GFM Network News


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

Tilapia grown aquaponically in Saskatchewan.

Fish on the flatland

First We Eat: Aquaponics on the Prairies 
make local sourcing of fish easier

We didn’t eat much fish when I was a kid, just the occasional trout my grandfather reeled in from the North Saskatchewan River, and East Coast cod on Fridays. Not until we arrived on Vancouver Island did I learn to love fish, especially West Coast sockeye salmon, although the act of fishing struck me as […] Read more


Lemon maple cranberry butter tarts.

Fowl supper? Fall supper?

Whatever you call them, they are a delicious Prairie harvest tradition

We gathered at my parents’ house on a mild autumn evening, clucking over Mom and Dad’s recent renovations, sipping Dad’s homemade wine, letting our appetites build for the fowl supper. Our neighbour Ken commented on the lineup he’d witnessed en route. “Halfway down the street and around the block,” he claimed. I was disinclined to […] Read more

The mess tent looking relatively tidy in the afternoon — the calm before the treeplanter storm.

Lesson 2: You can’t make supper tomorrow

For camp cooks, or farmers, there’s no such thing as a last-minute vacation day

In my last column I talked about the need for rest, even idleness as a tree planting cook. I needed to rest because I needed to be on top of my game every single day. I was the backstop in the kitchen and as the cook you end up feeling like a vital backstop for […] Read more


Cooking the foods of our ancestors keeps heritage alive

First We Eat: 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

Why not pickle some of those garden veggies?

First We Eat: 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


Why do we cook?

First We Eat: 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

Pasta puttanesca.

Gifts for aging parents

First We Eat: 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

First We Eat: 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

First We Eat: 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