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  1. First Steps in Cooking

    I'm pretty sure the first thing I made for myself as a young 'un was porridge for breakfast, almost certainly from rolled oats (though porridge was a staple and we also had Cream of Wheat and the multigrain Red River and Vita-B brands as part of our regular rotation, so it might have been one of those). Frying my own small trout, fresh-caught from the local streams, was almost certainly the second thing. My mom was never fond of cooking, but executed simple, traditional meals well enough. My father was more adventurous - he'd read about something like polenta, and decide to play around with it - but he was at sea a lot when I was young. There were plenty of good cooks and bakers on both sides of my family, but they fell decidedly into the "homestyle traditional" category. My first real look at a more sophisticated approach to food came in 8th grade, when I met my lifelong best friend. His parents were both German, though his father was raised and educated in England during and after the war (they were part-Jewish). His mother was and is an exceptional cook and baker, though much slowed by arthritis, fused spine, hip transplants, scoliosis, etc. Coming from a household where "salad" was shredded iceberg with tomato wedges and bottled dressing, eating something totally left-field like her herring salad was a memorable experience. I also had my first experience of slow-cooked sauerkraut (with multiple pork products) at her house, which remains one of my favorite cold-weather meals and a staple in my house. My mom always baked bread when I was growing up, so I felt a real imperative to start baking my own when I left home at 15. I'd watched her often enough, so I just bought the ingredients and gave it a go. I knew she put shortening in the warm water before adding the flour, but I couldn't remember how much...so I threw in a cup of it. Let me tell you, that bread was well and truly shortened! It was dense but certainly edible, so after clearing up the amount of fat required on my next phone call home (a tablespoon or so...) my next batch turned out better. Over the intervening years I made pretty much every mistake it's possible to make while bread-baking, but never stopped. It feels strange to think it's been just about 40 years now.
  2. Cooking with Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden

    I actually picked up a second dorm-sized fridge to keep condiments in. Now both of them look like that.
  3. At our Thanksgiving, last October, I had a similar thing happen except it was a lavish meal for 12 as opposed to steaks for two (not to minimize your plight, please understand...your two gorgeous steaks and green peppercorns probably cost just as much). Since it was the big holiday meal I'd originally planned for arrivals at 2 and serving at 3, but thanks to a revolving comedy of errors and misunderstandings it was nearly 7 when we sat down to the meal. I was not a happy camper.
  4. It's on right now for $99 CDN right now at Canadian Tire, as well (no, I still haven't pulled the trigger on that one). I'm sure most of us here are well set as far as cookware goes, but if you're in Canada and have friends and family members who aren't, there's a great deal to be had on a Paderno set. Canadian Tire bought Paderno a year or so ago and set about cutting down on the number of cookware sets in the lineup. The top of the line was their "Artisan Accent" set, which was fully clad around a copper liner (a la All-Clad) as opposed to just having a pad at the bottom, and had a rather handsome hand-hammered finish. Back in the day, the 11-pc set listed at $1199 ($999 at retailers) and I never saw it below $599. It's now discontinued, and London Drug has it on for $229 with (at present) free shipping across Canada. My own small pots were a random assortment of thrift store acquisitions, so I bought a set for myself. My son bought one as well (he'd always had roommates, and always used their pots), and I bought one for my daughter's birthday. They have a 25-year warranty, but should realistically last a lifetime or two with minimal care. Clicky.
  5. Gardening: (2016 – 2017)

    Enzymes and fermentation change the nutritional makeup of food, often for the better, and cooking/processing also make many nutrients more bioavailable. I'm too tired right now to look up whether anyone's done side-by-side comparisons, but there are at least logical reasons to suspect that manure has advantages in at least some nutrients. Your argument - which others have made as well - is also valid: A cow's digestive system exists for the purpose of pulling nutrients out of its food. That being said, a whole lot of grass goes into each point of manure, so it's probably more concentrated. I don't know how one might go about creating an apples-to-apples experiment, but I'm sure someone has tried. I just add 'em both, like kayb, which I suspect is probably the best option in any case.
  6. Camping, Princess Style

    The story behind the brand is rather a fascinating narrative, as well. I tripped across this article a few weeks ago, before I'd ever heard of the bread (I bake my own, so I seldom walk through that aisle of the supermarket).
  7. Camping, Princess Style

    I've seen it at Superstore, here in Atlantic Canada, so you might be surprised.
  8. Unusual & unknown kitchen gadgets

    For shaving a block of chocolate? (based on that last remark...)
  9. Gardening: (2016 – 2017)

    I'd post a picture of my last remaining snowbanks collapsing into sodden, gray, granular heaps, but as harbingers of spring go that's not nearly as attractive as your crocuses.
  10. Where to eat in Newfoundland

    You'll pass by me on your way home (I'm on the way to/from the US border, as you pass through New Brunswick) so I can probably help you with a few things to do/see/eat on your way through the area.
  11. It's a great read. I've been meaning to pick up her other books, but haven't yet. I've recently cleaned about 200lbs of cookbooks I'll never open again from my shelves, so this might be a good time.
  12. I have a little Logitech wireless keyboard/touchpad on the laptop the grandkids use, for that exact reason. I'd rather they mucked up a $30-$40 keyboard than the HP ProBook itself.
  13. I was waiting for that. For once, I didn't want to be the one to do it.
  14. Aldi

    My GF is keto-ing, so cream is a similar story here. Except a litre (quart) costs $5.79 at Superstore or $6.49 at Sobey's (Superstore is across town and Sobey's is two blocks downhill, so I'll often opt to pay the extra $0.70).
  15. Gardening: (2016 – 2017)

    That's really not basil. It's a bit of a prima donna, and needs loads of water and sunshine. I get 7 hours of sunshine here in mid-summer, but there's no one spot outdoors that it can see all of that sun. Instead, I have it in a corner of my kitchen where it gets pretty much everything from sunrise to sunset (and I can see if it's starting to get dry).