Food Musings

A Winnipeg blog about the joy of preparing food for loved ones and the shared joy that travel & dining brings to life.

Today I am 60-Part 2


So much happened between 10 and 20 as is the case with many of us. I attended John Henderson for junior high and Miles Macdonnell for high school. I still LOVED school, especially the addition of Home Economics to my class load.  I ran for school president in junior high and lost to my best friend Lynne McCarthy. Her dad worked for Cadbury’s and I comforted myself by concluding that she rallied so many volunteers to get her elected by serving them all chocolate bars at their house. I remember junior high as an emotional and mixed up time (hormones?). I got one vote for sure, from Gord Howard. Still my friend today.

During this time, my Dad had been transferred to Brandon and would live there during the week and come home on the weekends. It was a tough time for my Mom because even though my two eldest brothers had married and left home, there were four of us who needed to be driven to hockey practices, swimming lessons, dance classes, etc. etc.  We spent summers at Nutimik Lake which I wasn’t as fond of as my beloved Grand Beach and so I immersed myself in books again-this time Harlequin Romances!

By high school I had discovered the “the-a-tre” and spent much of my free time, at the theatre school that was affiliated with the Manitoba Theatre Centre. We were housed in an old warehouse across the street from MTC and my instructor was the handsome and talented Colin Jackson who I had a mad, mad crush on. This led in a circuitous way to  landing my first job-as a performer on a national kids tv show on the CBC entitled “Drop In”. I was permitted by the school administration to miss a lot of days of school to host the TV show. When my high school chemistry teacher would not permit me to be tutored as did my math teacher, I had to make a life-changing decision and was forced to give up my dream of becoming a Home Economist who hosted cooking shows on TV. Instead, I enrolled in the Dramatic Arts degree program at U of W.  That is where, when we were both 19 years old, I met my bestie Melinda (the friend that is flying in to celebrate with me). We were both theatre geeks and hit it off like wildfire.

The family couldn’t resist the pull of Lake Winnipeg and we again spent summers at Grand Beach. I also caught the travel bug after traveling to Halifax on a student exchange program in grade 11. Having some disposable income and being confident enough to fly on student standby tickets, I visited Halifax again in addition to Ottawa twice, Toronto and Vancouver.

Since the longing to travel hit me hard and by this time I was sharing a vintage downtown apartment near the U of W, I took a chance on a part time job at a new restaurant that was opening up in town. Called The Keg ‘n Cleaver, I was one of the hostesses the evening that the doors opened (40 years ago this week) and took the names of people lined up down the block. As you likely know, my tenure with The Keg Steakhouse + Bar (which it was eventually renamed) continues until this day.

To be continued…

Today I am 60-Part 1


I started this post last Saturday and after a world wind of celebrations, I have finally had a chance to come back to it.

I am reflective today, thinking back on all the years and memories of friends I have known and drifted away from. Some I have lost to heaven and others I keep as tight as I can around me, sharing my joys and my sorrows. One such friend has gotten on an airplane to be with me this weekend. The backyard will be filled with merry-makers, sharing this landmark with me. I am grateful and blessed.

Our kids, my sisters and sisters-in-law have all contributed in some way to the success of the upcoming party. Thank you. Doug has been single-minded in his efforts to make everything perfect, showing me in his way, how he cherishes me.

When you get to be 60, it is hard to define one year from the next, but I thought that the decades might be easier, so here goes:

From birth to age 10, I lived in two houses with my Mom, Dad and two adoring older brothers. One was on the 300 block of Linden Ave. which I have no memory of at all. The other was two blocks to the east in a neighbourhood where homes were being built for the growing families of post-war. Ours was very much like the rest of the houses on the street: practical and well-built without evidence of lavishness or luxury. The house on Linden remained our home until this time last year when we emptied and spruced it up for a new family. I wrote a blog post entitled Good-Bye to Our Family Home.

I went to Mrs. Dyer’s kindergarten, directly across the street. I couldn’t pronounce Aurelia’s name so I called my teacher “Ridja” as she was my Mom’s best friend. But out of respect, I didn’t do so  in front of the other students, all a year older than I. You see, at three my twin sister and brother were born and my Mom “had her hands full” as was said, so Ridja agreed to have me join her classroom every morning. Her daughter Debbie who was my best friend was also in the class.

