Category Archives: Writing

Savour fine writing – the value of a mentor to inspire and teach – @eatmywords Liane Faulder: Raw milk a key ingredient in some of the world’s finest cheeses

Me and Liane Faulder, friend and writing mentor September 2013

Me and Liane Faulder, friend and writing mentor
September 2013

I count myself blessed that I have a few very fine writing mentors. My friend dee Hobsbawn-Smith has always encouraged me to write and been there with kindness. My editor at City Palate Magazine, Kathy Richardier, has invested a great deal of time in making me a better writer and I owe a lot to her insistence on brevity, her eagle eye for clarity and her sense of readability, tone and overall worthiness of a piece. In Jennifer Cockrall-King, the founder of The Okanagan Food and Wine Writers Workshop (OKFWWW), I have found collegiality, escape from a writer’s solitary life and a generosity of spirit that reveals a deep belief in abundance and the power of collaboration.

It was at the OKFWWW that I met Liane Faulder. This post will talk more about what I have learned from Faulder in particular and share an article she recently wrote on raw milk in Canada.

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Savour food Savour life – designer Geoff Lilge of @onourtable features his favourite designs from MY kitchen – Sooo fun!

What's on my table  - as chosen by designer Geoff Lilge of @OnourTable

What’s on my table – as chosen by designer Geoff Lilge of @OnourTable

Thanks to my friends Cindy Lazarenko and Geoff Lilge for featuring me and my favourite kitchen items on their beautiful @Onourtable design blog. You can read that post here.

I care for great design. It makes our lives so much better. I had fun writing for On Our Table. It was a thought-provoking exercise and a rare opportunity to think about the things I’ve surrounded myself with. Beyond these creature comforts there’s one thing I care more than anything and that’s friendship.

Friendship could be life’s greatest design. I don’t know if its form follows its function. I don’t get to see my friends Lazarenko and Lilge much. I see them when their work brings them to Calgary so yes, I guess the form in which our friendship develops follows a function. We tweet, message, email and call. Those are other forms that allow our friendship to function. It doesn’t matter. Each friendship is unique in its design; like the snow flakes that fall from a dark night sky, each is uniquely created to land softly where it will.

I love each of my friendship’s intricate designs. I love the ability of friendship to withstand the high and low seasons of life’s continuum. I love the joy friendship breathes into our short time of being here on earth.

I count myself incredibly blessed to have these dear and talented friends. Cindy and Geoff, talented cook and designer, and dear kindred spirits, you help me savour my food and savour my life. Thank you.

My darling friend - chef Cindy Lazarenko of On Our Table

My darling friend – chef Cindy Lazarenko of On Our Table

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Savour food – cool thing no. 10 – It’s @CityPalate magazine’s 20th anniversary

It is possible to get paid for writing - my first cheque was from City Palate Magazine

It is possible to get paid for writing – my first cheque was from City Palate Magazine

I’ve been writing for Calgary’s City Palate magazine since 2007. I still have a copy of the first cheque the publisher, Gail Norton, sent me on my bulletin board. It was the first time I ever got paid for food or travel writing. That cheque is doubly meaningful and sweet to me because it was also payment for the first article I ever submitted anywhere. When I opened the envelope and realized what that cheque was for, a quiet pride came to me. It was the kind of feeling that’s rare and hard to find and fills you deep in your core. It was a thrilling little glow that came from the center of my heart and warmed me to the tip of my toes and top of my noggin. Truth be told, I still do a little dance around my chair every time I get paid for writing.

Until now, I’ve never told anyone about my quiet celebratory publication and payment ritual and I’m not gloating now. I’ll still keep my pride private for the most part. But, I just want to share the gratitude and joy I feel at being a very small part of something so infinitesimally bigger than me. I’m also wise enough (read: old enough) to realize it’s important to celebrate every time something wonderful happens to me. I think it will be way more fun to have 1000 small celebrations as frequently as possible instead of saving up for one colossal “someday” that procrastination may rob me of. Now is an especially good time to celebrate being part of the City Palate team. My friends at the magazine are inspiring quite a bit of joviality themselves just now. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Calgary’s City Palate magazine.

