It seems as if almost every post I have written lately begins with some sort of apology for my infrequent blogging. A year of school, days in the garden, summer holidays… lots of reasons and excuses, but enough is enough already. I officially graduate in less than a week so school isn’t an excuse, the garden is (almost) ready for winter, and I’m attending a blogging conference just days from now. Gulp. Let me repeat that, the woman who has averaged about a blog a quarter is attending a conference. For food bloggers. Filled with people who write (and publish!) for a living. Double gulp. With that looming motivation in mind I pulled out my notebook and started looking at the list I’ve been keeping of topics I want to turn into brilliant, informative, funny or tasty stories. But where to start? Continue reading
When I was a kid my Mom, as most moms do, drove me crazy. As soon as tomato season started every time she would bite into a tomato, and I mean every time, she would swoon. Really. Not just get a bit excited, but the “do you need smelling salts’ kind of swoon. She would take one bite and in a fit of slight rapture she would exclaim “oh….. this is sooooooo good”. “Yes Mom, we know. They are good.” we would say. “No.” she would say, ” but these are SOOOOOOO good”. Sigh. As a teenager it was mortifying.
If April showers do in fact bring May flowers then Vancouver should have an amazing May. But May is here and while there are lots of flowers the continued rain (and snow in certain parts of the country – shudder) is making me think that perhaps May needs a little reminder what its job is, to be warm enough that we can all get outdoors after a long, cooped up winter and raise our pasty faces to the sun.
Polar vortex or not, it is officially spring. To celebrate I spent my spring break holiday in northern Canada where it is definitely still winter. Despite the winter weather I kept warm with bundled up walks along the ice covered river, days spent on the couch in my pajamas reading and a glass (or two) of restorative red wine.
But, after a relaxing week of warming holiday comfort food, and with optimism in mind, I’m craving the tastes of spring. One of the first crops that is poking up out of the ground this year are the radishes. Continue reading
Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday. Whatever you want to call it, I call it Pancake day and it’s here!
Traditionally, pancake day is the last day before the beginning of Lent. During Lent, it is customary to give up things we love (think drinking pop or alcohol, tv, or eating chocolate) so historically families would try to use up things like meat, butter, and flour, and thus the tradition of Pancake Day began. As a kid for Shrove Tuesday my family usually went to a Pancake dinner at the church, which was always an awesome excuse to see friends in the middle of the week. These days, as someone always looking for an excuse to have friends around the table, Pancake Tuesday dinners seemed like a great tradition to start in my house.
I remember as a kid we always seemed to be fundraising for something. Girl Guide cookies, raffle tickets or boxes of citrus for band trips. I was never a massive fan of the fundraising but was a huge fan of the arrival of those big boxes of Florida oranges and grapefruit. Growing up in Ontario, Florida was a pretty common winter vacation spot for most of my friends. Maybe my friends got their fill of citrus on holiday, but the closest I ever got, or have been, to Florida was getting those big boxes of oranges and grapefruit. Makes me, almost, miss high school band…
I was a lot older, when I first saw grapefruit growing on a tree. I could not believe my eyes. Tree after tree so overloaded the fruit was falling on the ground around me. I gourged myself on that first trip. It was divine.
When I get home from school I need to eat something. It’s been a few hours since lunch and I’m hungry. But deciding what to eat is the challenge. Too much and I will still be full come dinner hour, too little and I’ll still be hungry wondering why I even bothered. My snack choices usually include something like hummus and cut vegetables, maybe a couple dolmathes and some almonds, or sometimes just a hardboiled egg. But, I can’t lie, what I really want is crackers and cheese. I’m not saying I have it, but that’s what I am usually craving.
Potlucks. Do you love them or hate them? My feelings are mixed. In some ways they make things easier – you don’t have to cook as much, there is less clean up and there are more options for picky eaters. But, it is also possible to end up with a table full of desserts or five macaroni salads. So what’s a girl to do? How do you decide what to bring?
Lately is seems as if every time I write a blog post it is a change of season. The last time I wrote it had just changed from summer to fall . Suddenly fall is here and it is Thanksgiving. But what a fall it has been. I have had some great adventures the last few weeks. I started school, I’ve winterized the garden and I went to the Yukon for my sisters birthday where my sister and Mom took me on my first helicopter ride! Needless to say with all this activity this poor little blog has been sadly neglected. But, with a long weekend upon me and only one exam looming I decided that needed to change.
Eating local. What does that mean? The 100 mile diet, only food from your own garden, city, province or country? To everyone it means a different thing. And if you ask me (I know you didn’t) I would say it doesn’t matter. My personal belief is that if you have even bothered to think the phrase you are probably doing more for the planet, your environment and your health than a lot of people.
Now most of you know I can get a bit on my high horse about avoiding prepackaged food and chemicals. But trust me, even I fall of the wagon sometimes (no comments from the peanut gallery please). So when I saw an email from Growing Chefs BC talking about a fundraising drive called the Growing Chefs Eat Local Challenge I thought, perfect. What a great way to remind myself and (hopefully) inspire others to “eat local”.
For those of you who don’t know Growing Chefs, it is a wonderful organization that goes into classrooms and teaches them about urban food gardening. This past spring I was lucky enough to get to volunteer in one of their grade three/four growing classrooms. Kids learned how to grow peas, lettuces, radishes and beans. They got to learn about composting, knife skills and recipe reading. Throughout the program we had snacks and meals we made from the food we had grown.
Now I have a garden and live in Vancouver so it is pretty easy for me to eat locally. My downfalls are things like lemons, salt, pepper, olive oil, fancy vinegars, cheese and booze. So for one week I am committing to eating local. For me this means I will be eating food produced locally, sustainably and ethically. Fruits, vegetables, fish and meat will all come from my garden and various local BC producers. I do have two confessions … first that on day one of the challenge I’m at a wedding, I can’t predict that meal and number two, I will be using salt, olive oil, vinegar, lemons and drinking coffee. They aren’t local. I know… but a girl has to have her vices.
I admit I had a bit of a question of conscience, wondering if it was weird to have my first blog post in ages a request for support and donations. But, after a bit of conversation with others I realized no. Eating healthy food close to the source and teaching young people about growing and eating real food is important to me. I’m making the assumption that if you read my blog it is probably important to you too. If you would like to make a small donation you can go here. If you can’t spare a penny or two I totally understand (especially if it’s because you spent them at your local farmers market!), but even $5 helps. Donation or not, I challenge you to see if for a week you and your families can be inspired to eat, if not totally local, a little closer to the source.