Food Artisans of the Okanagan: Your guide to the best locally crafted fare

Available in Canada and the US, April 5, 2016 (TouchWood Editions)

Monday
Nov152010

Beyond the Buffet Line: Finding good food in Old Havana

 

Pastry Shop, Old Havana, May 2010.Hotel Ambos Mundos. Great rooftop patio restaurant, good food. Hemingway drank here

Currently in print in Western Living magazine, Nov 2010:

For all that Old Havana has to offer—UNESCO World Heritage Site architecture, music on every corner, mint-condition classic cars, surprising art galleries, nearby pristine Caribbean beaches—food has always been the unfortunate, forgotten footnote and the chief complaint of even adventurous travellers. But with a massive tourism shift from the resort areas into the pulsating capital of Havana, the dining scene has had no choice but to catch up. With a little inside info, the chances of finding a really good meal, especially in Old Havana, are steadily improving. (Click here to read the rest of my article online at www.westernlivingmagazine.com.

 

 

Sunday
Jul042010

The Farm Next Door: Why local food - really local- is back on Alberta's political menu

This article appears in the July / August issue of Alberta Views magazine. It was a lot to fit into a 2000+ word feature, as municipal food policies are being forged right now in both Edmonton and Calgary. It will determine how Alberta's two major cities feed themselves (or don't) for generations to come. Here's a teaser. You'll have to read the rest in a print issue of the magazine.

 “There are two types of power,” says Monique Nutter, co-chair of Greater Edmonton Alliance’s (GEA) local foods team. “There’s organized money—and there’s organized people.” Nutter, a soft-spoken social worker and mother, is explaining how GEA, a grassroots organization barely five years old, managed to mobilize over 550 citizens on a bitterly cold November evening in 2008 to attend a public hearing for Edmonton’s 30-year Municipal Development Plan (MDP), “The Way We Grow.” The mass descent on city hall was a polite protest of a gaping hole in the plan—a lack of an explicit food policy.

The problem, as we saw it—I was one of the 550 citizens—was that the MDP addressed housing and transportation to cope with Greater Edmonton’s population growth (expected to reach 1.7 million people by 2040) but not something equally fundamental: food. Just as few expect that Edmontonians will live and drive in similarly unsustainable ways in 30 years as we do today, few expect that 30 years from now almost all of our food will come from far afield as well.

And yet the MDP made not one mention of protection for the city’s precious 3,200 hectares of urban farmland in the northeast, class 1 soil that lies along the bends and twists of the North Saskatchewan river, a microclimate that offers the most frost-free growing days of anywhere in the province. Good farmland is a dwindling resource in and around Edmonton (as it is across Alberta). Already, 90 per cent of residents’ food is imported from outside the Greater Edmonton region. Neither did the MDP mention any municipal food policy whatsoever. To us, it looked like a blueprint for a massive home renovation that curiously did away with the kitchen.

(...)

Thursday
May272010

An Urban Ag Book Review Round-up in Canadian Geographic

In the June 2010 of Canadian Geographic magazine, I review four new books on farming and urban agriculture in Canada. It begins like this:


Every generation, it seems, experiences its own back-tothe- land movement. But what happens when “the land” becomes too expensive? The regulations too crippling? The traditional knowledge too far gone? And how exactly can we return to the land when more than 80 percent of Canadians live in an urban environment? Judging from the number of books emerging on these themes — from laments for the vanishing family farm and scathing condemnations of industrial agriculture to handbooks on how to grow heirloom veggies on condo balconies — concerns about our relationship with food have become mainstream obsessions....Read the complete review on-line here.  

 

TRAUMA FARM
A Rebel History of Rural Life

By Brian Brett
Greystone Books
373 pp., $35 hardcover
THE WAR IN THE COUNTRY
How the Fight to Save Rural Life Will Shape Our Future

By Thomas F. Pawlick
Greystone Books
344 pp., $24.95 softcover
CITY FARMER
Adventures in Urban Food Growing

By Lorraine Johnson
Greystone Books
256 pp., $19.95 softcover
THE EDIBLE CITY
Toronto’s Food From Farm to Fork

Edited by Christina Palassio and Alana Wilcox
Coach House Books
312 pp., $24.95 softcover
Thursday
Apr082010

Maclean's Article on the "New Unpaid Restaurant Critic"

With all apologies to my restaurant critic friends, in the era of social media and interactive boards like eGullet and Chowhound, how relevant is the traditional anonuymous paid restaurant reviewer? Read the argument in Maclean's. (On a side note, I still read the scathing restaurant reviews in the UK papers just for the sheer "throw them to the lions" spectacle of verbal slicing and dicing.)

