Typical Breakfast at my Auntie’s

So often breakfast includes a collection of cold cuts (including cow's tongue and reindeer), perhaps a soft boiled egg, plenty of cheese and bread, a bit of tomato and of course, coffee. The cheese is almost always sliced and there is this bread cheese that is pan fried but can be consumed warm or cool. It reminds me a bit of flat curds. When heated it becomes quite stretchy. And the bread isn't your typical load of white bread. It has much more character.


Foodie Mo: Food is Fuel June 22 2016

Every day I consume food. And yet how much do I think about it? I am conscious that it is feeding the millions of cells that I have in my bode. And I know it is my fuel. It has an impact on me both inside and outside. And yet I don't always pay attention. Perhaps by attempting to write about it, I'll understand my relationship with food better.

Foodie mos:

– tequila as a fat burner

– eating unwashed fruit build immunity

– there are incredible twenty year olds who care about their produce (helps that they grew up in a farming environment).

– people will buy 8 month apples over fresh harvest (I wonder if they eat expired items from their fridge)

HOTEL: Right now, I'm at Moxies in Calgary – it is attached to the Sandman where I am staying for two nights. They were nice enough to upgrade me to a suite. That is always nice and I'm thrilled I didn't get the upgrade with the staircase after my accident last year. But I digress. My other choice, within the hotel, was Denny's. I'm not a fan of Moxies but this one seems to have better food, nicer staff and enough value items to make it worth considering. And I really don't' want to venture out at 10 PM. And well Denny's? I can only imagine that the eggs they are serving aren't going to meet my standards.

The food truck movement was featured on their late night menu – so I ordered a couple of chicken tacos ($4.00 each) and they came up quickly – lots of crunchy cabbages and lettuces with some decent tasting chicken in a soft shell taco, along with foil wrap and a recyclable tray and a plastic squeeze bottle of hot sauce (hot sauce just makes everything damn better). Not truck food really unless they happened to have their own truck out there. But it paints an image in my mind. The dish was pretty healthy as along as you aren't a vegan.

There was a Kale Quinoa salad that sounded decent but then my memory flashed back to the Maple Leaf lounge in Vancouver were I was earlier in the day. A kale three bean salad – one of their standards (and after a while when you've stopped in four or five different lounges, you get visual fatigue) – so I just couldn't stomach more kale.

The dude down the bar from me (can I call some 50 year old guy a dude) is eating his fuel – deep fried calamari and chicken wings. He's got the broiler to prove it. Oh, bad me, I am judging. After all I'm sipping a glass of NZ Kim Crawford that is just on the edge of being mineral rich but just. And gjven that it is 1/2 price Wednesday and I'm here for two nights, the best value was ordering the bottle. So who am I to judge. But judge I will. Oh dear now he's got his main??? Those were his appetizers.

My waitress described the Kim Crawford as the bomb. She did add that a lot of people do order the Okanagan wines. 11 screens. Ugh. I really do dislike all the screens that are just so common in restaurants now – distracting, a waste of energy and right now five of those screens are the same What is the purpose? I do know that my waitress is so busy cleaning and had not noticed that my glass is empty. So I guess I will put my second glass on my own.

My waitress also tells me that she just came back from Mexico and that she used to drink tequila and water and she believed that was it was a fat burner. Right now she prefers beer, and rum – white rum and sometimes red wine. OMG I can remember serving in the Durham Arms in Oshawa, Ontario and I knew so little about wines. Ideally the staff here is better trained and it is a different world now. Mexico was the waitress' first trip outside of Canada. Los Cabos. it's a start.

GROCERY STORE VISIT: I had a great conversation with Shannon at the RCSS in the NW of Calgary today. She is studying communications, 2nd year, at the University of Calgary. She approached me after watching me chat about apples to another young woman. The first shopper has selected several apples off the end cap after holding each one, twirling it and dropping it into her plastic bag. Then she proceeded to take them out and replace them with Red Delicous.

I just couldn't take it. I had to ask. And I tried to do it gently and with curious its but anytime you ask why, you are sure to raise eyebrows. And so I asked her.

“Do you mind if I ask you a question? Why did you switch out to Red Delicious?”

“I guess I just saw them there and I really like Red Delicious and so I thought I would do that.”

“And did you consider that they are, like, 8 months old?”

I could see her thinking about it and then dismissing it. She laughed in a questioning way and then I moved on on let her finish her purchase of 8 month old apples. And it was shortly after that, that Shannon, came up to me and asked if I was also wondering why there weren't any BC apples available to purchase.

Shanon had a friendly warm face with flawless skin and long blonde hair, very fresh looking (yes I am envious of skin as I don't think I appreciated what I had when I was her age), living on a student budget, yet her cart had a lot of produce in in. And that is when I discovered that her parents were apple growers in Oyama, BC. At least I think she said Oyama – I need to look that up.

Our conversation as all over the map – organics, GMOs, apple growers, peppers, Safeway versus RCSS, parents, farming, corporations versus small time farmers, distance food travels – the list was long. But I loved being engaged with someone who seemed to care and was willing to learn and explore.

APPLE SELLER: Today I had a kiwi with me whose been working in the fresh industry for a decade. 25 times around the world. Loves Vancouver. I learned about smartfresh, sunburn on apples, puncture wounds and recent damage.

Food is our fuel.



