We did a road trip to the Okanagan once one summer a long time ago when my friend E. was pregnant with her first child.
We stopped in towns with names like Summerland and Peachland buying fruits from the string of produce stands dotting the roadside. I don’t remember everything that happened on the trip, which is not surprising since E’s son turns ten in a few months, but I know that was the summer I decided that cherries, not strawberries were going to be my favourite summer fruit.
We parked by a fruit stand on a dusty roadside near an old mining town, it was probably our third stop, but this stand had a water hose by its side, so we got to wash all our fruit, got a few more pounds sugary-sweet deep-crimsoned cherries and devoured them in a matter of hours – which is perfectly ok when you’re travelling with a pregnant woman!
This year I spent my birthday in Montreal. I was at a concert bathed in blue, drinking Labatt Bleue and chanting “Keebek!, keebek!” when the clock struck midnight.
Minutes before, I tried to learn a song called “Mon pays, ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver” (“My country is not a country – it’s winter”), but only after I’d promised my insistent teacher never to sing it outside of Quebec.
Quebec and I share a special day, and I’m glad to have been in Montreal for our day.
Back when we were living off the land with nothing but the tall trees and howling wind for company, my parents used to joke that they were raising kids who could one day live anywhere and survive. Thankfully, we’ve lived relatively unadventurous lives since then, content with the comforts of modern amenities. I don’t even think I like camping, but I could, in theory, set a broken bone in the wilderness if need be.
My siblings and I got together last night and with our pile of memories, ended up reminiscing; my sister has this story she tells about those times when we literally had nothing to eat.
My dad would wander into the forest and return hours later with wild plants and seeds and whatnot, and whatever he got would be dinner that day. We were foraging long before it became trendy. The plants he was unsure of, he fed to the dogs first.
We’d mix herby leaves with the peppers, onions and tomatoes we grew, crush it into a paste and call it pesto, when we clearly had no idea what pesto was, but it sounded better than mystery sauce.
The giveaway is closed – a winner has been chosen
I’m really excited about this Essiespice Essential Spice Collection giveaway and I’m hoping that you’ll be too!
I’m a spice girl (no, I wasn’t part of the nineties girl group, although I’m all about girl power too), for as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated with spice and herbs; the smell, texture, colour and how they imbue flavour, warmth, aroma and life into our food.
We’re generally not heavy spice users where I’m from, we season our meals sparingly and knowingly with local spices, herbs, cured fish, smoke, fermented seeds, etc.
We learn about spicing and flavouring by watching the women in our households cook, and from our neighbours.
I have memories of my grandmother grinding grains of Selim and ginger for her soups just like her grandmother had done. My mom would fry a pungent leaf in her oil to flavour her stews, a tip she’d picked up from a neighbour.
Discovering Essiespice was a little like discovering that neighbour who not only shares her trusted flavourful blends, but teaches you how to use them effectively too.
The founder Essie, is a spice girl too; a ‘mixtress’, who has parlayed her love for mixing and blending, which naturally began after watching her mother cook, into a unique spice and sauce brand.
Back in Paris last fall, there were posters all over the city for Mommy, a small Canadian movie that had won the Jury Prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival and was opening in cinemas. It’s a superb and critically acclaimed drama written and directed the brilliant Xavier Nolan who is only 26.
At some bar back in Paris someone asked if I’d seen the movie, I hadn’t. In fact, I didn’t even know the movie existed until I saw the ads in Paris; and I’m somewhat of a Xavier Nolan fan.
‘But you’re from Canada non?” my bar companion asked.
“Yes” I say sheepishly, “but this is a French Canadian film and I’m not up on French Canadian cinema”
The truth was, I wasn’t up on French Canadian anything. I’d lived in Canada for over a decade and didn’t know much about French Canada.