Food Musings

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



I think that food is fascinating.  The is there the art of food, of which we are well aware, and the history of food and the science of food.  Food as an analogy is perhaps the most fascinating to me of all.  I am currently reading a novel entitled “The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake”  by Aimee Bender which is a haunting tale of a nine year old’s discovery that she can taste the emotions of the person who has prepared the food that she is consuming. 

In this theme, I have found a poem that is short enough to reproduce here.  It is penned by a writer named Joyce Rupp. 

can it be?

have I forgotten so long

forgotten to feed myself?


for nigh a year now

I was slowly starving.

getting lost in busy days,

tossing aside the hunger

that chewed away inside.

yet, I did not die.

by some quiet miracle

I made it to this moment

of truth:

I nearly starnved to death,

it was not my body

that I failed to feed.

it was my spirit,

left alone for days

without nourishment or care.

and then one day

I paused to look within,

shocked at what I found:

so thin of faith,

so weak of understanding,

so needy of encouragment.

my starving spirit cried the truth:

I can!

I will!

I must

be fed!

Bally Hoo Revisited-Isla Mujeres


Previous to my arrival on Isla, I have prepared a list of restaurants that I intend to visit again or try for the first time.  The idea of going to a single Isla restaurant more than once during my stay, never ever crosses my mind.  And yet during my 2011 visit I went to La Lomita, Tino’s (the Rib Man), La Brisa’s Grill and Fredy’s twice each and Chuuk Kay and Bally Hoo three times each!

Since Bally Hoo is close to the ferry, it was our destination of choice when D and Daughter #1 arrived.


It also made sense to watch the sunset from there before boarding the ferry to start our journey home on departure day.  While savouring Isla for our last moments, we feasted on shrimp ceviche one more time.

Both days we went ga-ga for the fresh caught fish and chips (although I do wish that they hadn’t resorted to serving frozen fries). 

But I could eat that fish every single day and wouldn’t even use a fork,  just pick the fillets up like a chicken finger and dunk them into the tangy tartar sauce. We also sampled the fish tacos-equally good.

On one occasion we stopped to have breakfast.  The coffee was steaming hot and poured often.  The setting was gorgeous and breakfast pretty darn good too. 

To be honest: I was on Isla, surrounded by the most stunning view, with my best girlfriend (who doesn’t live in the same city as me and so we only see each other twice a year)-it wasn’t about the food that day.  

Below is a photo of a Bally Hoo which are frequently used as bait for saltwater sportsmen.  They attract tuna, sailfish, mahi mahi and dorada.  As you dine on the stilted platform of the restaurant, they swim all around you in the shallow water.

Ahh Isla-my beloved second home. 

Kath’s quote:  “The only kind of seafood I trust is the fish stick, a totally featureless fish that doesn’t have eyeballs or fins.” –Dave Barry

Greek Spin on Classic Macaroni and Cheese


I have not posted a recipe to share in a very long time.  The truth is that I have not been home to prepare a meal in a very long time.  I have been to four fund-raising events involving food in the past four days.  I have another one tomorrow…..  Do you see how Manitobans love to celebrate life with food?  

You likely know that I am a lover of comfort food and especially carbs-being the bearer of affectionate nicknames such as “Potato-loving Polak” and “The Carb Queen”.  I find it interesting that the culinary world is recently embracing my obsessions with “souped up” poutine dishes and macaroni and cheese offerings. 

I still contend that my “Gourmet Mac and Cheese” listed under recipes is the best I’ve found, but for a delicious variation-you might want to try this:

4 c elbow macaroni (I used ziti)

3 T olive oil

1 onion, chopped (I used a purple onion for colour)

1 red pepper (I used yellow), cut into strips

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 small bag of spinach, chopped (I used frozen) 

salt to taste

3 T flour

3 c milk

pepper to taste

1/8 t nutmeg

2 c grated dill Havarti (I used mozzarella and garnished with 1 t oregano)

1 c crumbled feta

Kalamata olives, pitted and halved, quantity to taste

1/2 c bread crumbs

Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.  While pasta is cooking soften veggies in 1 T of the olive oil in a skillet.  Add fresh or defrosted spinach after 5 mins.  Heat until spinach has wilted and then set aside in a bowl.  Wipe skillet clean and return to stove over med. heat.  Swirl in 2 T olive oil.  When hot, whisk in the flour.  Continue to whisk while adding the s & p and nutmeg.  Continue until flour is a light golden colour.  Slowly add the milk while continuing to stir and bring to a low boil.  When it has slightly thickened add the grated Havarti and then feta.  The feta will get melty but stay in chunks.  Combine all prepared ingredients in a casserole dish and top with bread crumbs.  Bring back up to temperature in the oven and then add 5 mins. under the broiler until the crumbs are brown.

I ran out of time for the last stage and so I added the veggies to the sauce and then tossed with the pasta.  I crumbled a little more feta and sprinkled the 1 t of oregano on top (instead of the bread crumbs) to serve.  Deelish!

