Category Archives: Writing

#ArtInstallation No 19 -@jennifer_ck proves food is a legit form of art with Food Artisans of the Okanagan

Food Artisans of the Okanagan by Jennifer Cockrall-King

Jennifer Cockrall-King is an accomplished food writer and mentor to many of Western Canada’s developing writers, bloggers and literary enthusiasts. She divides her life between homes in Edmonton, Alberta (where she’s been the director of Litfest for 5 years) and Naramata in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia (where she started the Okanagan Food and Wine Writers Workshop). Because of her frequent coming and going she has the perfect perspective to write about the Okanagan Valley because she is at once a local but also a visitor who notices the nuances of change and development.

I’ve had a sneak peak at her new book Food Artisans of the Okanagan – Your guide to the best local crafted fare and am longing to go west and thoroughly explore (read eat!) the Okanagan Valley anew. Cockrall-King has also included the Similkameen Valley which will be terra incognita for most. I cycled that valley in early May a few years ago and fell in love with its laid back vintners, rolling hills and hidden farms and restaurants.

My friend and colleague in Edmonton, Liane Faulder, has written more extensively about the book. You can read her recent interview with Cockrall-King and learn about the details of the Edmonton launch on April 13 here. The photo above has all the information you’ll need for the Calgary launch on April 21.

Cockrall-King’s in-depth research and innate good taste make her a very well-chosen curator for this national treasury of farms and food artisans. This book proves that people that dedicate their lives to creating beauty and appreciation for food are indeed artists. I’m confident it will help many people savour it all.

 

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Filed under Art Installation, Farms, Farming and Farmers, food tours, Travel, Writing

@postmedianet @CalgaryHerald @EdmontonJournal cut access to #local editorial food content with layoffs of @gwendolynmr #GwendolynRichards and @eatmywords #LianeFaulder

I’ve always looked forward to opening The Calgary Herald on Wednesday morning. I knew there would be food content that was editorial and journalistic. Whether it was her Cooking the Books review column or the scoop on a new development in Calgary’s burgeoning food scene, Gwendolyn Richards wrote with savvy and gave a voice to stories that would make a difference in our community.

I met The Edmonton Journal’s (until yesterday) food editor, Liane Faulder a few years ago when she was teaching a food writing course at The Okanagan Food and Wine Writer’s Workshop. I watched her in the field as she interviewed a pioneer in the seed saving movement, synthesized the data and crafted a story which she then filed for print the next day. If you scan the headlines of that paper’s food blog it’s easy to see her dedication to covering the stories of Edmonton’s food scene and to imagine the impact of those stories.

Both these journalists had the ability to judge the impact of stories that would be important for their community. They made a difference for fledgling restaurant businesses, chefs, farmers, food artisans, cookbook authors and cross-cultural food community events.

I wonder how news about local food projects will be shared now? We’ve lost two trusted critical thinkers. You can be doing great work as a food business but unless there’s an objective editorial voice to share that with your community it can make or break your project’s success.

Today, when I read the paper I found a long-standing recipe advert-orial column sponsored by the local gas utility and a collection of food photos from Twitter and Instagram. The photos and their one sentence tag lines don’t seem to contribute meaningful impact for the broader community given their propensity to glittering generalities and myopic focus.

I know this content helps newspapers pay their bills but, sometimes it seems newspapers are turning into a print version of Pinterest. The publishers “pin” stories from news feeds and patch together a scrapbook for publication each day. I’m not sure this is a great strategy as consumers can find that content themselves – very easily and in much more beautiful formats.

If content is king, then it is no wonder our local papers are turning into paupers.

Local papers have always been about local content. If that is missing, the local paper will be less and less compelling as a part of local culture (culture as in DAILY LIFE and HABITS). The last bastions of local content in local papers seem to be backgrounder columnists for politics, business, finance and human interest breaking stories. But, let’s face it, breaking news is old news if you wait to receive it in paper format each morning and so is the re-hashing of it.