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Savour food – Culinary Tourism in the Okanagan & the @OKFWWWorkshop

Okanagan Lake, Kelowna, B.C.

Okanagan Lake, Kelowna, B.C.

Culinary Tourism and my trip to the 2013 Okanagan Food and Wine Writers Workshop (@OKFWWWorkshop) in Kelowna, British Columbia were the topics of my most recent food column on CBC Radio One’s Alberta at Noon . You can catch that podcast here. My column starts at the 17:53 mark in the show.

Albertans (and people from around the globe) love to visit British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley each summer. Kelowna alone receives 1.5 million visitors. I’ve been visiting regularly since I first went with my husband in 1987. We spend at least two weeks every year there now with our family. I never tire of going so I was naturally drawn to the @OKFWWWorkshop. My writing can always be improved and the whole area acts as a muse for me. It consistently inspires me to write.

This post will add more depth to my radio column’s outline of recent developments in culinary tourism in the Okanagan. I’ll also share some photos of the food, wine and general good spirits brought about by exploring the farm to table agri-tourism offerings in Kelowna. I hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I enjoyed being there. Better yet, go and savour a little of the Okanagan good life for yourself.

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Savour food Savour life- Cool Thing no. 8 – this @IndianSummerCND festival video features @Vijs_restaurant

I love Indian food and culture so much I’m going to have to figure out how to get to Vancouver this summer to attend the Indian Summer Festival. It is an annual event celebrating arts, ideas and diversity and it connects Vancouver and South Asia via 10 days of music, literature, film, well-being, dance, cuisine & visual art.

I took a group to Kerala, India last year and will explore India’s Golden Triangle’s cuisine and culture this coming fall with the help of my business partner Indus Travels. As a student of Indian culture I’ll be waiting for this Vancouver festival to announce this year’s schedule of offerings. The more I can learn about India the better guide I can be for my guests. To be totally honest, I’d also like to go to Vij’s Restaurant for a much needed fix of his food and I could shop for the saree I need for the Diwali party I’m invited to on November 2 in New Dehli. This is what I love about being Canadian. I could potentially be dressed up in my cowgirl gear presenting at The Calgary Stampede Western Life Calgary Coop Showcase Kitchen one day in July and then be shopping for a saree in Surrey, B.C. the next day. Coincidentally or non-coincidentally The Indian Summer Festival in Vancouver is the exact same dates as our Calgary Stampede - the biggest outdoor show on earth – July 5 – 14, 2013.

I need to go to Vancouver for this fun, delicious and intellectually stimulating Indian Summer Festival. It will definitely help me savour food and savour life.

In case you doubt my sincerity, here’s a poem I was moved to write one morning when I was on my Kerala soujourn last fall. I have a lot more to write about India but this was a good way to start. Hope you agree.

Glorious India
By Karen Anderson (written in Kovalam, November 30, 2012)

We met in God’s own country Kerala
In you my heart opened wide to receive love poured forth
Nothing is hidden here
Angel’s Trumpets white and pink, blue morning glories, red puffs of calandria, orange marigolds, lush green forests; they all grow beside humanity’s debris.
The colours, the noise, the spectacle, the fragrance and your sheer numbers, they keep me focused on all that really exists
The here and the now
Your gift is the present
The present is your gift
A sea of earthen people remind me that we come from and go back to your body and the oneness within
The endless variation of faces and smiles remind me of infinite love and the universal power of creation
I sit at your feet and see it takes three oceans to wash them
Each wave of the Arabian caresses and massages your sensual body
Each wave is your breath; deep and regular and completely without effort
Each wave joins your body and my mind and takes my spirit to join a universal one
I am ready to allow what will be
You have opened me just as they said you would
You are mother, goddess of women and feminine energy divine
I have received you
I take you with me and all is well
Here
Now
Wherever I will be
We are forever one
Oh Glorious India

