Food Musings

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

A Weekend of Firsts


I have spent the weekend with our son and his wife and have picked up some wonderful cooking ideas in a short time.  Just the fact that they are so willing to pitch in with meals at the cottage-makes my heart sing. 

The first taste treat was their spaghetti with Italian sausage.  I usually blanch the sausages and then let then soak up the pasta sauce.  They grill theirs until crunchy on the barbeque and add them to the sauce at the last minute-yum.

They shared a simple and yet fabulous recipe for pork.  My husband modified it for the barbeque instead of a sauté pan and it went like this: sear pork chops or pork tenderloin that has been liberally covered with salt and pepper on high heat.  Then move to a pan containing 1 part ice tea and one part balsamic vinegar.  Let the sauce reduce as pork continues cooking.  Serve at the doneness point of your liking (we like ours medium rare to medium well-but definitely not well done).  This proved to be a really interesting mixture of tastes-sweet and pungent and the sauce was also lovely on the wild rice pilaf that we also served.

Sister #2 is the expert omelet maker at the cottage but in her absence our son was willing to take a stab at it.  We also have a new electric griddle which put him at an extreme disadvantage.  The first batch was delicious but not thin and rolled like his Aunt’s.  The second batch though was pretty near perfection. 

Last night I tried two new tastes: carrot sticks dipped into red pepper humus at happy hour and another specialty while watching a movie.  They sprinkle nutritional yeast on buttered popcorn!  It was kind of a cross between toasted bread crumbs and a mild parmesan cheese and you feel healthy just eating it.

Of the many talents that our children possess, their enthusiasm for preparing food for loved ones and their gifts of hospitality are the ones that bless me the most.

She has our hearts

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Glorious and Free


In honour of Canada Day, I asked my Facebook friends which foods best represented the Canadian experience.  Their answers were very revealing:

My friend Jenna said: “Donairs anywhere in the maritimes.”  I had to do some more research as I didn’t know donairs were Canadian.  I found this out: “the donair made in Atalantic Canada are almost always made with a sweetened garlic sauce and this sauce (called donair sauce) is also used as a dipping sauce for eastern Canadian snacks like garlic fingers”.  She then added: “Bison Burgers from the Kleefield Chip Truck”.  

There was another vote for the maritimes when my Newfie friend Susan declared “Mussels in (at?) the corner at the Ship.”  I too think that seafood is a wonderful representation of Canada-our Atlantic and Pacific coasts display beauty to make your heart stop.

My friend Serena added: “BeaverTails (Queues de Castor) on the canals of Ottawa.”  Serena has travelled the country with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet-so I put her opinions right up there.  I look forward to trying these one day.

Another friend named Sue voted for:  “Hotdogs from a cart on Broadway”.  I hasten to say in the summer.  

Sister #3 had the longest list of all: ” Baby Rouge burger at the gas station in St. Pierre Jolys (MB), City Bread Rye and cold cuts with garlicky dill pickles at a social, Jeannie’s cake, mini donuts at the Red River Ex or a Goldeyes game, freshly caught pickerel, real perogies from one of the Ukranian Orthodox Churches or Alycia’s and Bothwell’s red wine cheddar cheese. What a wonderful place to live”.  Perhaps this is the most telling comment of all.  One being the length of her list and two that even though Sister #3 has travelled extensively, these are all foods from home.

We had these Imperial cookies purchased from Einfeld’s Bakery in lake country.  I would add fried Parmesan eaten at a sidewalk cafe in Quebec City,  Atlantic Lobster carried home on a plane to the prairies in a freezer chest, Greek shellfish pie savoured on the Danforth in Toronto, Saskatoon berry anything at one of my all time favourite restaurants-La Bodega in Regina, Alberta grain fed beef at The Keg Steakhouse and Bar and the first time I tasted sushi on Granville Island in Vancouver.

So there is still time to add your favourite.  I’m compiling another list because as I was composing this one, my son added: “Corn Meal Canadian Back Bacon” and so I stopped and made it for his breakfast.

