morel mushrooms – photo – Karen Anderson
I love the chance to spend time in nature and living in Alberta, Canada gives me great opportunities to do so. I love hiking in The Rocky Mountains, cycling, skiing or sometimes just getting in a raft and floating down the big wide Bow River.
Eventually, all that time in nature makes me hungry though and that’s when it’s good to spend a little of my time in the great outdoors with a cadre of culinary instructors from SAIT Polytechnic’s School of Hospitality and Tourism. Once a year we go on a hike that turns into an episode of Bounty Hunter. The bounty in this case is food and the hunting is part of the gathering we do on their annual foraging day in the foothills of The Rocky Mountains.
You might be a confirmed “urban forager” but in case you’d like to take a walk on the wild side of food read on…
Shuffling the deck for new winning hand of Best of Bridge – LtoR – Mary Halpen, Sue Duncan, Val Robinson, Helen Miles, Joan Wilson, Elizabeth Chorney-Booth and Julie Van Rosendaal – photo – Karen Anderson
Publishers Robert Rose held a quiet dinner at Rouge Restaurant in Calgary last night to make the announcement that the iconic Canadian cookbook brand Best of Bridge would be shuffling their deck of authors. Calgary Herald reporter Gwendolyn Richards broke the news in an exclusive interview.
Winners of a contest that asked for favourite recipes and stories about Best of Bridge were invited to the dinner under the guise of celebrating an intimate “retro evening” with the four remaining original authors – Mary Halpen, Val Robinson, Helen Miles and Joan Wilson. I was one of the fortunate winners.
I entered the contest because I am a long-time fan of the success of the eight (now four) Calgary stay-at-home Moms and savvy entrepreneurs. They were everything I hoped they would be – happy, passionate, completely loyal and fond of each other, funny (just like their famous one-liners) and great businesswomen.
Here’s a bit more about them and the new plans for Best of Bridge with Julie Van Rosendaal, Sue Duncan and Elizabeth Chorney-Booth.
My friends at Succulent Paris enjoying the treats I brought them from Alberta – photo – Kim Irving
My friends Marion Willard and Aurélie Mahoudeau of Succulent Paris food tours are wonderful cooks who love to share their passion with visitors to their city. This post will highlight a day where I booked them for a private gourmet tour. We met for coffee, shopped on Rue de Levis near their home and then prepared a seasonal multi-course gastronomic meal
Cooking with Willard and Mahoudeau is a joyous occasion. Sitting down and sharing a meal together even more so. I hope that you’ll see that in the photos I’ll share here and that you’ll try some of the recipes as well. If they all seem a bit too much skip ahead to the next post where I share a ridiculously easy and fun Mug Cake that anyone can make and enjoy. It’s all good.
I’m just back from Paris.
I had the opportunity during my visit to spend a day shopping and cooking a multi-course French meal with my friends Marion Willard and Aurélie Mahoudeau of Succulent Paris. For my Parisian friends, this is a daily occurrence. They have culinary skills that have been passed down through the generations of their families. They learned to cook both at extensive family gatherings and in the day-to-day preparation of meals with their parents. They enjoy shopping daily for what is fresh and in season and they use their culinary skills to pull together meals to celebrate those ingredients.
While this is la vie quotidienne (daily life) for my two friends in the food business, cooking a multi-course meal is no longer taken for granted by French families. Families in France also have two partners working outside the home, just like other families around the world, and here in Alberta. This means that their children and ours have less access to cooking mentors than previous generations.
The French government nominated The Gastronomic Meal to UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage values in 2008 (it was accepted in 2010) in an effort to preserve its essence – taking time to care and enjoy family and life through gathering at the table to share a thoughtfully prepared meal. The traditional preparation of Kimchi in Korea is currently being considered for UNESCO’s list and Japanese and traditional Mexican cuisine have also already been accepted to the list.
The French realize future generations will need help to sustain this part of their culture due to the evolution of modern family life so they are working with UNESCO to save this intangible part of their heritage. As children’s health advocate Jamie Oliver puts forth in his Food Day Revolution, the life skill of cooking is necessary to the health of future generations. Suddenly, the intangible values surrounding a culture’s way of eating become very tangible supports for a healthy lifestyle when their manifestation has this outcome.
This post will talk a bit more about what’s involved in The Gastronomic Meal of the French and how the values it embodies translate to resilience needed for daily life.
A Letter from Jamie Oliver (reprinted with his permission)
Sign the petition
As you may know, recently I launched a global petition to fight for compulsory, practical food education for all children in schools across the world. Within a month, we had well over 700,000 signatures but now I really need your help to get more.
I profoundly believe that it is every child’s human right to have access to food education from a young age. It’s only with this knowledge and understanding of food, where it comes from, how it affects their bodies, and how to grow, cook and enjoy it, that we will be able to fix the terrible state of global health as it stands today.
To give you just one stat, according to the World Health Organization, 42 million children under the age of five were overweight or obese around the world in 2013. Under the age of five. Something is seriously wrong with our relationship with food and we need to act now before our health services around the world become overwhelmed by the effects of preventable diet-related disease.
I really need as many people as possible in every country to sign this petition and share it with their friends all over the world. With enough support, we can create a movement that’s powerful enough to force governments everywhere – including yours – to take action in the fight against diet-related diseases, and I really believe this is possible.
Fresh cheeses are truly “alive” with flavour
photo – Karen Anderson
Here’s my CBC Radio One Alberta at Noon podcast about D-I-Y Cheese making. I’m at the 7 minute mark.
What a fun topic. I hope you’ll give the recipes a try.
Turns out this whole D-I-Y cheese business is very tasty business indeed.
A few of our wonderful Albertan Cheese Makers
Carolyn & Harvey Van Driesten, Noble Meadows Cheese makers photo credit – Karen Anderson
Ben Oudshoorn with Fairwinds Farm’s Hard Goat’s Cheeses photo – Karen Anderson
Paulo Campanella and Frank Fiorini, White Gold Cheese Factory photo credit – Karen Anderson
Sweetmeadow Cheese maker Sandy Easterbrooks w her Jersey cows & East Friesen sheep – photo credit Karen Anderson
John Schalkwijk and his Award winning Sylvan Star Cheeses
Ella Kinloch started Make Cheese – She’s a teacher turned cheese making teacher
Are Albertans are turning into cheese heads?
Cheese head is an affectionate moniker for people who love cheese. We’ve got a growing cadre of artisanal cheese makers in the province. I’ve profiled the 15 Alberta Cheese Makers I could find, I’ve posted on issues in cheese making, I’ve profiled the Make Cheese company that sells cheese making kits and most recently I’ve posted on White Gold’s encouraging story of growth.
Other Albertans might have a beef about being called a cheese head but I guess I’d qualify. I credit several influential visits to Wisconsin, the world headquarters of cheese heads, including one of my best friends Barb Murphy Moore, for forming the cheese head curd in my brain but I never thought my fondness for the stuff would ever lead me to making cheese myself.
Last summer a visit from one of my chef friends changed all that.
This post will demystify basic fresh cheese making and provide a few recipes that I hope will encourage you to give D-I-Y cheese making a try. Many of us, live pretty far from stores that carry fresh local cheeses, but as you’ll see, if you can access fresh milk, you can make fresh cheese.