Category Archives: Heritage cooking skills

The Gastronomic Meal of the French – #recipes from my friends @SucculentParis

My friends at Succulent Paris enjoying the treats I brought them from Alberta - photo - Kim Irving

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.

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Filed under Alberta at Noon, food tours, Heritage cooking skills, Recipes, Travel

The Gastronomic Meal of the French – a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Value and my CBC @AlbertaatNoon food column for May

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.

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Filed under Alberta at Noon, Health, Heritage cooking skills, Travel

A note from @jamieoliver regarding a #FoodRevolution for #ChildrensHealth

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.

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Filed under Health, Heritage cooking skills, Savour life

My @AlbertaatNoon food column podcast – #DIYCheeseMaking

Fresh cheeses are truly "alive" with flavour photo - Karen Anderson

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.

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D-I-Y #cheesemaking – two recipes for my @AlbertaatNoon column on CBC Radio One

A few of our wonderful Albertan Cheese Makers

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.

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Ode to @JoyRoadCatering – coming soon to @CookbookCooks in Calgary

Dappled sunlight at day's end signals time for a Joy Road Al Fresco dinner  photo - Karen Anderson

Dappled sunlight at day’s end signals time for a Joy Road Al Fresco dinner
photo – Karen Anderson

Canada’s Top 40 under 40 Foodies, Dana Ewart and Cameron Smith of Joy Road Catering are coming to Calgary March 15 and 16, 2014 for a weekend of sharing not only their cooking but their cooking skills.

Joy Road’s Al Fresco Winemaker’s dinner series – held on the clay banks escarpment high above Lake Skaha in Penticton, B.C. each summer – has been listed in the top ten dining events to experience in Canada. Tickets for each season sell out as quickly as they are announced. Patrons eagerly await the chance to return to the bucolic setting and taste of place this team serves up with deceiving ease. A multi-course dinner for 40, paired with local winemaker’s bounty, served outside on crisp white linens – complete with elegant flowers, candles and a touch of whimsy – are carried out with the panache that only comes with mastery of the culinary arts. The vibe is French or Italian countryside without the pricey plane ticket and jet lag but with all the subtle pride in a region’s produce and terroir.

The Joy Road Catering Calgary events at The Cookbook Co. Cooks are as follows:

March 15 – 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – whole hog butchery – $135/person.
March 15 – 6:30 to 9 p.m. – Joy Road Catering’s wine paired feast – $100/person.
March 16 – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – hands on charcuterie-making – $100/person.
All tickets are available through The Cookbook Co. Cooks by calling (403) 265-6066.

Want to know a little more about what makes Joy Road’s Ewart and Smith so special? Read on for a cozy peek into life lived on Joy Road…

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Full steam ahead – notes on cooking with a pressure cooker

This is a very basic pressure cooker with a red button that rises to let you know pressure has been reached and you can start timing your recipe photo - Karen Anderson

This is a very basic pressure cooker with a red button that rises to let you know pressure has been reached and you can start timing your recipe
photo – Karen Anderson

This week on Alberta at Noon I talked about Rajasthan and the warm and spicy food I found there. I shared a recipe for Lal Moss which is a simple red meat stew that you will see on every menu throughout this Northern Indian State. You can either leave it to simmer or braise in a slow oven or crock pot for a day or you can prepare it in a pressure cooker in about 15 to 20 minutes time. Watching the chefs in Rajasthan do so inspired me to get over my pressure cooker prejudices and demystify them once and for all.

This post will delve a little deeper into the question of whether there’s a place for a pressure cooker in your kitchen and whether or not you, like me, are ready to get to know them a bit better and maybe even buy one.

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Filed under Alberta at Noon, Heritage cooking skills, India