Chili Tastes Better with Joy

Part of my Operation Recipe Swap experiment is to try to emulate the spirit with which each dish was intended/taught to me.  If my friend is teaching me about the joy she has in preparing a meal, I want it to learn about that joy as much as I want to learn about the meal; they’re part and parcel.

Remember how Kim said she learned the Silly Greek Chili recipe from a friend who first received it as a gift when she had her baby?  Guess what!  My sister-in-law JUST had a baby!  This was quite convenient!  I would get the chance to replicate the circumstances with which Silly Greek Chili is meant to be cooked and eaten. Obviously, my sister-in-law did that just for me!


Meet my doll-faced niece, Vivien. Continue reading

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The Chili that Keeps on Giving – Part II

Kim and I worked together to complete the chili.  One of us would stir while the other one chopped and vice versa.  “How am I going to be able to make this without Kim?” I wondered.

Plus Kim has some really decent kitchen tools.  In particular, sharp knives, whimsical slicers, melon ballers, twisty turny things, and fancy cutlery.  She said everything tastes better with her musical fork.  I do not own any musical forks, so that’s not really fair that all her meals taste better than mine. Continue reading

The Chili that Keeps on Giving – Part I

The Instructor

On Thursday, I had my third cooking lesson, the first by a non-relative, my friend Kimberly Furtney.  Or, as she is known to me and my family, Kimber, K-Furt, The Furts or, that time when she went to Germany, Kimberlin Strudel. For the purposes of this article and your ease of reference, I will refer to her simply as Kim.

Kim is a piece of sunshine in the life of my family.  She has such a loving, giving spirit and from the time we met, she has done so much in the way of brightening up our lives.  She is known especially to be a cheerleader, send notes of encouragement, and give treat-y gifts… like the time when I was sick with a cold and she brought over a care package: movie, home-made muffins, lozenges and ginger ale.


This is Kim and me at the Sony Theatre in Toronto for the “So You Think You Can Dance” Live Tour. She treated me for my birthday. Continue reading

Starved for Thyme

I had to squeeze in this meal Monday night, before I left for Mississauga for a two-day work project, and before I was scheduled to have my next lesson (yesterday)!

I was so thankful that John-Mark had the main ingredients. He had been “saving” a roast in the freezer, which makes it sound like it was waiting for just the right moment.  My moment. Continue reading

What to do with our failures

Part II of A Birthday Meal is on its way. Promise.  (Am I just in denial that I had a birthday?) But I want to do a short break out session on cooking failures.

Fact: I have cooked more inedible than edible meals.

I have felt the pain and disappointment too many times of scraping a plate full of food into the garbage and pouring myself a bowl of Cheerios instead.  My failures in the kitchen have almost incapacitated me. Continue reading