Latest articles


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



Cooking on a winter-weather shoestring

First We Eat: Golden Vegetable Latkes

The view out my window is relentlessly white. Deep snow has collected across the yard, and the temperature is hovering around -30 C, as it has for the past week. The forecast for the coming week is no better. The roads are rotten. Winter weather means that this week’s cooking must be from the pantry, […] Read more


Saying farewell with apple crepes

First We Eat: What better way to pay tribute after hearing my cooking mentor had passed away

I learned recently that my culinary mentor, Madeleine Kamman, died in July 2018. At the time, the event went unnoticed. But when I got word, the news flattened me. Madeleine was the tigress who taught me to trust my palate, who set my benchmarks. She valued methods, flavour principles, terroir — that ineffable link between […] Read more



Reclaiming our peasant heritage

First We Eat: Don’t be intimidated by Boeuf Bourguignon — just a fancy name for beef stew

Yesterday I walked home from morning coffee at my neighbour Sharon’s house, my passage closely observed by a leggy Black Angus calf. She bounced up to the barbed wire fence, her head high as she gave my dog and me the once-over. Jake stopped in his tracks, uncertain what this until-now-predictable creature was up to. […] Read more


Forget about the ‘Spaghetti Western’ and try this ‘Spaghetti Eastern’ dish

First We Eat: You’ll want to give this ramen noodles in a tasty broth recipe a try

It’s a wintry morning in Calgary, where I am visiting my son and his partner. We are bundled up, standing in line. Even though the chinook is blowing in, the morning is raw, and I am grateful I didn’t make any assumptions and underdress. It’s still deep-freeze Prairie winter. The restaurant’s door opens at 11 […] Read more