Bite-sized wisdom – Part II

Foodie: A person that spends a keen amount of attention and energy on knowing the ingredients of food, the proper preparation of food, and finds great enjoyment in top-notch ingredients and exemplary preparation. A foodie is not necessarily a food snob, only enjoying delicacies and/or food items difficult to obtain and/or expensive foods; though, that is a variety of foodie. (Urban Dictionary’s word of the day on March 28, 2006.)

Operation Recipe Swap Tanya 052

The cooking session with Tanya was three of hours of butt-busting activity, the four of us (Tan, myself and my daughters, Mallory and Sophia) handling combinations of ingredients with which we, her apprentices, were completely unfamiliar.

I relied on my voice recorder to nab the details of Tanya’s instructions because I was too busy frying, stirring, mixing, slicing, and snapping to attention under Tanya’s watchful eye.

The alternate title for this entry is Foodie Bootcamp. Continue reading

First Successful Solo Bake

I stared at the recipe Christa put up on the Operation: Recipe Swap Facebook Page for banana muffins.  There were less than 10 ingredients and no words I couldn’t understand. Newly empowered with knowledge from Lynn – muffin batter should be lumpy – I could do this. Continue reading

Back to the Future with Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Dear Betty,

I am a neophyte when it comes to baking.  I shouldn’t have volunteered to bring a cake for Friday night’s event and then showed up with nothing! I realized after the fact that it must have increased your stress level.  I am SO sorry.  If that ever happens again, I will at least go to the store and get something to replace it.  I honestly didn’t even think about it till afterward… and then I was horrified.

In your debt,

And so I learned the hard way that, when baking, to leave enough time to either make or purchase a replacement if it doesn’t turn out. Continue reading

Operation: Recipe Swap Status Update

It may seem like my Operation: Recipe Swap (herein “ORS”) posts have been lagging.  This is true.  I have many excusesreasons.  This  hierarchy of concerns has been on my mind, showed up in my shoulders and possibly affected my immune system.  How have I dealt with these priorities, the grandest of which is a half-finished Wesleyan theology paper due at the end of the month?  I’ve effectively procrastinated myself down to the lowest determinant on my TO DO list.

I find myself polishing my mirrors and plucking my eyebrows a lot lately in order to avoid finishing the things of utmost importance.   This means that hardly anything of intermediate value gets attended to.  But I’m working my way up! My windows are so clean, I am now forced to blog. I’ll finish the paper… tomorrow. Continue reading

Going Old-School, Heirloom Spaghetti Sauce

My friend Christa said she would be thrilled to teach me a recipe and how about the whole family come over on a Sunday afternoon!  The girls can cook while the boys watch football.  Which is like blowing off the dust on the sexology file,  How Men and Women Should Spend their Sundays.   Hey, why not?  This could be *retro fun!

For those of you who know Christa, you probably think of her as a gentle soul, calm and patient, the perfect temperament for teaching a novice to cook.  As I’ve gotten to know Christa, however, what others might mistake for a shy demeanor is actually really, really good listening skills.  I was looking forward to being in her company and listening to her this time.  This Sunday, the roles would be reversed in more ways than one! Continue reading

It’s All Gravy – Part II

Deb says she’s not so laid back.  Deb says ask her husband, Mike, and also “come with me when I’m trying to catch a plane and running late!”  And also, when she’s being robbed at gun point I’m sure.

She also may not be so chill around pastries.  She says they scare her because they’re so finicky.  It’s her theory that people either have a knack for pastries or they don’t.  She says the same may be true for gravy, for which she has a knack. Continue reading

Pickier than she thought – Part II

Who is this woman?

I have never met anyone like Lisa, with multi-tasking super powers.  She can think of a million things at once and doesn’t get stressed out. In fact, she seems to thrive in the middle of lots of different activities going on all around her.  I don’t even see her keep lists.  If she does, I don’t want to know.  She has energy to rival my tween, whom I might even say resembles Lisa more than she resembles me, strangely enough.  Maybe it’s all the enthusiasm they emit when they’re being creative.  Maybe it’s that they’re both ectomorphs and look really great in skinny jeans. Continue reading

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

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