Browsing: Food Celebrations

Thanksgiving 2011


The “big” cottage in our family “compound” at Lester Beach is co-owned by my Mom and my oldest brother and his wife.  They graciously organized the space for us all to assemble for dinner.  This is no little feat, as this year there were 37 of us and that did not include three nieces and a nephew who could not attend (the latter travelling Europe).  We also welcomed back international student Priscilla from Beijing and a new attendee-Gabby from Quebec.

This year was so mild that one family entourage hiked the forest before dinner and another bunch headed to the beach for sunset.  The balmy weather also meant that the beverage table could be set up outside and there were a number of tables available on the huge back deck for people who opted to dine el fresco.

Everyone pitches in with a food responsibility.  Some are automatic and don’t have to be assigned like Sister #2’s peppercorn meatballs, Sister #3’s roasted root vegetables and my candied yams.  Someone always gets assigned a green bean casserole with crispy onions and  potatoes mashed with cream cheese. There were also two huge salads (I had mine after my entree),  turkey with two kinds of stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce and roasted ham with mustard sauce.

A fresh fruit platter was served with pumpkin pie and the hit once again this year was the Pumpkin Crunch dessert that I posted after last Thanksgiving dinner.  You can use the search function on the top right of the blog or go to the dessert recipe category.

Fall is beautiful on the prairies but we are acutely reminded of the circle of life when the ferns and rushes die away and an entire tree can be bared by a single gust.  So too, we were reminded how precious life is as we gathered this year, because one of our brothers was not with us.  Tom lived his life bursting with gratitude.  He loved family traditions and so Thanksgiving was one of his favourites.  I thought of him feasting at another banquet table as we gave thanks.

Kath’s quote: “The king and high priest of all the festivals was the autumn Thanksgiving. When the apples were all gathered and the cider was all made, and the yellow pumpkins were rolled in from many a hill in billows of gold, and the corn was husked, and the labors of the season were done, and the warm, late days of Indian Summer came in, dreamy, and calm, and still, with just enough frost to crisp the ground of a morning, but with warm traces of benignant, sunny hours at noon, there came over the community a sort of genial repose of spirit – a sense of something accomplished.”-Harriet Beecher Stowe

100 Mile Dinner


 I enjoyed sitting with other food appreciators who had attended this fund-raiser not even so much to support the charity but because of their love of local food and the brilliant chefs that make up the culinary landscape in Winnipeg.  To know that proceeds were going to the good work of the Boys and Girls Club of Winnipeg was a wonderful bonus. 

The company made the arduous time spent waiting to line up to fill your entree plate a bit more pleasant.  The wait times being one aspect that this new event may have to tweak before next year.  I left before dessert to sneak in a visit with my hard-working husband who had just gotten home from work.  Ironically he was watching “Chopped” when I walked in the door.

I was content too because of the appetizers that I got an opportunity to sample, which kept the hunger pangs at bay.  The beet root, apple creme fraiche & golden caviar was high on my list but was surpassed by the Pickerel ceviche. 

 The barley risotto and Trappist cheese croquettes were also delicious.

Other items were served from the main course section, namely the Broccoli salad, green and yellow bean salad, chicken-stuffed crepes, chickpea, shortrib fritters and Moroccan spice lentil patties with squash chutney. 

Had they set these up as another food station, the items could have been appreciated in their uniqueness and it would have broken up the congestion at the Main Course table.

Please don’t misread this as disappointment, the food was nothing short of exquisite but the feeling of standing in line with your empty plate in your hand was a bit like the anxiety that you feel at a church basement pot luck.  But perhaps that is what they were going for.

The roast pickerel and bison tortiere were well contrasted and the latter oh, so savoury but the star of the evening was the Applewood smoked pork tenderloin with maple-glazed onions. 

Luc Jean of Red River College put together an amazing team and it was lovely to say hey to Scott Bagshaw, Ben Kramer, Alex Svenne and Rob Thomas. 

The team was enhanced by Adam Donnelly, Makoto Ono, Norman Pastorin and Ariel Schor.  Thank you Chefs for your tireless work and devotion to this community.  

