Farewell to winter salad – photo – Karen Anderson
Voila – a star (anise) stew – photo – Karen Anderson
Waldorf Astoria Cake Revival – photo – Karen Anderson
CBC Radio One’s Alberta at Noon host Donna McElligott and I had a lot of fun reminiscing about Corner Grocers today. Catch the podcast and let me know if you have access to a great up and coming corner grocer or small general store in your area. I’d love to hear about it.
I’ve always felt I was born to GROCERY shop. It’s my favourite thing to do. I’m just a little picky about where I do it. That’s the key to making it fun. Check out my visit to three fun Corner Grocers and the recipes they inspired when you get the chance.
Corner Grocer Goodies – photo – Karen Anderson
Loblaws, Canada’s largest grocer, announced this week that they will add 50 stores and spend $1.2 billion on expanding their network and distribution. Walmart echoed this push announcing $300 million in expansion. Big chains are getting bigger. That is not a story.
The stories in the grocery world right now, for me, are two trends I’ve been watching.
One is happening in a big way south of the border with Amazon dot com. They’ve been a distributor of all things since the 90s and 15,000 dry good groceries for a good part of that. Now, in their home base of Seattle and Los Angeles, if you join Amazon Fresh and pay a fee of about 200 dollars a year, you can order online from a wide variety of grocers and specialty stores for home delivery. As you long as you order by 11 p.m. – for most items – that which you desire will arrive on your doorstep by 6 a.m. the next morning. No wonder Loblaws are looking into e-commerce to broaden their distribution. They might be looking at some very empty big boxes of stores if this catches on in Canada. They’ll have to go some to catch Amazon who’ve been doing e-everything since the 90s and who just spent $750 million on their inventory robotics systems. Now that is a big story but it’s not the one I’m going to focus on.
The trend I’m going to focus on is the opposite of big. It’s small in every way. It’s the revival of the corner grocer.
Coconut madness – photo – Karen Anderson
favourite coconut products – photo – Karen Anderson
For about two dollars you can buy frozen grated coconut at Asian grocers – photo – Karen Anderson
Today on CBC Radio One’s Alberta at Noon
I talked about why the world’s gone loco for coconut and some ideas for using coconut in your holiday baking. The recipes can be found here
and the podcast here
. I’m on at the 17:44 mark in the show.
Read on for a little more background on coconut’s popularity around the globe.
She’s so sweet – Calgary Hyatt Regency Executive Pastry Chef Sabine Gradauer – photo – Karen Anderson
chef Sabine Gradauer’s cake pop centrepiece – photo – Karen Anderson
chef Gradauer is getting ready to welcome 800 guests to the Calgary Hyatt Regency’s Christmas Day brunch – photo – Karen Anderson
A little while ago an invitation to meet the executive pastry chef at Calgary’s Hyatt Regency hotel crossed my desk. I had to delay that meeting until after my annual trip to India and since I knew I would be jet-lagged on my return and that I would have a column for CBC Radio One’s Alberta at Noon due shortly after my return, I thought it would be a great idea to have this profession chef help me with a recipe to share with Albertans this Christmas.
I knew that in the two weeks I would spend in South India I would see coconuts everywhere so I asked if chef might be willing to create a great Christmas inspired coconut dessert.
I specifically mentioned that the recipe should be fairly easy.
Here’s something I learned from this experience; what a classically trained executive pastry chef from Austria whose lived and worked all over the world thinks of as easy, might not be as easy for you and me.
Ah well, it was a delight to meet chef Sabine Gradauer and if you read on you’ll see how I fared in translating her professional chef’s notes on this recipe for Coconut Snowball Cake-pops into something you can make at home. Hopefully all was not lost in translation.
Will you join the World Food Day campaign to #ToastAFarmer ? I am happy to.
photo – Cole Anderson
Today on CBC Radio One’s Alberta at Noon with host Donna McElligott I talked about World Food Day’s 2014 theme of family farming – feeding the world and caring for the earth. You’ll find the podcast here. You’ll find my Aunt Muriel’s Farmhouse Carrot Cake recipe using lots of local farm ingredients here.
One of the things you’ll see trending on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram tomorrow is the hashtag #ToastAFarmer along with #WFD2014 and #IYFF. It’s all about showing appreciation for family farmers and especially – for here in Alberta – the next generation. I’m going to start toasting farmers today.
One of my favourite Alberta farmers is a man named John Mills. Read on to find out more about this amazing YOUNG farmer.
Definitely homemade – Aunt Muriel’s Farmhouse Carrot Cake – photo – Karen Anderson
When I was a little girl I loved to visit my great Aunt Muriel.
She lived in a big old farmhouse high on a hill overlooking the St. Croix River near my hometown of St. Andrews, New Brunswick. I remember her huge vegetable garden and a tire swing hanging from the bowed branches of an old willow tree across the yard from the creaky screen door of her kitchen. She used to make this carrot cake for my cousin Debbie’s birthday party each year and when I moved away to college I asked her for the recipe as it was definitely my favourite cake growing up.
I’ve lived in Alberta 30 years now and I know many of the farmers that grow my food. Now when I make Aunty M’s cake I use as many things from their farms as I can. I know she would’ve loved the golden hue and rich flavour of the organic canola oil I can source here. She farmed organically because that’s just how you did things.
Once in awhile when I’m on a farm in Alberta, I’ll catch sight of a tire swing hanging from a tree and my mind will race back in time to meet a little girl swinging with all her heart – her cotton dress fluttering and flying up around her. She’s laughing and throwing her head back to catch the rays of the sun as a warm summer breeze rustles the soft leaves of the giant old willow above.
Twirling, twirling, twirling – today I iced my cake with swirls and twirls and remembered again the joy of time on a family farm.
Read on for my Aunt Muriel’s carrot cake recipe. I’ve noted all the farms I was able to support in the making of the beautiful cake. It’s my small way to toast a farmer – the social media theme for the World Food Day – and the International Year of the Family Farm. Enjoy.