Welcome to Life, Inspired — The Weekend Review. This is the weekly column where I take a step back from the recipes so you can have a wider look at what’s been inspiring me, moving me, or just catching my fancy out there in the life beyond my kitchen.
Valentine’s Day Approaches
Valentine’s Day ….. some abhor this day as a crassly commercial, ‘manufactured’ holiday that imposes all manner of pressure in the name of stereotypical ideas of romance. Others embrace it as an opportunity to focus on celebrating special relationships, whether they be based on romantic love, family love or friendship. So, which is it? I’d say probably a bit of both. This week I’ll be exploring the bitter and the sweet of Valentine’s Day. In anticipation of that, I thought I’d share some pictures of these decorated cookies that I made two years ago for the special people in my life. Homemade cookies, decorated with charming imperfection, wrapped up in bags with pretty ribbons ….. that’s pretty sweet!
I think it’s time to ditch the snow and cold for just a little while, and revisit beautiful, warm Stanley Park in October. Can you smell the scent of pine and the earthiness of the forest? Can you sense the reverence inspired by these old growth trees? I will return …
Around the Web
I found a few interesting things out there on the interwebs this week. In keeping with Valentine’s Day let’s start with a post from The Real Food Journal that encourages us to express our love without all the sugar. And if you’re going to give people — especially kids — something sweet, why not make it yourself with real food? Or, eschew the food altogether and give other thoughtful gifts. (Even food bloggers know it’s not always about food!)
My blogging friend Tracy of the blog Tracy Lee Karner has been publishing an alphabetical exploration of living well, despite everything. I was totally touched when she asked if she could use my photo of me and my newborn granddaughter holding hands to illustrate her latest post, R is for Relate. Please check out Tracy’s blog, not just for this reason, but for her insightful writing on a variety of subjects.
I was reminded yesterday of how big a deal it was when Canadian Living started publishing in the 1970’s. It was so refreshing to have a Canadian resource that celebrated the bounty of our country and the Canadian cooking culture. No offence to my neighbours to the south, but American magazines just didn’t work for me. In later years as I became serious about cooking, I would pull the recipes out of the magazines and store them in binders for future reference. Now we have the internet, and what back in the early 80s would have been simply unimaginable access to recipes and information. In that spirit, I offer you a Canadian Living slide show on ten things to cook in February. It’s got lots of tasty ideas and a definite Canuck flair, what with those Canoe Paddle Doughnuts.
I came across this article in The Atlantic about the marketing of avocados over the years, to the point where they are now extremely popular. It was interesting to read why the name evolved from ‘alligator pear’ to avocado, and that the Aztec word for the avocado tree means ‘testicle tree.’ ‘Nuf said.
I haven’t cranked out any cakes lately, but if I were to make one and wanted to decorate it all fancy-like, I’d turn to my good blogging friend Movita Beaucoup for guidance. Her blog is a one-stop entertainment shop — laughs guaranteed — and even educational. Plus, there’s nice pictures of cats there. And even video tutorials, like this one for a buttercream ruffle rose decoration for a cake. Movita makes me believe I could actually do that!
One last thing. Why is it that the term ‘like a girl’ is so pejorative? I found this video this morning, and it struck a chord. I can’t tell you how powerful it was to see young girls who haven’t yet been socialized to think that ‘like a girl’ is a bad thing. While the focus is on girls and making #likeagirl something to celebrate, I think the message extends to treating everyone — girls, boys, women, men — with respect.
Did you feel the earth move last week? Finally, finally, in I don’t know how long, I published three posts instead of the usual two, or the limping-along one that’s been all I could manage in some weeks recently. Wow, I feel like a publishing powerhouse! (But don’t expect three this week, okay?)
The week started off with a Golden Cauliflower Soup, along with some ideas for garnishes and a no-cost-to-you tutorial on creating your own soups from scratch. I’d be happy if you did that, but I’m also happy when you stop over here and check out my recipes. Next up was a very important post about the serious issue of child hunger and how you, my readers, can help combat it with a donation to the Toonies for Tummies campaign from February 5 to 19. Please check it out and consider helping. And finally, my blog post trifecta was complete with a recipe for the bone broth I’ve been sipping for the last couple of months. So nourishing, so delicious, so trendy.