My Barolo

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This article was originally published in Tidings Magazine.

Sometimes, a visit to a place leaves a lasting impression. Barolo is such a place. The people, food and architecture imprint so profoundly that one’s real home begins to feel distant and unfamiliar. Luckily, experiencing Barolo is easy no matter where home is. Whenever I feel memory tugging at me, I might descend the steps to the cellar and pull a bottle from my collection. We have a few Barolos – two of which are pretty special – a 1961 (an exquisite vintage) and a 1967. The latter wasn’t such a great year, except that it is the one in which I was born. So, I’m sentimental about it. Continue reading “My Barolo”

Beat Procrastination, Feed Your Sweet Tooth!

14751071674_cee822a328_bAh yes, here I am again. The train has just pulled into Procrastination Station.

Been there many times over the years. But, what writer hasn’t, right? Though I still feel frustrated with it at times, Procrastination and I have managed to become friends. This is a good thing. For instance, being able to look each other in the eye means that I know that when I feel overwhelmed I freeze up. I’ve got things to do, places to go, you know. But, I’m almost completely unable to do anything. Normally, deadlines can be great motivators. But, the idea of waiting till the eleventh hour to start and finish something just stresses me out. Some people can set soft deadlines (read: artificial), and that’s enough to get them going. Hmm, not me. If I’ve set a soft deadline, I know it’s not real, which means I can easily talk myself out of following through. Tough case, eh? Well, here’s the upside. Having tried so many anti-procrastination tricks over time, I now know exactly what will jostle me out of mental paralysis. So, today, I’m here to let you in on the three small steps that will (hopefully!) help you beat that procrastination problem. And at the end, your sweet tooth will thank you. Continue reading “Beat Procrastination, Feed Your Sweet Tooth!”

Crave

jeffreywVariety is indeed the spice of our lives, and this allows us to really diversify with minimal additional effort. –Joel MacCharles

Let’s call it the persistence of imagination. We’ve all seen it, if not actually experienced it. It’s that unquenchable desire that drives a person to turn a passion for food, such as a love of chocolate, into something that explodes beyond the boundaries of their own kitchen walls. Maybe it’s a special jam recipe or homemade wine. Whatever the creation, before long others end up craving it, too. What begins as a simple food experiment meant to sate a personal hunger turns into something bigger — maybe even something lucrative. Connecting with people who relentlessly pursue the dictates of their taste buds is truly inspiring. There’s a vibe. Soon, their endless pursuit of flavour will have you believing that anything is possible. But who are these people? And why do they bother going to such lengths when all they need do is walk into a grocery store and find loads of products that are already there? Dan Luciani, a technology expert by day, Joel MacCharles and Dana Harrison, who run wellpreserved.ca, Angelo Bean, the Sausage King, and Jefferson Alvarez, executive chef at Vancouver’s Fraîche, had a ready answer for me: when passion takes hold, there is no turning back. Continue reading “Crave”

Cantaloupe Calamity

cantaloupe-cocktailThere I was out for my weekly food shopping. Pushing my cart up and down the aisles, I couldn’t help but be drawn by the heady aroma of ripe cantaloupes. You know, I’d normally wait for the local ones to come in sometime in July. But, these smelled so good. How could I resist them? I picked each one up, weighed them in my hands, inhaled that musky aroma and put the best one in my cart. I couldn’t wait to cut into it. I bought one and brought it home.

I left the cantaloupe in its plastic bag on my kitchen counter to keep until Sunday when we were planning to have a barbecue. Did I mention shopping day was Friday? Oh, and did I mention that the stretch of days from Friday to Sunday were super hot and humid (i.e. 32°C feeling like 38°C)? I should have stored the cantaloupe in the fridge. Who knows why I didn’t put two and two together. All I can say is that it happens sometimes. It’s like a brain blip … or something. I probably thought it would just continue to ripen. Well, I wasn’t exactly wrong about that, was I? It’s just that I wasn’t completely right either. Continue reading “Cantaloupe Calamity”

My Cherished Canadian Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Tarts

pumpin-pin-tartsThis summer, Valerie Lugonja over at A Canadian Foodie embarked on an interesting journey. She founded The Canadian Food Experience Project. Beginning June 7, 2013, participants are encouraged to share their stories about their own remarkable encounters with Canadian regional foods. By doing so, we can all gain a clearer perspective on what makes the Canadian culinary identity.

This month’s theme really gave me pause. What exactly is a Canadian recipe? What came immediately to mind under the heading of ‘Canadian’, after Saskatoon berry jam, was Ambrosia salad. Hmm, the former’s good; the latter, well, is not what I’d call a favourite. Is it something the pioneers would have made? But then, which pioneers – the English, the Ukrainians, the French and so many others? Don’t forget all the Native Canadians with their own special recipes. Continue reading “My Cherished Canadian Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Tarts”