Neil Campbell, a half block away became my longest school home. I LOVED school or most of it. I loved reading, art, social studies and choir. Math and phys ed, not so much. My best friends at school were Linda Gouriluk, Carol Chomiak, Cindy Kowal, Barb Schmidt, Sherry Wallis and Craig Sangster. I remember Helene Schewell and Chris Telenco too. We all lived within about six blocks of each other. I learned to skate at three and loved to hang out at Melrose Community Club. I was never a great swimmer, but diligently tried to be, with lessons at the EK YMCA.

We spent our holidays by driving to my grandparents in southern Saskatchewan and summers at Grand Beach. We had a “Mother’s Helper” that would take us to the beach while my Mom enjoyed a much-needed break because when I was 8, my youngest sister was born.

During this time there was sadness, when we unexpectedly lost my Moms’ two brothers, both to heart: one at 27 and the other in his early 30s. My Mom’s grief was crippling and I remember escaping my world in Nancy Drew books. I read the entire series over a couple of summers.

To be continued…..














Sherbrooke St. Deli


When traveling in Vancouver this past spring and spending the lunch hour walking through the Gastown neighbourhood, I spotted a restaurant with a lineup out the door and along the sidewalk. Dubbed “Meat & Bread” it served exactly that. In the “every old is new again” category, delis have recently made a huge come back serving…well, meat and bread! The Sherbrooke Street Delicatessen (102 Sherbrooke St.) is one of Winnipeg’s many new offerings in this dining category. Perfectly placed in the great neighbourhoods of Wolseley and West Broadway (in the space formerly occupied by Fitzroy), owner Jon Hochman has gone back to his family roots. The kosher style “New York” deli, doles out traditional offerings like corned beef, smoked meat, beef salami, salmon lox and turkey breast. Our grandbaby loved the latter. Rounding off the cut meat section of the menu is the inclusion of pickled tongue. In university a good friend of mine consumed a pickled tongue sandwich almost every day for her lunch. Suffice it to say, I have never had a hankering.


My lunch date and I settled on exactly the same thing: corned beef, a vinegary pickle, crunchy cole slaw and my favourite- kettle cooked potato chips, fried to perfection in canola oil.


I understand from my sister, who works in the area, that the red-beet borscht


and knishes are also delicious.


I had my eye on some of the selections more appropriate for dinner, such as the Beef Short Ribs or the Rib-Eyed steak. Seeing how the cooks gingerly carve up the house made meats, I am sure that the bigger portions, would be equally remarkable. When I was in junior high school, I would visit Charlie the grocer and deli keeper on Oakview and Brazier St in East Kildonan. He would often offer up a shaved sample of his corned beef before he wrapped the rest of an order in waxed butcher paper. I remember that taste so clearly, along with the manner in which Charlie wiped his hands on his white butcher’s apron. Indeed, every old is new again.

Click to add a blog post for Sherbrook Street Delicatessen on Zomato

Kath’s quote: “My tongue is smiling.”-Abigail Trillin


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.  

In the Kitchen with Friends



As indicated at the end of my previous Canola Connect Camp post, the next stop for campers was the gorgeous Jane’s Restaurant at the Paterson GlobalFood Institute at the downtown campus of Red River College. The teaching restaurant is located in a former bank building with its statuesque pillars and vaulted ceilings.


We didn’t have much chance to work up an appetite, but there were amazingly delicious appetizers waiting for us including these gorgeous vegetable packets.


My foodie friend Getty (a Home Economist) and I donned our chef hats and were ready to receive instruction. Getty is the originator of Manitoba Fruit Share and appears regularly on CTV Morning Live.


We were given the opportunity to assemble an appetizing salad of mixed greens with a berry vinaigrette. My result is pictured below.



Chef Kelsey Fitzgerald finished her classes for graduation that very day but stuck around to teach us how to construct the “soft cooked egg” in the toast cup. She demonstrated the molecular gastronomy techniques using curried pumpkin for the yolk and cauliflower puree for the white. So cool! You may recognize my culinary teammate Pay Chen formerly of breakfast TV in Winnipeg. She now resides and continues to pursue her passion for food in Toronto.