I value original story journalism and observe with solemnity the bleeding edge of print media and its declining subscriptions. But, instead of holding onto their strength – the provision of depth and variety in local original content for local interest – newspapers that let go of local content experts take the leading edge that they had and add to that bleeding edge that’s slowly (or not so slowly) killing them.

We just lost two golden keys that opened the gateways to understanding our food scene as a piece of our local culture. To use an analogy from the food world, restaurants that take favourite features off the menu frequently fail in entirety shortly thereafter. I’ll see what the Calgary Herald’s Friday Swerve Calgary and Saturday food section continue to bring, but in all honesty, reading today’s paper felt like “the day the music died” for me. I’ll be looking elsewhere in my efforts to savour it all.

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My December @AlbertaatNoon column – @ASpicyTouch #cookbook release w #NoorbanuNimji

A_Spicy_Touch_Cookbook_Cover

I am a food columnist for Alberta at Noon and at first glance it might seem terrifically self-promoting to talk about my own book for my monthly column but this story isn’t really about me at all. It’s about my mentor, Noorbanu Nimji. She is a great Alberta immigrant, cookbook author and cross-cultural success story.

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Filed under Alberta at Noon, Cooks I know, Heritage cooking skills, Writing

How to Enjoy Family Food Time This Christmas

 

Skip perfection and opt for proper planning and simplicity to focus on what really matters — being with family and friends.

Here’s a fun article I wrote for Calgary’s Avenue Magazine. You might be feeling a little panicked with Christmas right around the corner but take a deep breath and do what I always do – start making lists!

Here’s the article:

Source: How to Enjoy Family Food Time This Christmas

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Okanagan Food and Wine Writers Workshop a Success

I’ll be writing more about the Okanagan @foodwinewriters in the days to come but until I do, here’s a quick snapshot of the impact writers have on tourism and economic development.

Tourism Kelowna News Centre

TweetReach Report

The Okanagan Food and Wine Writers Workshop was in Kelowna this weekend, eating, drinking, workshopping, and tweeting their way through Kelowna.

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Springtime in #Paris – Succulent Paris Food Tours

Aurelie Mahoudeau and Marion Willard of Succulent Paris photo - Karen Anderson

Aurelie Mahoudeau and Marion Willard of Succulent Paris
photo – Karen Anderson

I’m continuing my Springtime in Paris theme by sharing some of the stories I’ve written about the world’s most visited city.

One of the best days I’ve ever spent was a day in Paris when my sister Sue and I shopped and cooked with two Parisians – in their neighbourhood market and in their kitchen. It was glorious for me. I had to keep pinching myself that entire day to make sure it was not a dream and I had to write about it.

The article I wrote was called Succulent Paris and it was published by Bonjour Paris and editor/founder Karen Fawcett. Succulent Paris is also the name of the food touring company that delivered this fantastic life experience. We’ve stayed friends and I hope you’ll check out their wonderful tours the next time you visit Paris.

Let the story that follows wet your appetite to do so…

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Springtime in #Paris – Rungis Market – the belly of Paris

Market fresh lemons photo - Karen Anderson

Market fresh lemons
photo – Karen Anderson

This post continues my current theme of visiting Paris via the articles I’ve written about it. This one is a favourites for a few reasons.

It is the first article I ever published – it came out in the travel issue of City Palate magazine in the spring of 2007. It is called, Mr. Hockey goes into the belly of Paris and it recounts a time when I convinced a friend to get up at 4:30 in the morning to visit the world’s largest food market in Paris with me. Some of the facts may have changed since the article was published but I still love this piece because it describes a side of Paris that few people ever get to see.

I love this piece most of all because it’s humorous. I am not a fiction writer. If you find it funny, it’s because it really was quite the entertaining day in my life.

I hope it give you a chuckle…

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Filed under Food markets of the world, Restaurants, Travel, Writing