Lunch delivery Keralan backwaters Photo by Karen Anderson

Lunch delivery Keralan backwaters Photo by Karen Anderson

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Savour food – the food and wine of @OKFWWWorkshop – a muse for #writing

The Lavender & Herb Farm, Kelowna, BC

The Lavender & Herb Farm, Kelowna, BC

Every artist needs a muse. For the many artistically gifted chefs that have settled in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia it is the quality of the area’s produce that is the muse that has drawn them to this spectacular setting. That quality produce comes from food and wine growers who work with the land to bring forward the very best of its terroir; its taste of place.

Tasting the place that is the Okanagan is one of the great things about attending the Okanagan Food and Wine Writer’s Workshop (OKFWWWorkshop). Along with workshops on food and wine writing there is the actual inspiration to write that comes from visiting the farms, vineyards, chefs, caterers, restaurants, hotels and food artisans of the Okanagan. I have written about what I learned about writing from the 2012 workshop and how to register for that workshop here.

This blog is a gallery of photos that I took at the 2012 OKFWWWworkshop. The pictures speak to the taste of this place; the terroir of the Okanagan Valley. Sometimes a writer just can’t compete with the perennial “1000 words” a picture gives us so effortlessly. Exploring the food and wine of the Okanagan Valley is one of ways I savour food and savour life. Today, I’ll let these photos do my story-telling.

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Savour food – Cool things #6 – the @OKFWWWorkshop, Okanagan Valley, B.C.

The Okanagan Food and Wine Writer's Workshop, 2012 poster

The Okanagan Food and Wine Writer’s Workshop, 2012 poster

This year’s Okanagan Food and Wine Writer’s Workshop is April 28 to May 1, 2013 in Kelowna, British Columbia. You can register here. The workshop is open to all food and wine writers – newbie to thoroughly nuanced. I attended last year for the first time and got a lot out of it. I’m going back this year.

People often talk about gifts that keep on giving. Sending myself to the OKFWWWorkshop was that kind of gift to myself. I went with an open mind. I did not know what to expect. I have been freelancing for about six years and have worked with some great editors and producers that have made my writing stronger. I have two regular columns; one on must-have kitchen and pantry ingredients for City Palate magazine in Calgary and an ongoing CBC Radio One food column for Alberta at Noon. I have had many food and travel articles published across Canada and have written for an online magazine in Paris. Still, I had been feeling blind as a writer. I had been feeling my way. I wanted to shed some light on the processes involved in professional food and wine writing. The workshop added a lot of wattage to the dim lightbulb over my head.

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Savour food Savour life – Growing a Food Forest

Rob Avis explains how his front lawn became a "Food Forest"

Rob Avis explains how his front lawn became a “Food Forest”

Rob & Michelle Avis's backyard "lasagna" layered garden

Rob & Michelle Avis’s backyard “lasagna” layered garden

Growing a Food Forest.

Amen for the writing of Jacquie Moore in The Calgary Herald’s Swerve Magazine today (click on the link above). I hope you will take a few moments to read her exemplary piece on the growing (pun intended – groan if you must) permaculture movement. If you look through some of my recent posts you’ll see I’ve been writing a bit about it myself and that I talked about it in my last CBC Radio One Alberta @ Noon column.

Permaculture is one of the most exciting solution-oriented ideas/philosophies/systems/lifestyles I’ve ever come across. I love it because it encourages humanity to live with respect for our selves, our communities, our food and our dear planet.

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Savour life – an oasis on the creative space-time continuum

“5 ways to access creativity by John Cleese”

I am home alone today. My son and husband have gone skiing. My husband suggested I stay home since there was no new snow. We’re such snow snobs here in Alberta. He’ll be travelling and leaving me as the more frequent driver to our son’s ski lessons in the weekends to come.  He gave me the gift of some time and space alone on this crisp, clear, cold Canadian winter’s day. I love that man. So what am I doing with the bonus situation I find myself in?  Continue reading

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