Kath’s quote: “What I love about cooking is that after a hard day, there is something comforting about the fact that if you melt butter and add flour and then hot stock, it will get thick! It’s a sure thing! It’s a sure thing in a world where nothing is sure; it has a mathematical certainty in a world where those of us who long for some kind of certainty are forced to settle for crossword puzzles.”-Nora Ephron

posted under Entrees | No Comments »

Thanks a Million


The Keg Steakhouse & Bar (or Keg ‘n Cleaver as it was known in those days) originated in Vancouver in 1971.  When they opened their first Winnipeg location on Garry St. I was one of the hostess that stood out on the sidewalk to get the names from the people at the back of the line as it stretched down the sidewalk.  Those were crazy days for me, university classes during the day and long evenings trying to balance a tray full of Silver Clouds while maneuvering in a skirt that touched the ground.  If you’ve seen the beautiful ladies at a Keg lately, you’ll see that the skirt length has definitely changed!

Me & my girls-off to celebrate B’s grad at The Keg

I loved my job-the training was excellent, the clientel were great and with the money that I made in tips I was able to move into my own apartment and travel Europe to boot! 

The current Winnipeg Keg owner with D and Bro-in-Law

But best of all was that the Keg management and staff were like family-figuritively and literally!  In those days the Keg was owned and operated by George Tidball (who brought McDonald’s to Canada).  He was a man who believed that if a person was a great Keg employee, their sister or brother would likely make a great one too!   If you were a Chapdelaine, a Grisim, a Kapilik, a Resch or a Furlan you were likely working at the Keg.  Over the years my Mother-in-law, my husband’s two sisters and three brothers all worked there.  One sister-in-law met her husband at the Southside location.  My own two sisters and two of my brother-in-law’s brothers were on staff as well….well you get the picture.  It was a ripple effect and the friends that I made over my long career at The Keg are still my very best friends today.

Two of these three were Cocktail ladies with me in the 70’s

Ten years ago when The Keg Steakhouse and Bar celebrated their 30th Anniversary they established the Keg Spirit Foundation supporting many persons and initiatives that are close to my heart.  Big Brother & Sisters alone have received over a $1 million.  In all, $5 Million dollars have been rewarded to over 300 charities across North America.  Now, ten years later, they are celebrating the milestone of their 40th anniversary with a Million Dollar Give-away available in 40 grants of $25,000 each and the public decides who will recieve the gifts.  All the details regarding grant applications and the voting and awarding process is on line at

“It takes a village to raise a child” (I know this from first hand experience), and sometimes the charity and support from a business that “pays it forward”, is also necessary.  The Keg Spirit Foundation is one of the many reasons why I am proud that I am Keg alumnae. 

Kath’s quote:  “To see the butcher slap the steak before he laid it on the block, and give his knife a sharpening, was to forget breakfast instantly. It was agreeable too – it really was – to see him cut it off so smooth and juicy. There was nothing savage in the act, although the knife was large and keen; it was a piece of art, high art; there was delicacy of touch, clearness of tone, skilful handling of the subject, fine shading. It was the triumph of mind over matter; quite.”-Charles Dickens

Keggers if you happen to read this-drop me a line.  I miss you.

Como-no-Isla Mujeres


When we gather on Isla Mujeres it is a process.  Itineraries vary accounding to shcedules back home and flight costs/bookings.  This creates two distinct pleasures for me: the anticipation that someone I love will soon be on the Island that I love and going to meet the ferry.  At one time the ferry only meant one thing: that I had to leave, but now with my new routine there is joy as well.  Unfortunately, on the day that Sister #2 arrived on Isla (with my beloved bro and sis-in law and Brother #3) I missed the boat.  That is to say, they had arrived earlier than expected and were already settling in while I waited on the dock.

But because there are so many of us and it is a small island, word got around efficiently that we were meeting at  Como-no’s that evening for dinner. I have walked by Como-no’s patio tables many times and to be frank was never lured in by the modernistic furniture and hookah pipes but the interior was so cozy and comfortable that we felt as if we had been invited into someone’s great room.

We did not notice at first, how long it took for our dinners to arrive because we were content to visit and get caught up with news of Isla and news of home delivered to and from the newly arrived.  So too, the Frozen Mojitoes and perfectly shaken Margaratias were liquifying the passage of time.  We also knew that Lee and his wife were expecting their first baby and thought-tonight may be the night!

Well anything worth doing (or eating) is worth waiting for and oh my goodness, the food was divine!  Most of the table (at my end at least) ordered the special of fresh Grouper and Shrimp.

Sister #2 chose the Mediteranean Platter and I surprized even myself and ordered the Chicken Schnitzel.  It doesn’t really matter what we order, as we all taste from everybody else’s plates anyway.  After all-we are  family (or honouree family).

Both the Schnitzel and the Grouper were so delcicous that many in the group came back to sample them again later during our stay.  The Schnitzel was huge enough to share, but by this time I was very hungry and managed to put away every bite.  My love of thin meats, lightly breaded and sauteed comes from my little Polish Grandma Felicia who made fried chicken like no one else on earth! 

Lee the owner, surprized us with a complementary dessert to sample.  It was a chocolate sausage which we cut it into a half dozen slices and the chocolate and nuts were so rich and dense that it was enough to satisfy the need for something sweet to conclude a lovely meal.

Lee and his wife are from Israel.  V who was my room-mate for that stage of the vacation and I, and our husbands, have all travelled to Israel on seperate occaissions and felt instantly connected to this talented, hospitable (handsome!) and soft-spoken man.  We were eagar for news of his babies’ safe arrival and I understand that Yahi (a healthy girl ) was born to them days after I returned home to Canada.  Maxel Tov Lee and Chen!

Kath’s quote: “You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.”-Julia Child

posted under Isla Mujeres | 1 Comment »
« Older EntriesNewer Entries »