Polenta Lasagna – photo credit – Karen Anderson
This month on CBC Radio One’s Alberta at Noon I’ll be talking about the importance of cooking skills for children. I believe cooking is a basic life skill that determines how healthy an individual and in turn a family will be.
A lack of ability to cook from scratch leads to a life dependent on processed foods. Processed foods are more likely to contain excess salt, sugar and food additives and a diet filled with processed foods is more likely to cause obesity.
Harvard University says the health consequences of obesity include heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, asthma, some cancers, susceptibility to depression due to discrimination and the emotional impact of that. Thirty per cent of youth are now obese.
We are three generations since the norm was a stay at home homemaker and cook for each family. Many parents (let alone their children) lack cooking skills beyond reheating, microwaving and combining packaged foods. Women in the 1960s were told cooking was a chore and they needed to be emancipated from the kitchen. Women did go out to work but instead of “freedom” they now work outside the home and still do the majority of household work as well. Equal partnerships are slow to evolve. Reframing cooking as a family activity and a creative way to nurture, care and ensure health for ourselves and our children could go a long way to correcting our society’s obesity epidemic.
I developed the Polenta lasagna recipe in this post to act as a cooking skills bridge from reliance on highly processed packaged food to cooking with healthier choices. The result is a fun assembly of quality ingredients with delicious results. Older children can make it on their own. Parents and younger children can make this together. Continue reading
The most humble of kitchens in China will have a work – photo credit – Karen Anderson
Buy this book, it’s an absolute gem
Wok and roll – woks in a restaurant in Lijiang, China – photo credit – Karen Anderson
You can find my CBC Radio One Alberta at Noon February food column podcast on Chinese New Year’s celebrations in Alberta here. This post will share three of my favourite Chinese recipes and a primer on how to cook with my favourite kitchen tool – my wok. Continue reading
I had the good fortune to travel throughout China in 2007 and enjoy authentic Hot Pot in Lijiang in Hunan Province. There are a couple of fun places I like to go for Chinese Hot Pot in Calgary’s Chinatown listed here. To be honest, though, my favourite way to enjoy the Hot Pot dining experience is at home with friends. This post will give you tips and recipes so you can do the same. Continue reading
The ever-so-versatile wok – street food in China – photo credit – Karen Anderson
This week I’m getting ready for Chinese New Year (#CNY2016) which happens on February 8, 2016. I’ve talked about the #CNY2016 festivities happening around Alberta and this post is for people who are interested in doing some Chinese cooking. You’ll find a list of cookbooks to get you up and running, my three most important Chinese kitchen tools and a long list of my favourite Chinese and Asian ingredients.
The Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre – photo credit – Karen Anderson
Calgary is home to Canada’s fourth largest Chinatown after Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. It celebrated its 100th year in 2010. The Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre ( 197 First Street, SW, 403-262-5071) is the beating heart of the neighbourhood. It cost 10 million dollars to construct in 1992 and is credited with keeping the historic area alive when it was threatened by Bow Trail extension through downtown in the 80’s.
This post will share what you can find if you explore the cultural centre as well as more about the history and current state of affairs of this not well known part of Calgary. There’s also a list of six restaurants that are definitely worth a visit. Continue reading
2016 – Year of the Monkey as depicted by Canada Post
The Lunar New Year doesn’t happen until February 8 but the festivities that it brings for Alberta’s Asian communities (Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Japanese in particular) have already begun in both Calgary and Edmonton. Traditionally, the events were all held on two weekends but this year, according to a Calgary Herald article by Taylor Lambert, they’re being spread out over four weekends to allow more people to participate and to enjoy the Chinese culture for the 150 years plus part of Alberta’s history that it is.
I’ll be writing more about the food traditions that go with Chinese New Year for my Alberta at Noon column this week but until then, here’s a listing of upcoming events. This is The Year of the Monkey and monkeys are curious and playful so be like a monkey and go on out and join in the fun.
Chinese New Year Events in Edmonton can be found here.
Chinese New Year Events in Calgary can be found here and here.
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.