Kath’s quote: “Was I catching the contagious enthusiasm of this Canadian? Was I truly euphoric at the sight of fresh-grilled pork?”
Professor M. Aronnax in ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea’ – Jules Verne (1870)

Cottontail Time


Today as I was shopping for a variety of goodies to have as a late afternoon snacks for a stretch of time at the cottage, I was reminded of a now defunct family tradition.  When the kids were toddlers, we would pack up the cooler and head to the beach at about 11 am.  The kids loved when lunch time was announced.  The would waddle down to the water’s edge to wash their hands in the water and their wet hands likely picked up more sand on the way back to the beach blanket then there was in the first place.  They would have a sandwich and some veggies and immediately ask for the watermelon or grapes that they knew would be packed in mini zip locs.

After another dip in the lake or a walk to the creek to catch frogs or in the other direction to see the natural artesian well or the clay pits, we would head back to the cottage to escape the heat of the day.  The kids were encouraged to spend some quiet time-they didn’t necessarily have to nap but they were tucked in to read books or listen to some music.  Since the time was spent in a soft and cozy manner and also because of a phrase that they heard the adults using, they called it “cottontail” time.

The term that they were misquoting, gleeful declared by the adults?  Its cocktail time!

Kath’s quote: “Soup is cuisine’s kindest course.  It breathes reassurance; it steams consolation; after a weary day it promotes sociability, as the five o’clock cup of tea or the cocktail hour.”
Louis P. De Gouy

Guest Blogger Margaret


This story was sent by a reader and friend when she read my Sangria post.  Another illustration of how sustanence is meant to be shared, celebrated and unifies us all.

“Sangria, Spain, and My Father

I just had to share with you a terrific memory I have about Sangria, Spain, and my father.  When we lived in Germany, it was a fantastic opportunity to do a ridiculous amount of traveling.  One of our favorite and most memorable trips was a family vacation to Spain.

We spent 6 weeks in Spain with family and Trailer in tow.  This was the 70’s and back then everyone traveled with camper/trailer and set up home in Trailer parks.  It was a great opportunity to meet people from all over the world.  People would sight-see during the day, and gather at the campsite at night, to share their wonderful adventures.  So in Madrid my father learnt how to make Sangria.  It was a very traditional recipe with tons of red wine and just as much fruit.  My father wanted to really encourage people to gather (our place became the camper of destination), so every morning for about 4 days my father would make a fresh batch of Sangria in a large aluminum tub.  He would set it aside, and we would go on our way exploring, anxious to see what treasures we would see. Around 4:00 pm we would return back to the Camp site in preparation for the Gathering.  The tub of Sangria (which had been prepping all day) would appear, as would many other campers, bringing treats and specialties to share, often representative of their own culture.

One thing I fondly recall about the Gathering was the diversity of the people we met.  There were seasoned travelers, with many worldly tales and sage wisdom, and there were also young adventures, with a contagious sense of wonderment.  The language barriers didn’t seem to be an issue. People wanted to communicate with each other.  So at any one time you could hear broken English, fluent Italian, or Spanish, with a little dash of French, and German to complete the mix so much fun.

This explosion of community and eclectic sense of unity all happened because of a traditional recipe of Sangria, Spain, my father, and an aluminum tub.”

Kath’s quote: ““Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.”-MFK Fisher

Crepe Surprize


Since it was not beach weather on Sunday, we decided to head into the city early but not before we scouted up some brunch.  We headed north to Albert Beach, to the east of Hwy 59 just before the stretch of highway to Victoria Beach.  As is typical of the beach communities of Lake Winnipeg, Albert Beach is primarily a French area (Victoria is British, Lester is German, etc.)  Just across the street from Saffies’s General Store, is a little hamburger stand that also serves authentic crepes.

Summer staff were being trained on the art of crepe pouring/spreading and flipping.  There are sweet selections of nutella, banana and strawberry and savoury choices which were perfect for a late brunch.  The traditional savoury recipe is made from buckwheat.  We ordered one of ham and cheese and another of spinach and tomato.  The ham and cheese started with a drizzle of hollandaise and then a slice of Swiss cheese and another of old fashion ham.  The veggie one began with a spread of pesto, a layer of tomato, a crumble of feta and then both crepes were folded into triangles and placed back onto the crepe pan to melt the cheese.

Kath’s quote: “…sprinkled with sugar and eaten hot, they form an exquisite dish. They have a golden hue and are tempting to eat. Thin and transparent like muslin, their edges are trimmed to resemble fine lace. They are so light that after a good dinner, a man from Agen is still willing to sample three or four dozen of them! Crêpes form an integral part of every family celebration. Served with white wine, they take pride of place on all joyful occasions.”-Anatole France

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