Kath’s quote: “Anybody can make you enjoy the first bite of a dish, but only a real chef can make you enjoy the last.”-Francois Minot



Donwood Community Kitchen-Guest Blogger: Anna Marie


Donwood Community Kitchen is a joint partnership with Donwood School and Jubilee Mennonite Church.  The purpose of the kitchen is to build strong community through cooking together.

The kitchen is staffed with the Donwood Community Connector and the Jubilee Community Director, as well as many volunteers that come to help out. Friday afternoons 3 to 8 women gather to cook nutritious meals for their families. Child minding is also provided by volunteers with a nutritious snack. Through cooking together, the women begin to feel at home and comfortable enough to share concerns, challenges and joys. Conflicts between women emerge at times but are respectfully listened to so the women feel heard. Most of the food we receive is donated by F.O.O.D. (Fresh Option Organic Delivery). In order to continue to run the kitchen, Donwood and Jubilee provide in kind donations.

The Winnipeg Foundation and Thomas Sill grants have been awarded to the kitchen. Jubilee feels that this is a way we can put our faith in action. We have an opportunity to show hospitality through the use of space, staff and volunteers. The community kitchen helps to build relationships in an open and loving way, just as Jesus did. Those who come to the kitchen to volunteer are blessed by their experience.

Donwood school works hard at building relationships with the parents of the children who attend their school.

Kath’s quote: “Food is our common ground, a universal experience.”-James Beard  

Pumchini-Guest Blogger Margaret (Nova Scotia)


Today we grilled our very first pumchini on the BBQ. There were a couple of things that made this a very special part of our last meal of the summer. The pumchini is a vegetable that is a crossing of the pumpkin and zucchini. Two of my favorite vegetables. The treasured vegetable was cultivated, harvested, and gifted to us by our dear friends Cliff and Daphne Seruntine. They have an enchanted homestead- the Hollow- 45 min away from us. Cliff and Daphne are true Eco-Organic Farmers. In fact Cliff and Daphne have become such experts at raising organic livestock, and cultivating organic produce, that they are regarded by many in these parts as ‘the go to people’ for inquiries and advice in this field.

As we sat at the table for our last summer meal, we gave thanks for our present of the pumchini. I found a fantastic, very simple recipe for bbq zucchini and gave it a try. The large wedges, accompanied by tomatoes, were grilled to perfection. But this was not the foundation for my gratitude.

As I looked around the table and observed the family enjoying the pumchini, I thought about our dear friends Cliff & Daphne, who had spent the better part of spring and summer cultivating, and encouraging this amazing vegetable. I thought about how incredibly exhausted Cliff looked after spending the day harvesting, and tending to the farm. I thought about the unabashed love and respect that Daphne and Cliff have for the land, and Mother Nature in all her glory. Then I thought how they Blessed us by sharing their Spirit and Friendship with us, by giving us the prized harvest of the day.

Kath’s quote: “The first zucchini I ever saw I killed it with a hoe.”-John Gould 

100 Mile Dinner (160 KMs) -Winnipeg, September 13th, 2011


We have adult children and I am happy to say that when the kids were younger they rarely got into trouble (or mischief that was reported to us, at any rate).  One of the reasons for our good fortune may have been that they were always involved in a sport or artistic endeavour.  Swimming lessons were mandatory and they could pick one other activity each, that we would pay and drive them to.  Now I know that this is because we live a privileged life in a safe community and that is not a luxury for all my fellow Winnipeggers.

The Boys and Girls Club of Winnipeg tries their darndest to equalize the playing field.  Their programs allow boys and girls the opportunity to relate to caring and positive role models who are interested in helping increase their skill levels to make good decisions for themselves.  This is a wonderful organization who deserves our support.

A delicious way to do so is by purchasing a ticket to their upcoming 100 Mile Dinner which takes place on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at the gussied up Crescentwood Community Club at 1170 Corydon Ave.

Volunteer Chefs will be Luc Jean, Scott Bagshaw, Adam Donnelly, Makoto Ono, Norman Pastorin, Ariel Shor, Alexander Svenne, Ben Kramer and Chef Rob.  They will be serving up pickerel, bison, elk, cheese made by Trappist monks and John Russell honey. 

Tickets are $125.  Call 982-4941 or email for tickets and/or more info. 

I’ve got my ticket and I’ll see you there.

Kath’s quote:  “Often, admiring a chef and getting to know him is like loving goose liver and then meeting the goose.”-George Lang 


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