Browsing: Food Celebrations

A Memorable Chocolate Cake


“Auntie’s chocolate cake (was) a moist, sour-milk, two-layer concoction spread thickly with Jennie’s soft, white frosting and covered in grated coconut.  As a child I loved to watch the vinegar -Heinz’s white, not my grandfather’s red-start to sour the warm milk.  If I stared long enough I could see the milk begin to thicken and coagulate from the chemical reaction of the vinegar.  When the cake was pulled from the oven, leaving moist, dark crumbs on the toothpick tester, I loved the sight of it sitting on a cake plate in the center of any of the tables from my childhood, whether it was my birthday’s or someone else’s.”

“A single bite of that cake still conjures up the days when all the characters of my childhood used to sit around Jennie’s kitchen table on Whitney Avenue celebrating the joy of birth, when I was little, when my parents were young, when my grandparents were still only in their sixties.  It keeps those Sunday dinners alive in my memory,”from Paula Buttuini’s “Keeping the Feast”

Well here it is the weekend of Daughter #1’s birthday and what has she requested for her birthday dessert?  A recipe for the chocolate zucchini cake from her childhood-one that I haven’t made in years.  But not surprisingly, I find it in one of my many “Best of Bridge” recipe books and as I scan the ingredients to ensure that I will have everything I see that it calls for sour milk…

Daughters #1 and 2

I’ve run out of time and space this morning but I will post the beloved recipe soon and also dig up one for the requested chocolate cream cheese icing.  Have a wonderful Canada Day weekend.  Find a food treat to celebrate this great country that we live in and the memories of the day will live on.

Kath’s quote:  “We have never been a melting pot. The fact is we are more like a tossed salad. We are green, some of us are oily, and there’s a little vinegar injected when you get up to Ottawa.”-Arnold Edinborough

Four Birthdays and a Cocktail Party


I have posted before about the cocktail party that the three sisters give to our Mom as her birthday gift.  Her birthday is in January but we always wait for the fair weather so that her friends will have an easier time of driving and managing the stairs.  We quite randomly decided upon this year’s date in June to find that it was the actual day of my oldest brother’s 65th birthday, the day before my second oldest 64th birthday and two days before my Mom’s best friend’s 81st birthday.  So it turned out to a multi-birthday celebration.  Celebrating long life, good health, family and friends with food-what a splendid idea!

Chili Rubbed Shrimp

Chicken Satay

Goat Cheese en Croute with a Balsamic Redux

Anti-pasto Kebabs

Jerk Pork tenderloin

Artichoke Nibblers

Mushrooms Neptune

Korean Pork Cups

Asparagus in Phyllo

Last year the food was wonderful but Mom complained that “her girls” were too busy in the kitchen and did not have the time to visit with her guests (she means brag about us while we are in the room).  So we simplified the menu to these selections.  All were prepped ahaead of time and many served cold.  Clean up was a breeze!  Most recipes are already posted here but if there is one that you would like-leave a comment.

Give a party as a gift-it is the gift that keeps on giving…..

Kath’s quote:  “The Cocktail Party – a device for paying off obligations to people you don’t want to invite to dinner.”-Charles Merrill Smith

Untrue in this case.

Table-Side Ceasar Salad


There was a time in Winnipeg, when dining meant having someone wheel a cart to your table and rub a bowl with garlic to start the preparations for your Caesar salad.  The classic French restaurants of St. Boniface would carve the beef tenderloin and ladle the hollandaise over the variety of vegetables from their Chateau Briand cart.  Crepes Suzette were often ordered for the show of the flaming liqueurs.

When “Six in the City” ventured to New York last summer we loved the fact that table service in the Big Apple is not a thing of the past.  We had our guacamole en molcajete prepped at table side at Rosa’s Mexicana and the expertise and the resulting freshness was truly memorable.

Our son’s father-in-law was one of Winnipeg’s table-side Caesar salad aficionados and we often reap the benefits of his time in the practice.  At Easter dinner recently, when the automatic start for the ham didn’t activate while we were all at church, they decided to add a salad course. 

Don says that his recipe is very “loose” but he has agreed to share it here:

Crush some cloves of garlic with salt (I have a suribachi for this).  Add one or more egg yolks (depending on quantity).  Add fresh lemon juice and a dash of vinegar.  Blend in olive oil (2-3 times the volume of lemon/vinegar).  Season with pepper, Dijon mustard.


Kath’s quote: “Being set at the table, scratch not thyself, and take thou heed as much as thou canst not to spit, cough and blow at thy nose; but if it be needful, do it dexterously, without much noise, turning thy face sidelong.”-Francis Hawkins

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.

Flatlanders Inn


Our family were recently the happy recipients of a dinner for six that was awarded as a silent auction prize at a fund-raising event called The Bean Gallery.  The dinner was served at the beautifully appointed Flatlanders Inn.  If you are thinking that this is a quaint little Winnipeg hotel that you’ve missed hearing about, you would be incorrect.  The Flatlanders Inn is located on Main St. near  Higgins Ave. right in the heart of Winnipeg’s troubled core area.  A better explanation of what the Inn is all about is quoted in the handbook on their website:

“Flatlanders Inn is a diverse community of people that is especially welcoming to people who are at risk of homelessness.  We invite neighbourhood folk, wanderers, seekers, foreigners and those needing a positive and supportive living environment to join Flatlanders Inn so that they can get their feet back under them.  All together, we’re creating an atmosphere that is a positive living space for shelter, healing and growth.  It is a safe place to work through life’s difficulties together (lots of tears) and celebrate life’s successes (lots of laughter) and everything in between.

The boyfriend of Daughter #2 (aka as the Frenchman) is a resident of this intentional community as an intern who lives and works side by side with the Flatlander guests.  He was one of our two waiters the night of our dinner.  This was our menu:

Appetizer: Dill hummus served with fresh naan bread & vegetables

Main Course: Oven roasted turkey with homemade stuffing, accompanied by creamy mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole & corn.

Dessert: Pumpkin cheesecake, served with a choice of London Fogs, Vanilla Lattes, Caffe Americano or Espresso.

The menu was a lovely reminder of the harvest on the first day of spring.  The special tastes for me was the London Fog, the Pumpkin cheesecake and the Sweet Potato casserole.  I requested the recipe for the latter but have yet to receive it.  I’ll post it when I do.

When the hosts came around to see how we enjoyed our evening, D commented that his only complaint was that one of the waiters kept flirting with his daughter!

Kath’s quote:  “Hospitality consists in a little fire, a little food, and an immense quiet.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Practice radical hospitality.

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