For Maritimers, May means the beautiful and widely-anticipated unfurling of the ostrich fern, otherwise known as the fiddlehead, whose name accurately reflects the shape of that musical instrument.
Especially renowned in New Brunswick, along the banks of the Saint John river, but actually found throughout the Maritimes and New England, these bright green gems like to hide themselves in wet and wild places, making them a forager’s delightful surprise discovery. Once discovered, like their springtime companion, the mayflower, foragers keep tight-lipped about their whereabouts. “Where’s your patch?” is a question you should never ask if you are a dinner guest at a forager’s house and happen to find fiddleheads nestled on your plate.Read More
If you’re a seasonal eater here on the perpetually soggy East Coast, spring means three things: fiddleheads, asparagus, and rhubarb.
I’m going to spend the next couple of weeks singing the praises of each member of this marvellous trio in turn, mainly in the form of favourite recipes. I’ll start with the ‘barb since it’s the only one that’s visible in my garden right now.Read More
Our house is not blessed with an abundance of shelf space, and so we must choose our books wisely. I’m pretty assiduous with the yearly weeding out of already-read or unloved volumes, but there is one group of books I would be hard-pressed to part with: my collection of 1970s cookbooks.
Grease-stained and dog-eared, to me they are the perfect escapist literature: a blend of the practical, the comforting, the beautifully illustrated, and the sometimes bizarre. Sure, the dishes they describe can be fussy and time-consuming. I know there are many recipes in there that I will never, ever make. I still love reading them, and when I lack a good novel to lose myself in, I will often pull out a favourite cookbook so I can be transported back to my favourite decade of them all.Read More
There’s an uncomfortable truth that I’ve encountered often in my thinking and acting (via book authorship and public speaking) on the subject of healthy food: this kind of food is usually the domain of the privileged, and not just because of the higher cost associated with it.Read More
I’m going to sound about a thousand years old—and not a little intolerant—when I admit my fondness for two venerable alimentary maxims: “Eat what’s set before you” and “Clean your plate.” More specifically, I’m attracted to the straightforward, can-do spirit animating this approach to feeding ourselves, a spirit that is totally lacking at today’s dinner table.Read More
March Break starts on the 13th, and parents who forgot to register for day camp are now racking their brains for ways to keep the kids happily occupied all week. Here on the East Coast, we had a dress rehearsal for the break in mid-February when a winter’s worth of snow got dumped on us over several days, cancelling school and releasing an avalanche of “What are we doing today?” heard across the region. We should therefore be ready for the real break… but are we?Read More
World Water Day, March 22, is an excellent time to reflect on how much our survival as a species is connected to the fate of this precious resource.
Water is threatened on all sides by pollution, privatization, and industrial and domestic overuse, yet we often treat it as though it were a limitless commodity, a kind of earth-abuse that will come back to haunt us and our descendants for years to come.
Wanting to shrink our ungainly eco-footprint with respect to water, my family has been able to reduce its water intake to about one-quarter of the Canadian national average. Between October of 2015 and October 2016, our most recent annual water billing period, we have averaged around 250 litres per day–in our household of three people, or just over 80 litres per person per day (by comparison, a March 18, 2009 National Post story states the average single Canadian and American uses about 340 litres per day).Read More
Last week, I attended a roundtable discussion on the topic of food waste, one of the great shames of modern life. Every year, 28% of the food produced worldwide is wasted; the land mass needed to grow that amount of food would cover China and Mongolia. Worse still, much of the food we throw away will end up in a landfill rather than as beneficial compost (except in fortunate municipalities where composting is mandated). A whopping 47% of wasted food occurs after purchase, which means we consumers are responsible for the bulk of tossed edible items, some of which are still perfectly safe to eat.
This needs to change.Read More
…A whole lot of “news” is inaccurate, urgently negative, and/or horrific, much like the ingredients in processed food, and many of us feel torn between our desire to remain well-informed about current events and our need to maintain our emotional equilibrium. This is not a selfish impulse—if we are flattened by despair, how can we act to better our world? There’s a reason airline passengers with dependents are instructed to put on their own oxygen masks before helping others with theirs, in the event of emergency.Read More
Think of your last trip to the grocery store.
Likely you managed to find your way through the labyrinth of ever-migrating foodstuffs, housewares, and promotional sales, only to find yourself stuck in a lengthy line at the checkout with a few vocally disgruntled kids and frazzled parents.
What if you could go for weeks between visits to the grocery store?Read More