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

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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.

Cousin’s Deli, Lounge – South Sherbrook


I never know where my mind will go when it starts to wander. Yesterday I was thinking about Cousin’s Deli, and writing this post, and I started to think about my dad. You see, yesterday marks eight years since my dad died. The reason Cousin’s got me thinking about dad, is that for the first seven years we lived in Winnipeg, we would drive pass Cousin’s on our way down to church at the Salvation Army Winnipeg Citadel.

pasta salad

The pasta salad is quite flavourful, but lacking in vegetables

We never stopped, it was just a marker on the route downtown. Much like the site of Harman’s meant that we were getting close. However, those rides, especially when it was just my dad and me, were times of good conversation, times when I had my dad all to myself. In a family of six boys that wasn’t all that frequent, even as I moved into my teen, university years.

I did have coffee and meal times out with my dad. As things have gone, only one of the three places we would regularly go still are open. Continue reading

Landrigan: The Vegetarian’s Guide to Eating Meat


In a previous post, I mentioned that I had picked up the book while browsing through the “New and Noted” section at the Winnipeg Public Library. While I was browsing, I also picked up Marissa Landrigan’s book, The Vegetarian’s Guide to Eating Meat. Landrigan is an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown, where she teaches creative, digital, and professional writing.

Marissa Landrigan Book cover

Cover shot of The Vegetarians Guide to Eating Meat, by Marissa Landrigan

The Vegetarian’s Guide to Eating Meat, subtitled, A Young Woman’s Search for Ethical Food, chronicles the author’s journey from a red headed Irish misfit in a large, extended, Irish-Italian family of meat eaters, to a vegetarian activist, to meat eater again. This isn’t the first book I’ve read related to our meat eating choices. The first being Tovar Cerulli’s The Mindful Carnivore: A Vegetarian’s Hunt for Sustenance and the second being Scott Gold’s The Shameless Carnivore: A Manifesto for Meat Lovers

Landrigan’s book is much closer in tone to Cerulli’s than it is to Gold’s. Gold tries to hard to be a comedian, and while claiming to have respect for vegetarians too often veers into sarcasm and mockery. Cerulli, on the other hand, focuses on the interconnected nature of all living plants and animals. The biggest difference between The Mindful Carnviore, and the Vegetarian’s Guide to Eating Meat, is: Cerulli has a greater emphasis on the relationships between human and biosphere, while Landrigan focuses more on the role of personal relationships among family and friends, and how they impacted her eating decisions. Continue reading

Red Ember Common – Forks Market


The Forks has long been one of my favourite places to stop into on my way to work. A Cinnamon bun from Tall Grass Prairie, always makes for a sweet start to the day, and if you hit The Forks at the right time of day, it can be a really quick spot for picking up a meal.

The Forks has been upgrading over the last couple of years, and the second phase of The Forks Market upgrade is in full swing. I am of mixed mind up this second phase. I plan on writing about this in another post. For now I’m going to write about Red Ember Common. I’ve been a fan of Red Ember almost since the truck first hit the streets.

Red Ember Seating

There is bar seating write by the restaurant, and the view is quite good from the Commons seating area.

The production area for Red Ember is quite impressive. The space has been renovated so that you can look in from three different sides and see the staff as they make their creations. This is an upgrade from the truck in that there is more room to be able to watch your pizza being made.

Red Ember Pizza and More

One of the first things I noticed about the menu is that there seem to be a few more non pizza options to go along with a somewhat larger selection of pizzas. I needed to make a trip back to The Forks to check on the names of which pizzas I had ordered, because the Red Ember Commons website isn’t operating. Continue reading