Advent Potluck & Church Dinners


Church meals are of great interest to me. I think they are one of the most important activities a church community can engage in. I’m fortunate that I’m part of two groups that regularly feature a meal as part of their gathering time. As well, St. Philip’s. where I’m incumbent has weekly coffee time along with BBQs and occasional other dinners.

One of those dinners is our annual Advent Potluck which we hold each year on the Third Sunday of Advent. This year the potluck occurred the Sunday after I was scheduled to make supper for the Saint Magaret’s Saturday evening service. Then, the four o’clock “Kid’s Church” that meets at St. Philip’s was having a service followed by the usual soup and bread supper.

Advent weekend breakfast

French Toast with grilled pears, blackberries, caramel sauce, and creme fraiche, from Little Goat Food & Drink

Needless to say, such a weekend requires a great deal of fortitude, both to cook and to eat. So, I figured that I needed to start my Saturday off with a bit of stretching. Stomach stretching that is. I figured a good, solid breakfast would ensure that I would be prepared to consume large amounts of food throughout the weekend.

Fortunately, Little Goat Food & Drink has recently opened. Continue reading

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Cookie Making Adventures(misadventures)


Aside from a garden out back, one of the things I looked forward to when I moved into the house I am now living in, was the prospect of a full-sized stove and oven in which to do more cooking and baking. Moving in during the heat of summer meant that I didn’t get into the habit right away, so it’s only recently that I’ve started to make more of a conscious effort in this area.

One other thing that comes with moving is that you find you lose things. One of the things I’ve lost is a cookbook put out by a Presbyterian church in Ontario about 50 years ago. That cook book contained the recipe for Ginger snaps that I have always used. This was a no fail recipe. Not having that recipe I decided to search the web for a recipe and ended up with the recipe listed below.

Ginger cookies dry ingredients

All the dry ingredients, mixed together with a fork.

The recipe is called Grandma’s Gingersnaps and can be found at AllRecipes, submitted to the site by RAMB.

Ingredients

30 m36 servings100 cals

Continue reading

Lerman – My Fat Dad


I originally started this review over a year and a half ago. I found myself not able to complete it and therefore coming back to it time and again until I was happy with what I wrote.

Shakespeare wrote “If music be the food of love.” Yet for many people food is the food of love. We express our love for friends and family by eating together, and either cooking with or for each other. Dawn Lerman’s My Fat Dad: A memoir of Food, Love, and Family, with Recipes, takes us on a journey with the author

At the heart of My Fat Dad are two relationships. The first is between Lerman and her dad Al, an exceptionally gifted ad man (insert appropriate Mad Men reference here). The second is between Lerman and her grandmother Beauty.

Al Lerman was one of those larger than life people that your read about from time to time. This largeness was most evident in the way he ate. As brilliant an adman as he was, Lerman’s dad fought a constant battle with his weight.  In part this was caused by his desire to try all the items he was creating ads for. This was a solitary activity that his daughter was left out of.

On the other hand, his weight was a constant issue that needed to be dealt with as he climbed the corporate ladder in the advertising. As a result, he was constantly dieting, an activity which his daughter was forced to participate in.

These diets do provide a measure of the humour to the story. If there is a diet that developed int he United States over the last 50 years or so, chances are Al Lerman has tried it. My favourite being the Duke University Rice Diet, featured in chapter 8. Perhaps that’s how Coack K keeps so skinny after all these years.

One result of this was for food to create a certain distance between father and daughter. Lerman’s mom was no help in this area as her mother was about as disinterested in food as a person could be. In later years, here mother would also be heavily involved in promoting the acting career of Ms. Lerman’s younger sister.

While food created a wedge between father and daughter, it deepened the bond between grandmother and granddaughter, and it was in her grandmother’s kitchen where Lerman learned her greatest lessons about food, cooking and more importantly, love.

