GFM Network News


Hands-on food

First We Eat: As we all spend more time at home why not try making your own pasta?

Before the pandemic, I spent an afternoon at my neighbour Sharon’s house, teaching her how to make pasta. Sharon and I drank wine and told stories as we cooked, although she stopped talking during her first effort at feeding a strap of dough into the pasta maker. When she caught the first handful of noodles […] Read more

We all need some comfort food

First We Eat: As we deal with a pandemic it’s the perfect time to cook up some of those favourite recipes

Dave and I live rurally. Just us, our dog, housecat, and the barn cats. But there are the birds that visit our feeders. And the deer that graze at dawn and dusk just south of our house. And the coyotes lurking. And the porcupines that stop by some nights, usually about midnight. But we keep […] Read more


Preserving lemons and what to do with them

First We Eat: Fresh lemon juice will enhance flavours but preserved lemons become a condiment

I’m standing in my auntie’s orchard on a mild afternoon, the temperature about 18 C. In Canada, it’s deep winter, but here in California, the citrus trees have bloomed, and the fruit is ripe. It’s a tough gig, being a grower on the Canadian Prairies. We make jokes about the harsh weather — “But it’s […] Read more

It’s true! Breakfast really is an important start to the day

First We Eat: Research shows that many people skip breakfast but you’ll function better with a healthy start to your morning

Breakfast can be hard. I don’t have much appetite in the morning. As a chef and restaurateur, I spent years making breakfast out of too many cups of coffee, then wondered at my short temper and plummeting blood sugar levels. So now I sit down to eat breakfast every day. Many studies show that 25 […] Read more


Roasted vegetables — good for you and good for your dog

First We Eat: Home-cooked pet food can be a nutritious option to processed commercial food

Our golden retriever, Jake, is lying at my feet, waiting for me while I write. He won’t let the clock slip past 8 a.m. in mid-winter without getting up and nudging me. Sure enough, on the stroke of eight he’s beside me, his beautiful head in my lap, insisting we get moving. Time to get […] Read more

Trying to learn patience? Make marmalade

First We Eat: The entire process will require varying degrees of this attribute but the final product is well worth it

My eldest son and I were out for lunch with my elderly mother yesterday, all of us slurping pho at my son’s favourite noodle joint. Mom is recently widowed. “Your father’s mind was like a laser,” she said, “and mine is set on real-time motion.” I glanced at my son with a sudden flash of […] Read more


A freezer is a must-have item on the Prairies

First We Eat: Keeping it well organized will mean there’s always something on hand for a meal idea

There’s no way to avoid having a freezer if you live on the Canadian Prairies, especially if you live rurally. Cooks who live in town have freezers too, but it’s not as urgent as it is for rural residents. Winter in particular makes a freezer an ironic necessity. (I have in some winters used my […] Read more

Feeding our elders

First We Eat: It’s important that seniors eat well and have supports in place to help with meals and groceries when needed

Last month an elderly friend called me, wondering if I could help him and his wife cope with food for a couple of weeks. They were living in assisted living after he’d had a stint in the hospital, but both were anxious to get back into their own home, a move scheduled for several weeks […] Read more


Apple pie for a snowy day

First We Eat: When it’s snowing and blowing outside it’s the perfect time to stay inside and bake

Another grey winter day, with the wind howling from the east and snow drifting across the yard and our long driveway, means we are snowbound. A snow day! Yay! What better thing to do but bake? An apple pie for instance. Apples are the fallback fruit of winter, and a pie is what all apples […] Read more

Carrot and Coconut Cream Soup with Anise and Ginger (see recipe at bottom).

Shared birthday will always evoke memories

First We Eat: When my parents were stationed in France I was born on Dad’s birthday

I was born on my dad’s 22nd birthday while he and my mom lived in northeastern France. My dad was in the Royal Canadian Air Force, and at the time he was stationed at the fighter jet station called 2 Wing, near St. Avold. Mom and Dad waited for many months for Dad’s very junior […] Read more