that owns Cottage Life, explore, Outdoor Canada, and Canadian Home Workshop—is to have staff split into teams and throw backyard lunch barbecues for the entire company. The barbecues often have themes and costumes and music (but sometimes don’t involve an actual barbecue). The best part is you get to work with people you normally don’t interact with much. Okay, fine. The real best part is you get to drink beer, eat junk food, and party.

My team’s barbecue, yesterday, was the last of the summer. So it had to rock.

Theme: French Canadian (Rejected theme idea: Let’s Use Up All The Condiments Left In the Fridge! But Ew, Not The Mayonnaise, Because It Has Changed Colour)
Menu: Poutine bar (Rejected menu idea: Pea soup)
Costumes: Red and black plaid shirts (Rejected costume idea: Name tags identifying us as famous French Canadians, toques, fake moustaches)
Music: French songs (Rejected music idea: Celine Dion)

Though I spent a lot of time on my contribution to the barbecue, which was dessert—I made maple walnut fudge, maple oatmeal raisin cookies, and these butter tart squares—I spent even more time trying to track down a red and black plaid shirt to wear. I don’t have any plaid, and apparently, nor does anyone I know. I asked friends, family, and the other editors at Cottage Life. No plaid! This was maddening, because suddenly, all I did was notice plaid, everywhere: Why does that guy eating breakfast at the restaurant down the street have a plaid shirt, and I don’t? Why does the homeless man who sleeps in the lobby of my apartment building have a plaid shirt, and I don’t? Why does that lady’s Chihuahua get to wear a plaid dog-jacket and matching plaid dog-boots? He’s not even Canadian.

In the end, I just bought a red and black plaid shirt. The good news? Now I have one, for the next plaid emergency. The bad news? Everyone thought our theme was “Lumberjack.”


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Dawn Yager


Sep. 21, 2011

12:08 pm

The mayonnaise could have been a menu item; I'm pretty sure it matches your shirt.

Sep. 21, 2011

11:30 am

I did not know that the french wore plaid!


Sep. 21, 2011

11:25 am

Jackie, you should have asked me! I have about 20 plaid shirts in my closet. Maybe it's because I'm from Nova Scotia. It's rare to see people NOT wearing plaid in my hometown.

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Penny Caldwell