Another esteemed chef- Chef Jeremy Langemann, the former Executive Chef at the Velvet Glove and the Fairmount Winnipeg Hotel is on staff at RRC. He is seen above chatting with Virgin radio’s Chrissy Troy while cutting the fresh pasta that we would hand roll into tortellini and then stuff with wild mushrooms. Chrissy is proud to declare that she is a Manitoba farm girl who is passionate about the prominent place agriculture plays in our provinces’ economy and on the world stage.


My tortellini packets were a disaster and Chef Jeremy patiently discarded them and then rolled out new sheets of dough for me to try again. In the end, the results were nutritious and delicious, especially when pulled braised short rib adorned the pasta packages.


Simply grilled vegetables accompanied the main and I indulged in my veggie crush-eggplant!


My friend and Chocolatier Constance Popp knows a thing or two about delectable treats and expertly held the tongs at one of the many donut bar stations.


Chef Mary Jane Feeke of Benjamin’s Gourmet Foods in Selkirk is RRC’s Chef Instructor for pastries. She instructed foodie friends including hunting and fishing aficionado Shel Zolkewicz and me on the fine art of donut making. Shel also makes regular TV appearances and her food photography is nothing short of exquisite!


One donut favourite were the S’mores- gingered donuts with madirafolo ganache and roasted vanilla bean marshmallow. Say that three times fast!


These two donut fusions were also lovingly created and served:

  • A rooibos and citrus infused donut with lemon and orange glaze, and candied citrus peels
  • A cinnamon donut filled with whipped cinnamon cream, and apple compote, drizzled with cinnamon glaze


My favourite was this sweet and salty invention-a nutmeg donut filled with apricot ganache, glazed with caramel fondant and garnished with crumbled crispy maple bacon. Heaven, I’m in heaven….


As we headed out of Jane’s and back through the Winnipeg streets en route to our hotel, I looked around at the exquisite room one last time. I noticed this time that the carved ceiling was of fruits and vegetables. Perhaps the former bank was always destined to become a restaurant!

The next day the Canola Connect Campers were off on yet another adventure. Stay tuned.

Jane's on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Cooking is in an honest profession where you cannot hide and let others do the work for you. You have to show up, work hard and prove you can do it faster and better. And find a mentor who will recognize your talent and push you in the right direction.”-Marcus Samuelsson


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.



Ducky’s Fish and Chips


Many of us do our best to avoid deep-fried food whenever possible and perhaps this was the reason why I personally have never found an excuse to visit Ducky’s Fish and Chips at the corner of Notre Dame and Arlington St. For years and years, I have heard that Ducky’s was a “must try” for authentic English-style fish and chips. When one Canstar reader suggested it in our recent reader’s poll, I knew that the time had come.

Halibut, with its firm (some would say “dense”) flesh, has been a favourite of mine since the days when I first tasted the fish and chips at Eaton’s Valley Room restaurant. For those of us who remember, the Valley Room did an excellent job of from scratch cooking and I still think that their version of chicken pot pie is the best I have ever tasted, including my own!

Since those “olden” days, halibut has become dearer in price, making way for the more affordable Haddock and in recent times Cod. Halibut has very little, if any, natural fat and that was why it lent itself perfectly to deep frying. A couple of dabs of Ducky’s tartar sauce added moisture and even more flavour.


On this day, my lunch companion ordered the shrimp and chips and commented on how light tasting the crispy batter was. She was hard-pressed to finish all of her perfectly cooked French fries, which I admit; I had no trouble in accomplishing.


In spite of our extensive indulgences, there was still one more to enjoy. Dubbed “Ducky’s Melt” on the short dessert section of the menu, long-time owner (since 1993) Carol Finley, batters and deep fries an entire Mars Bar and then serves it over ice cream. The result was absolutely luscious with hot and oozing caramel and chocolate, cooled down by the ice cream and made crunchy by the crispy coating. Definitely an item you need to experience, even if only once in a lifetime.

Ducky's Fish & Chips on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “There’s a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot.”- Steven Wright

tree heart

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.


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