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Atelier

Tournant

One of the funny things about being a stagiaire is that you don’t usually work a specific station. One minute you’re trimming elk tenderloins, the next you’re making an Italian meringue for buttercream. This certainly has its drawbacks: without being assigned to a particular set of dishes, it can feel like you have no “ownership” […]

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Kitchen lingo

As a translator, I continue to be fascinated by the specific language that develops in kitchens. Lately, I’ve been noticing a tendency to take nouns and turn them into verbs. I once had a lengthy discussion with a friend who’s a server about when a table of diners should be “breaded.” (After which, presumably, they’re […]

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On the road

I’m currently on the road, in Ottawa (where I enjoyed the “grilled cheese sloppy joe” pictured above at Art Is In bakery). I’ll be here for the entire month of March, staging at a number of restaurants. Rather than putting my blog on hold for that time, though, my goal is to try and post […]

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Dutch oven bread

Bread-baking and the value of repetition

I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to the value of repetition in the kitchen, of doing the same task over and over and over again. Repeating it until you’re completely sick of doing it, then repeating it some more until you can do it in your sleep. And, ideally, becoming a little bit […]

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Chili sauce kettle

Chili sauce

Yesterday was chili sauce-making day for me. I like to have it on hand as much as possible, which means making a batch every year or two. (One “batch” gives me a little over 8 one-pint jars, which will keep for up to two years, if properly canned, though the colour starts to deteriorate after […]

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Pea pods

Pod people: Pea pod juice

A recent encounter with a chilled sweet pea soup got me thinking. At its most fundamental, sweet pea soup – we’re talking about the kind made from fresh shelling peas here, not dried split peas – is nothing but pea puree that’s been thinned to soup consistency. So it follows that the liquid used to […]

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Canada Day Sausage

Canadian sausage for Canada Day

Canada Day is the perfect excuse for a barbecue, and every year (barring unforeseen circumstances), we invite lots of friends over, grill up some tasty food, and serve some great Canadian beer and wine – the latter being especially pointed this year with the passage of Bill C-311. My grilling meat of choice for this […]

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BBQ Chicken

Not-so-modernist Modernist Cuisine: Kentucky barbecue sauce

When I offered my husband his choice of the various barbecue sauces in Modernist Cuisine and started listing them, he stopped me as soon I said “Kentucky.” “That one. You should make that one.” I looked at him. “Why?” “Does it have bourbon in it?” “Yeah.” “That’s why.” There are at least a handful of […]

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Lamb's tongues and turnips

Fifth quarter cooking: Lamb’s tongues

I think I may be lucky that I didn’t eat any offal when I was growing up. As a child of North American culture, I fear I would have faced liver as an obligation to be dreaded. Instead, I can now approach the fifth quarter with a wide-open mind. And the contemporary culinary culture in which […]

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Grapefruits

Menu creation, repetition and repetitiveness

One of the challenges I always face when coming up with a menu for dinner parties like the one I had recently is avoiding too much repetition. This is especially true because I’m working with other people’s recipes, and I try to adhere to them as closely as I can, substituting ingredients only when I […]

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