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Cooking the foods of our ancestors keeps heritage alive

And what better way than with a pot of homemade soup?

One of the great truisms about food is that by cooking the foods of our forebears, we maintain or re-establish a link with our heritage. My mother’s antecedents were off-colony Hutterites who arrived in Saskatchewan at the turn of the previous century from a colony in South Dakota. Earlier, my great-greats and their babes had […] Read more


vegetables, fresh, raw, tomatoes, garlic, red, pepper, cucumbers on the table on a plate and cutting Board, jars of pickles, jars of pickles and tomatoes on a table, food

Why not pickle some of those garden veggies?

Try this recipe to pickle colourful jars of crisp mixed vegetables

Dave is mourning the passing of the lake that almost surrounded our house for seven years. It covered 15 acres at its peak, in fact a large slough, but “lake” dignified what was a difficult situation. And now he mourns its loss. Our lake arrived suddenly and unannounced in April 2011 with the flood that […] Read more



Enjoy the sweet tastes of summer

Prairie Palate: Now is the perfect time to try some fresh local honey

About 30 years ago, my brother the horticulturalist planted juniper shrubs along the west face of our parents’ house in rural Saskatchewan. Under Mom’s benign care, they throve, but eventually succumbed to legginess and the scraggy look of a once-stylish haircut overdue for a trim. As you may already know, Dave and I moved in […] Read more


Why do we cook?

Prairie Palate: We should know how to prepare food and it's the best way to have control over what we eat

On a Friday over lunch after our weekly trip to the farmers’ market, I asked Mom what her favourite desserts were. Her 82nd birthday was rolling around soon. I’d already decided on the main course — cioppino, Mom’s favourite fish dish. It’s a tomato-broth-based, Italian-derived fisherman’s stew that’s been part of our family’s repertoire since […] Read more



Good neighbours are what it’s all about

Prairie Palate: Always there with friendship, moral support and help in an emergency

Our neighbours are one of the reasons Dave and I are able to live in the country. Admittedly, as writers, we have the wrong skill sets for rural life. Dave can edit a short story like nobody’s business, and he’s a fabulous writer, but he’s not so good at manual labour or at troubleshooting failed […] Read more


Gifts for aging parents

A home-cooked birthday meal for Dad and friends helped to solve the gift-giving challenge

I recently spent a considerable amount of time perusing old photographs as I edited a vanity press family history book written by my mother. When I showed Dave the wedding photo of my parents — taken 63 years ago — he confessed he would not have recognized the young and handsome couple in the image. […] Read more



Chicken soup made with really good homemade broth

Make a batch of stock and freeze to have on hand when you want to make soup

Our globe tracks a circular route around the sun, and life often mimics that pattern. As does culture. Skirt lengths go up and come down, narrow lapels and three buttons come in and out of style. And crafts too, come in and out of fashion. These days, it’s common to see young people perusing websites […] Read more


Try this bread recipe — baked in a pot

This method of baking in a heavy pot will produce an amazing crust

When Mom learned that Dave and I were going to spend two weeks writing at Wallace Stegner House in Eastend, she said, “Make sure you say hi to Shon and Steve. They’re good folks.” So, soon after our arrival, I parsed the village’s streets, looking for evidence of potters. When I found a front yard […] Read more



We can’t wait for rhubarb!

First We Eat: Here’s a pie recipe to use up the last of the frozen or the first of this season’s rhubarb

Dave and I celebrated a significant anniversary recently. We’d met in Banff, at a writing retreat. During that two-week span, he’d flirted shamelessly, held my chair, chatted me up, sat with me at meals, taken me swimming and to dinner, everything but serenaded me. For that, we waited 10 years, and then it was an […] Read more


Is there even such a thing as too many cookbooks?

First We Eat: Curried Salmon with Spinach and Chickpeas

Dave and I are writers. Every room in our house is filled with books and literary journals, framing windows and filling every shelf. Upstairs in my studio, half the room is devoted to my culinary library. The kitchen, too, has a bookshelf, thanks to my mother. Mom is in her early 80s. Back in the […] Read more