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Lunch with a friend today yielded a take-home treat of these fabulous date squares. During our chat, she asked me what the difference was between “Date” squares, and “Matrimonial” squares. I suppose after you’ve had enough date squares you make a commitment and have the matrimonial squares?
But, it had me stumped–I’d never heard the term “matrimonial” squares before. Turns out, that’s what date squares are called in Western Canada. I don’t know how far west you have to go, mind you. Perhaps on the provincial border of Ontario-Manitoba?
Or really west? Like Alberta?
I set out to find some information on this matrimonial square, such as where the name comes from. To be sure, it’s a nice square, but I don’t know if it’s worthy of being “matrimonial”. Date, yes, one of those casual coffee dates more so than a third or fourth dinner date. It’s not a one night stand square, like a Nanaimo bar, that is gobbled up quickly and leaves the gobbler with sugar high crash headache–the walk of shame for square eaters. But nor is it quite up there with a brownie–now THAT’S a square I could marry (if I wasn’t already engaged to that chowder, ranch dressing, and roesti potato).
First turning to that infallible bastion of info, the Wikipedia, I discover it’s not called matrimonial square but rather, matrimonial “cake”. Okay then.
Further perusal of about a gazillion other sites turned up the same general story:
*”Western” Canada is the Prairies
*The name is from the 1930’s
*The smooth and crumbly textures of the square represent the contrast in good times and bad in a marriage
(Hmmmm…..I wonder if there are any other foods named thusly?)
And there you have it. Whether you want to call it date, matrimonial, or one night stand, here’s a classic recipe for these delightfully old-fashioned squares.

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