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.
In a world where so many magazines are struggling, City Palate’s page count keeps growing. As a long-time faithful reader I rely on the quality of the writing, the solid editing of Kathy Richardier and the vision of the publishing and design team. People are drawn to the magazine because it truly delivers its credo, “The Flavour of Calgary’s Food Scene”.
I have been writing a regular kitchen and pantry column for City Palate, “Get This – Must have kitchen stuff” since the fall of 2010. I thank my mentor and friend dee Hobsbawn-Smith for recommending me to replace her and the publisher and editor for believing I could fill Hobsbawn-Smith’s shelf in the larder that is City Palate. Writing this column is one of the funnest things I do. I’m never told what to write about. I have editorial privilege to choose the six things I’ll feature. I always let what I think will interest City Palate readers act as my guide. I feel blessed to work with an editor and publisher who have that kind of faith in my instincts and professionalism.
Another role I have at City Palate is to be the scout, organizer, lead guide, logistics coordinator and catering cook for the City Palate Foodie Tootles (I could not do this without my team of Tilly Sanchez and Matthew Altizer). This is the 15th year for these leisurely farm tours around Southern Alberta (another role I inherited from the great dee Hobsbawn-Smith). City Palate has long demonstrated how to make the Farm to Table movement a reality. It’s a privilege to act as a conduit between city folk and farm folk; our consumers and our growers. I love this work.
In this very special 20th anniversary City Palate is once again doing something very cool. They are hosting 20 events with all proceeds benefitting local food charities. The events include the three “Foodie Tootles” I will run, a photo contest, the annual crossword puzzle, a culinary scholarship, sponsorship of a community garden, a food truck festival, a family brunch on a berry farm, opera and a picnic in the east village, a top chef dinner, an all duck dinner, a film project starring local chefs, a culinary treasure hunt, a collaborative kitchen party at SAIT’s culinary campus, a speak easy cocktail pop up, a sausage and beer event, a Pig and Pinot festival, a long table dinner with seven restaurants for 275 guests outdoors in the heart of Calgary’s Stephen Avenue and a sexy summer soiree wrap up party.
So, what are you waiting for? You can find the latest issue of City Palate right here. Get a good cup of java or a beaker of wine and treat yourself to a little quiet time to expore the pages. Enter the dates of all the fun events in your calendar. I’ll hope to see you there. City Palate is giving us lots of chances to savour our food and savour our lives this year. Happy Anniversary City Palate.
With love and gratitude,
Your friend and writer,