GFM Network News


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

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


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

Beef demand soars as consumers ‘aggressively’ stock up

Surge in sales accompanied by a jump in people looking online for recipes

Canada’s beef demand has been strong during the pandemic. “Unlike previous disease outbreak issues, COVID-19 has not been about food safety or consumer confidence or issues with food products,” Canada Beef president Michael Young said during a recent online town hall. “Beef demand at retail is up 50 to 70 per cent. Consumers have aggressively […] 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


Mustard greens, or flowering gai lan, a Chinese form of broccoli, are assertive and blend well with strong tastes.

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

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


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