Lerman’s story with her father is bittersweet. He and her mother divorce and that removes her somewhat from the sphere of her father’s life. She does eventually get the opportunity to share her love of food, with her dad. Sadly, this sharing comes about only after here dad is diagnosed with the cancer. However the diagnosis means that they now have common ground in the world of food. This gives them good ground to rebuild and strengthen their relationship moving forward.

My Fat Dad Cover

My Fat Dad is an entertaining read, that will also get you thinking about your family relationships.

Each of the chapters has several recipes attached to it. So, if you like a book that is both memoir and cookbook in one, you will really appreciate My Fat Dad One added feature of the book is that Lerman presents the recipes as she learned them. Despite being a nutritionist she doesn’t present her eating history as different from what it actually was. However, she does allow her nutritionist a voice by providing at the back of the book a swap chart that allows readers to attempt healthier versions of the recipes is they so desire.

Baking with Lerman

When I get a book that includes recipes with it’s stories, I like to try at least one of the recipes as I write the review. This week getting ready for the production of Vicar of Dibley that I’m appearing in, I decided to go with the simplest recipe in the book. This is a three ingredient Peanut Butter Cookie:

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup brown sugar or sugar of choice

1 cup crunchy peanut butter

1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a Baking sheet with parchment paper. Stir all the ingredients together until smooth. Roll into 1-inch balls with your hands. Press down with the back of a fork and then press again from the opposite direction, to form the criss-cross pattern on top. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove cookies from the oven and let cool before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling. (page 234)

My Fat Dad cookies

The peanut butter cookies fresh out of the oven.

I made a triple recipe. That means that there was enough for rehearsal, and there were also a couple of dozen or so leftover, which I have frozen. They will be served at the St. Philip’s Sunday coffee time this week.

My Fat Dad and Dibley

The cookies piled on a tray ready to be served to my Vicar of Dibley class mates.

My Fat Dad, is the kind of book that will have you reflecting on your own family relationships. This may not be the easiest thing to do, but it will allow the reader to reflect on things and hopefully, give the opportunity to work to rebuild relationships. In those cases where the person we wish to rebuild the relationships with is no longer there, it may help us to resolve to put more time and energy into the relationships we do have, particularly when it come to finding time to share food together.

Carrot Cake with German Chocolate Icing


Last night the Saint Margaret’s Saturday Evening service said goodbye to the Petkau’s, who have been part of the Saturday service off and on for several years. Josh Petkau is headed out to the Diocese of Quebec where he will continue to pursue ordination to the priesthood. Josh has been part of the planning group over the last year or so, and Bethany his wife, has often provided musical assistance. There children Solomon and Rose have also made their presence known Saturday evenings, with Solomon recently contributing musically as well.

Carrot Cake

The finished product. A little out of focus, but a delicious Carrot Cake, nonetheless.

All four of them are people I’m going to really miss. They live not far from me, and we’ve walked home together on many occasions. Last night we held a barbecue to say farewell. A couple of weeks previously Bethany had mentioned that she really liked Carrot Cake, but not with Cream Cheese icing, but rather with the German Chocolate Icing. you would normally use for a German Chocolate Cake. So, I rashly said I would make one for the barbecue. It turned out it was fairly easy to do.

Carrot Cake

Being a modern kind of baker I went to the internet to find a suitable Carrot Cake recipe. I found what looked to be a good one at Happy Hooligans. Continue reading

Pancake Day, Berry Sauce.


Today is Shrove Tuesday, otherwise known as Mardi Gras, or Pancake Day. Shrove Tuesday was originally the day when everyone was expected to go to the priest for confession. By doing this they were said to be shriven. At the same time, Shrove Tuesday was the day for using up all the fat in the house before the austere diet of Lent. Somewhere along the line in England in particular the practice of eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday arose.

Berry Sauce bubbling away.

Berry Sauce bubbling away.

Today the St. Mary’s Road Anglican Parishes are holding their own supper for Pancake Day. If you don’t have any plans to celebrate Pancake Day, we would be more than happy for you to join us at the Norwood St. Boniface Legion, 134 Street, beginning at 5 pm Continue reading