Food

Becoming the Editor of My First Cookbook

Last fall, I wrote a blog post about my First and Favourite Cookbook. Simply in Season was the first cookbook I purchased when I moved out for university. It has been a staple cookbook in my kitchen and even still, in many cases it is the first cookbook I go to after a long day of work and it’s time to eat. It’s part of a series of three cookbooks, and all of the royalties go to support the work of the Mennonite Central Committee, a relief and development organization started and run by Anabaptist churches that works for peace and justice.

Borscht: Shared Family Histories

This past week and next week the Olympians will be fuelling up on borscht as Russia expects to serve over 70,000 gallons of this soup with Soviet roots. Borscht became a staple recipe in my family from the many decades that my ancestors lived in the Russia before and during the Revolution. There are many different versions with minor ingredient variations as you travel from Ukraine through Russia and then make your way across the ocean to North America. Anya von Bremzen mentions in her NPR interview that borscht has its North American versions thanks to Jewish immigrants, but there were also many Mennonites that fled the Russia at the start of the revolution in 1917 through the mid 1900s and brought their versions to North America too.

Fudge from Paraguay: Baking with Oma

I arrive at Oma’s house to the smell of caramelizing cocoa and sugar on the stove. She started her pot of fudge right after I called her from the car. I was running late and she couldn’t wait. She was excited to make fudge together.

Remembering Summer: Canning Peaches

It’s this time of year where I really start to appreciate all the work I put into canning in the summer (and lament that I didn’t make enough of some things – like salsa!).

I’ve been lucky to have someone to can with each summer. Canning dates with my sister-in-law, Brittany, have been so fun. Each year we get a bit more adventurous and try out new things.

A Family of Bakers / New Year's Cookies

I’ve always been a bit intimidated by all the baking skills in my family. That’s why up until now, I’ve stuck with cooking. That’s my domain. My mother and my Oma are amazing bakers and I’ve always had the privilege of enjoying their baking. But I realize that my Oma won’t be around forever, and the only way I’m going to learn is to bake with her. And baking with her is turning out to be the most memorable time I’ve spent with her. The recipes that she uses aren’t like the recipes I use. They aren’t complete. You’re just expected to know what to do once you read the list of ingredients.

My Food Story Part 3: The Big City (Toronto)

In my last months in Edmonton I became a food sleuth. My grocery store visits got longer and longer. I would examine each piece of produce, the sign about it describing its origins and price, and then the sticker on the fruit to see whether that matched up with the sign. I couldn’t take my then boyfriend/fiancée along to the grocery store. He didn’t have the patience for this meticulousness. But I had to know more about where my food came from.

Halifax & Nova Scotia Food Scene

I’m back from a wonderful five days in Nova Scotia. It was a good mix of touring around and meetings. Last year I visited Nova Scotia in the middle of winter when it was rainy (it was early winter) and cold. So it was great to have the chance to visit when the province is at the peak of harvest season when the fall colours are vibrant. I realize that I just missed City Harvest in Halifax, so I’ll have to check that out next year.

My Food Story Part 2: University

My love of food spills over into every aspect of my life including my writing and editing work. I’d just like to share a bit of that story with you. This is part 2 of a 3-part series.

 

Living with Roommates

Like many young adults, my real interest in cooking began when I moved out for university.

My favourite part about moving out was the great roommates that I had. There were five of us women in one house. We all went about our own university lives, but we were intentional about getting together to share food.

 

My Food Story Part 1: Childhood

My love of food spills over into every aspect of my life including my writing and editing work. I’d just like to share a bit of that story with you. This is Part 1 of a 3-part series.

Good Food and Family

My appreciation for good wholesome food began with family gatherings where we would share food around the table. There would be a spread of freshly made buns, fruits, vegetables, cheese, cold cuts, and of course, baked goods. There are many amazing bakers in my family. Since that role is already filled, I gravitate to towards cooking, but that is a story for another day.

Book Response: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life inspired my own efforts in gardening. Currently, the dogs rule my small backyard, so I am limited to planters on my balcony, but I still plan to expand my efforts to herbs, edible flowers, and lettuce this year. I may even volunteer at my nearby community garden.

In her book, Barbara Kingsolver describes how she produces enough from her land to sustain her family for a whole year. This book is an engaging narrative of her year growing all the food that she eats.

Memorable Images:

- An asparagus plot
- “Agritourismo” in Italy
- Countertops covered with tomatoes

Three images stand out in my mind: asparagus, “agritourismo” in Italy, and tomatoes! I had no idea that asparagus takes a few years to establish itself before it can be harvested. Kingsolver sums up what most ...