Tackling Food Prep

I'm sitting on my folding ladder and wondering where to start when I remember that I pulled out the ladder to grab my penguin 1960s ice bucket. I need to empty my measly existing ice-cubes into that bucket, refill the cube trays and get them into the deep freeze if I want any cubes for tomorrow night. I know, I know, I can simply go out and pick up a bag of ice but right now that smacks of effort. And really it should just take 10 minutes max. Timer on! Okay that took 12 minutes and now I'm out of filtered water.

Next tasks: washing and rinsing the bounty, peel potatoes to get ready for boil, put milk into stainless steel pot and bring to an almost boil, and get the next list of times started. Timer is on for 30 minutes. Let's see what I can get done. And remember to turn on the dishwasher before 9:30 PM.

First off, grabbed an apron, NYC NYC one, pulled out the vases for the herbs,scrubbed down the stainless steel sink (oh how I would love to have two sinks) and refreshed by beer.

Timer just went off and I am satisfied with my washing – all the herbs rinsed, cabbages cut in half and rinsed, green onions, celery, zuks, potatoes, English and Persian cukes, eggplants, grass, peppers, mangos, citrus, Royal gala apples, anise, small and medium tomato are all dripping now. 2% milk is at 181 degrees F so I just turned it off (to allow it to cool to 110 degrees). Oh but the sour grapes are in the fridge. Those will have to wait.

Abundance of fresh produce

Oh dear, I'm at it again. I invited a few people over to celebrate the man's birthday tomorrow on Sunday. And it now looks like we will be eating the Mediterranean diet all week. This time I actually pulled out recipes ahead of time, printed them off and made a shopping list. And I still over-shopped.

Perhaps next time I'll stick to those items instead of re-creating new dishes in each shop that I stopped in. And that is part of the problem – I'm always looking at fruits and veggies. Since I work in the trade I must feel it is market research as I wander through so many stores, picking and choosing, smelling, pricing and judging. Have you ever noticed that the longer you are in a store, the more likely you are to buy.

But right now I have got work to do. It is getting on, 10 minutes past 8 pm on a Saturday night in Kits. I've washed up, pulled the hair back (no one wants any of my blonde turing grey hairs in their dishes), poured a Marten's Pilsener (in honour of when I used to work in Anterwerpen) – over ice I might add as it wasn't cold and I need to dilute it a touch anyway as I need to keep my wits about me.


Be More With Less

It is Jan 1 or maybe 2, 2015. Saturday night and I'm on my own as GB is off to play hockey with the guys. Crazy frosty outside (for Vancouver, BC) and I'm still keeping off my ankle (injured while surfing in San Del Sur, Nicaragua, in mid-November). So hanging around the house a lot.

Drinking water (versus wine) which I seem to be lacking these days. I like to leave my water sit out to room temperature to release the chlorine. Now I'm not sure if that actually helps but I've been doing it more and more. But why? So after a bit of research, I've discovered that I need to do a lot more but here's the simple stuff.

Chlorine is a disinfectant added to drinking water to reduce or eliminate microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses, which can be present in water supplies. Health Canada, on it website, claims that it has greatly reduced the risk of waterborne diseases. Now what I didn't know was that one of the by products are trihalomethanes Tri(T)Halo(H)M(M)Methans or THMs, which include chloroform.

Health Canada's site goes on to state that a “recent study (no idea of what or how recent this study might be as it is not noted or footnoted) showed an increased risk of bladder and possibly colon cancer in people who drank chlorinated water for 35 year or more”. Hmm, I live in Canada, am older than 35 years and thus I would qualify is what I'm thinking right now.

And I guess this is why the tap water my niece used recently in the fish tank caused the fish to tank (i.e die). I do believe they used Sodium thiosulfate which is used to neutralize the water but perhaps the chlorine levels had been increased due to the season.

How to minimize the risk? The site suggests using activated carbon filters. But are there other alternatives?

Reverse Osmosis might be one thing to explore – and this is something that appeals to me as I would like to get rid of fluoride in my water. And there is UV light. But this wasn't what I was going to write up right now. I'm off track. But let me get a glass of water.

Back to BeMoreWithLess.com – a site I was browsing that has listed 25 ways to simplify my life in 10 minutes or less. #2 Write three thank you notes. So I'm going to do just that. I have many people to give thanks to so let's see how many I can get done in 10 minutes.

Okay I did it but it took 15 minutes by the time I found the cards, wrote the cards and I still haven't addressed and stamped them yet. I did have many things to give thanks for – handmade baked goodies, dinner invites, Christmas gifts, generous gestures of graciousness and so much more. I still have several to write but at least I'm better prepared. I could send email thanks but when I think of that time and effort that people put into doing something special I realize that I should not be so lazy. Take the 5 to 10 minutes to be grateful.

And I've decided to open a bottle of Gerolsteiner Carbonated Naturel Mineral Water. Nice glass bottle. It has some bubbles and makes me feel like I'm treating my body to something good (the label does state it has calcium and magnesium).


Farm to Fork was a delight

Ages ago it seems that I went to Farm to Fork for a delightful dinner. It started with a secret code and ended up in the chef’s apartment. Meantime I’ve searched around the internet and did find that Nicolas Hipperson is still at it – but I can’t find a website or any other details. I suggest you head over to LBH where they have the latest details about what he’s up to from Nicolas’s newest project, Gastown’s current POP – UP, Farm 2 Fork located at 315 Abbot St.

The rest of the photos that I took can be visited here:

A wonderful piece of edible artwork arranged to tease your senses.