Friday
Dec042009

Magazine highlights from 2009

Westmount Mall, Mall of my Youth
Westmount is the mall of my youth. I grew up about six blocks away. In the June 2009 of Alberta Venture, I write about the history and the current context of Alberta’s first shopping mall, Retail Therapy. The issue and my article in particular got a lovely nod in James Adam’s Globe & Mail column On The Stand>>A Weekly Roundup of the Best Magazine Reads on the Racks.

Three Days with chef Rob Feenie
Rob Feenie kicked off NAIT's new Chef-in-Residence program in Edmonton in style. I followed him around for three full days and wrote about how he inspired and interacted with over 300 culinary arts students in the current issue of NAIT's Techlife magazine.

Canadian Geographic
In the Spring 2009 issue of Canadian Geographic, I write about three quintessentially Okanagan experiences to take in when visiting (or even living in) Kelowna. Click here to go to the on-line version of the article.

enRoute magazine
OK, these are just small little articles but "If you can't beat 'em, eat 'em" -- about eating squirrel and pigeon on a recent trip to the UK -- appears in the Jet Set section of the February 2009 issue of enRoute magazine. In the March 2009 issue of enRoute, I have another small piece on chefs who are biting back...with food blogs of their own!

Breath of a Salesman
In my rounds of my neighbourhood yoga studios in Edmonton, I remember taking a few classes from the young and fit Cole Williston, the yoga instructor. Early this year, I was calling him on the phone in Tulum, Mexico, to interview him about his newly launched company, Plan It Adventure. The article "Breath of a Salesman" appears in the March / April issue of the award-winning Unlimited magazine. And yes, it WOULD be cool to go on a 22-day yoga and hiking trek in Peru, I imagine.

More mileage out of eating squirrels, quails and pigeons
In the March / April issue of Calgary's City Palate, I recount some excessive dining (but for a reasonable price, oddly enough) at Gordon Ramsay's Maze Grill in London. Oh yeah, and I manage to get the squirrel in chocolate sauce from Bell's Diner in this article too. It's the meal that just keeps on giving.

National Post: And on the Third Day, Julie created Molasses Crinkles...
This is an article I wrote to acknowledge (and entertain and inform readers about) the monumental project that Calgary foodie / cookbook author / CBC traffic gal / indefatigueable writer, mother and wife, Julie Van Rosendaal completely in 2008. Every single day of 2008 (and a leap year to boot!), Julie posted a recipe, photo and culinary musings on her site, Dinner with Julie. Click here to read the article. Click here to go to Julie's site, now an archive of what she at in 2008.

A Good Catch
While I can't claim too much involvement in this really timely and tasty cookbook, but I did contribute a recipe -- canola oil poached Northern Pike fillets -- and helped author Jill Lambert connect with some of Alberta's best chefs. A Good Catch is a great cookbook for locavore cooks looking for great recipes with sustainably fished and farmed seafood choices. It's published by both the David Suzuki Foundation and Douglas & MacIntyre books, it sells for $24.95. Looking for a quick reference for sustainable fish and seafood choices in Canada. Click here to go to Vancouver Aquarium's Oceanwise site.

NUVO magazine article
I love contributing articles to NUVO, the ultra-glam Canadian mag. Why? Because I love that it gives the up-town treatment to the well-deserved talent in Canada in its articles. I also love it when I can tell people I wrote an article in a magazine with Academy-award-winning actor Adrian Brody on the cover (or the steamy Viggo Mortensen cover, as was the case with my architecture feature on Florian Maurer.) In this current winter 2008 issue, I wrote a small piece in on the Fairmont Chateau Whistler's chef Vincent Stufano; in particular his signature whisky maple syrup -- maple syrup infused with whisky thanks to a few months spent in used whisky barrels.

Dining at Montreal's Au Pied de Cochon
Calgay is home to one of Canada's best foodie magazines, City Palate. In the current November / December 2008 issue, I contributed a first-person piece on overcoming my digust of foie gras in order to not ruin a dream of my husband, to eat at Martin Picard's temple of foie gras, Au Pied de Cochon.

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