GFM Network News


M.F.K. Fisher and me

First We Eat: This food-writing author was an early influencer

I’ve been thinking rather a lot about M.F.K Fisher. That is unsurprising — she’s been one of my food-writing, writing candles in the night for decades, ever since I read her small and elegant book, A Cordiall Water. I went on to acquire everything Fisher wrote, including her wartime response to food rationing, How to […] Read more

Embellishing everyday foods

First We Eat: Add a puff pastry topping to a common stew and it suddenly elevates the meal

Mom doesn’t like to cook. I hardly blame her — she’s 84, after all, and spent decades feeding five kids and my dad. When Mom had double knee replacement surgery seven years ago, Dad stepped into the kitchen. Mom was relieved, and after her knees healed, she didn’t return to cooking, but ate whatever Dad […] Read more


Who doesn’t love spuds?

First We Eat: No matter how potatoes are served, most would agree, they are a favourite veggie

As a dedicated spudnut, I save potatoes for seed. This year I planted Pink Fir Apples, Amarosas, Kennebecs, German Butterballs, Linzer Delikatess, Yukon Golds, Norlands and Purple Vikings. When I dig the first crop, it’s a sign that we’ll be eating spud dishes of all sorts: boxty, champ, shepherd’s pie, colcannon, kugel, latkes, Parmentier, rosti, […] Read more

Changing weather means changing diet

First We Eat: As the weather warms up it’s time to get out the ice-cream maker

When my dog Jake brought the season’s first tick into the house, I knew for certain that the weather had changed, and spring had arrived. But there’s an upside. That break in the weather means it’s time to eat ice cream. Dave eats ice cream year round, or claims he does. But what I know […] Read more


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