Beautiful Things : Notes From the NVICA Charcuterie Workshop

My father told me once that there are three things in life that we must do: Work hard, be honest and make beautiful things” With these words John Van Der Lieck plunged his hands into a dark, shimmering paste of pork liver to the reverent, nodding ascent of a roomful of chefs.

We were in the spacious commercial kitchen of North Island College’s Culinary Arts department for the NVICA Charcuterie Workshop; a two-day journey through the world of salting, curing, pressing and preserving meats. There were twenty or so of us foodservice pros gathered around John as he guided us from whole hog (literally!) to finished product and every critical step in between. (more…)

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The Psychic Anchor Cocktail

The first time I remember anyone mentioning Dr. Hunter S. Thompson to me was in college. It was an art school so of course every conceivable image of the counterculture from the 60s to the ‘aughts where plastered on every kid’s dorm room walls and sleeves. A curly-haired rave kid who reminded me too much of myself cornered me during a smoke break and demanded to know how much I knew of his idol, the good doctor.

Being a twenty year old freshmen desperate to prove myself as an intellectual worthy of respect and kinship I blindly answered, “Oh, Raoul King right? He’s the guy from the Jonnhy Depp movie. I loved it!” After I got the stoner-cred shit kicked out of me I went back to my dorm room and got reading up on Thompson and his alter-ego “Raoul Duke”. As it turned out the 1998 movie (which I did love) was only the Hollywood tip of the 60s and 70s literary iceberg. (more…)

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Breakfast of Champions

“Breakfast was, on the whole, a leisurely and silent meal, for no member of the family was very talkative at that hour. By the end of the meal the influence of the coffee, toast, and eggs made itself felt, and we started to revive, to tell each other what we intended to do, why we intended to do it, and then argue earnestly as to whether each had made a wise decision.”

― Gerald Durrell, My Family and Other Animals

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Chestnut Soup with Crispy Pancetta

Many years ago on a whim I purchased a rather strange cookbook by Lois Anne Rothert dedicated entirely to the various soups of rural France. Normally I don’t pitch in for something so bizarrely specialized but something about this tome’s yeomen charm captured my imagination and it’s survived many cookbook purges over the years when shelf space became scarce.

Now, three months deep into my still-UN-identified illness this book has more than earned it’s keep with such soul-satisfying and sanity-soothing soups as Country Sorrel and Potato, Oyster and Cognac stew, Lentil Potage and this deeply savoury winter soup of pureed chestnuts, aromatics and crispy pancetta. (more…)

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Blog Is Dead

It’s 3:00am. I’m still sick and can’t sleep. I know this routine pretty well by now and I’ve given up any hope of rest in favour of getting house chores done. I’ve already washed all the dishes, sharpened all my knives, watered the house plants and now I’m going back through my lists of old Foodblogs and clearing out the deadwood. *sigh* (more…)

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