Latest articles


When it’s too cold to go outside make soup instead

First We Eat: Some say this comfort food has the power to do everything from curing the sniffles to mending a broken heart

When my sweetie caught a cold recently, he asked me to stop in at our favourite Chinese restaurant and bring home some hot and sour soup. “Are you kidding me?” I said. “No way. I’ll make you some.” Next time you slurp some of this Szechuan soup at your fave joint, look at it closely. […] Read more


Preserving pickles and relishes

First We Eat: Making your own means personalized flavours from ingredients you can trust

Whenever one of my sons visits, he invariably rummages through the fridge, hunting for a jar of beet pickles or dills. When he finds it, he devours half of its contents. It’s been that way for years; I am the Condiment Queen. My pantry — and my sons — are full of preserves. They are […] Read more



Giving up the garden

First We Eat: After a lifetime of successful gardening Mom is now giving it up as it becomes difficult to manage

This spring, I stood in Mom’s backyard with a wheelbarrow and a shovel, digging out all the soil in her raised beds. “Take it all,” she said when I slowed down. “I’m done with it.” “Not even a potful of lettuces?” I asked, thinking of the preceding summer, when she’d grown more lettuces than she […] Read more


Farmers’ markets are more than food

First We Eat: When I take my aging mom it’s a slow, social event as she carefully examines everything and talks to everyone

We’ve finished our coffee, and I am helping my mom into my car for our weekly trip to one of the local farmers’ markets. She has her green corduroy tote bag over one arm, her purse holding its little zip-up change purse on the other, her favourite feathered hat on her head, her cane in […] Read more



Making sourdough bread

First We Eat: If you have trouble digesting bread try sourdough

Gluten and wheat intolerance has been in my family for decades. My sister Lee gave up eating all wheat-based foods in her early 20s after a childhood and teenage years filled with bellyaches and gastrointestinal distress. Fifteen years ago, I started to experience similar negative reactions to bread. But according to food writer and historian […] Read more


Learning to love eggplant

First We Eat: At worst it can be boring and woody — at best it has a melting texture with a subtle taste making it perfect for a variety of dishes

Like many Canadian children, my early experience of eggplant was anything but remarkable. My mom, a staunch Prairie cook, first encountered eggplant on her travels to Europe as a young mother with an Air Force husband. On her return to Canada, she did her best: she grew or bought globe eggplant, sliced it, dredged the […] Read more



Let us eat cake

First We Eat: Try this cake recipe at your next celebration — sure to be a crowd-pleaser

Cake is an important part of my family’s birthday rituals. When I was a kid, Mom made birthday cakes that contained coins wrapped in wax paper — for her five kids, but also for my dad, but always chocolate for him, and no coins. I began to bake as a youngster, and in later years, as a chef, restaurateur and […] Read more


Try this caesar salad dressing recipe

First We Eat: Not just for salad it’s also great spooned over a variety of foods like grilled or roasted veggies

We arrived for a preliminary visit at the farm in June 2010, a month ahead of our move-in date. Over-anxious? Eager? Yes, both, but mostly we came early to help my aging parents move out — into a bungalow in a nearby town — and to paint the old farmhouse we were moving into. I […] Read more



What to use for salad greens while waiting for local produce

First We Eat: In winter, turn to sturdier greens for warm salads and veggie dishes

In winter, when arugula and other salad greens travel thousands of miles, have been contaminated with E. coli or are too costly, I turn to sturdier greens for warm salads and robust vegetable dishes. Mustard greens, or flowering gai lan, a Chinese form of broccoli, are assertive and blend well with strong tastes. When I […] Read more


Modern-day sausage making

First We Eat: This was once a good way for butchers to use up trimmings but now a good way for you to control ingredients

Sausages used to be the great unmentionable, made from things no one wanted to know about, never mind eat. But although they began as the thrifty butcher’s way of using up trimmings, sausages have gone uptown. Making your own sausages, like anything homemade, means the cook controls everything, from the selection of meats, salt and […] Read more